2010 Olympics – Day 9

When it comes to buying media space during the Olympic Games, advertisers probably don’t need to worry about frequency. 17 days worth of winter sporting glory, with the various sports holding high-level competitions even before they get to medalling rounds, means target audiences could be “visited” with advertiser messages on more than one occasion.

The social media tie-ins that are so prominent during this year’s Olympics will also help provide advertisers an opportunity (or more) to reach out and “visit” their intended audiences.

You know how I feel about IOC blogging policies potentially hampering the quality and quantity of social media content streaming out of Vancouver [and beyond]. (See yesterday’s post for more.)

But NBC’s own Olympic policies could also be risking reduced distribution of social media love. Last week’s article from the LA Times spoke to one of NBC’s goals at the games: To create a prime-time audience. Not a surprise in the least. They want eyeballs on TV screens at night, not PC screens during the day. The former generates higher ad value since the audience size is presumably much larger (disclosure: I am not a media planner). As a result, despite all the footage NBC crews are generating in Vancouver, what ends up being aired (online and on TV) is much less than the content that’s actually been collected. A shame, considering the value of good content today.

Here’s the major rub: Many of the advertisers NBC has signed on for the Games are no doubt also sponsors of the Games and/or athletes and teams associated with them. At least some of these advertisers have extended their investment in the Olympics this time around to include the digital–and social–space. (Update from February 24: According to this article, an investment in the digital side of Olympics marketing, to the tune of 40% of overall budget, is not uncommon for sponsors.)

For those advertisers, the more content from the Games that people watch and interact with online, the better. I believe this is true because it’s just that much easier to engage in digital campaigns, promotions, etc. directly from content that is originally experienced online as opposed to traditional media channels. Digital “entrance” simply lowers the audience barriers to continued participation. Were NBC to stick its neck out and stream live video above and beyond curling and hockey, I bet a case could easily be made for the positive results that would start pouring in from the ‘Net.

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