“Do You Believe in Miracles (That Happened Three Hours Ago)?” The Olympics have come a long way in 36 years …

In days of yore, the Olympics were broadcast by one network, whose producers chose which events to show and when to show them (fun fact: the “Miracle on Ice” was actually shown on three-hour tape delay because the Soviets refused ABC’s request to move the game back into prime time–a fact that ABC didn’t readily disclose, leading most viewers to believe they were watching the game live.)

Fast-forward some 36 years: and the choices are overwhelming–from one network showing one event, NBC is making EVERY event available, across its network and cable properties, as well as its streaming apps. From the Los Angeles Times:

Through Sunday, online users have streamed 1.86 billion minutes of NBC’s Rio 2016 coverage, topping the combined number for London and Sochi, Russia. The network is making videos of every Olympic event available on its app and it is streaming its prime-time coverage of the Games for the first time.

NBC is also airing Olympics coverage on NBCUniversal’s cable networks NBCSN and Bravo during prime time, giving viewers an alternative to the events airing on the broadcast network. But the growth online reflects the dramatic change in viewing habits over the last four years, making even a typically surefire TV event as the Olympics vulnerable to how viewers are consuming content.

While this is all well and good, I have found NBC’s Rio Olympics app’s usability to be dreadful. Trying to determine the upcoming USA Men’s basketball schedule was a virtual impossibility (I’m not even trying to stream the game, I’m just trying to find out when it’s on and on which network; finally I gave up and used my TiVo app to find out the game had already occurred, and Serbia missed a 3 to force OT).

I’m not alone, as the iPad app is pulling a robust 1.5 star rating, including this gem of a title:

Terribly Organized app. Should have 0 stars.
Advertisers are utilizing an omnichannel approach during the Olympics (image courtesy of AdWeek)

So while overall television ratings are down some 17 percent from London, streaming is on the rise. Advertisers are taking advantage of the omnichannel opportunities to reach viewers on broadcast, online video and mobile. From AdWeek:

Here are a handful of key takeaways from the research, which looked at TV, display, native, digital and mobile ads (but not radio or billboards) from the past week.

  • DirecTV, Progressive Insurance, Chrysler and Geico had the greatest number of TV spots during the opening weekend of the Olympics.
  • Ten brands were active in all media formats (TV, display, native, digital and mobile). Notables include Geico, Verizon Fios, Walmart, Lincoln, Nationwide and Dunkin’ Donuts.
  • The most active category among advertisers was auto.
  • Forty-four brands have placed native ads so far.
  • Visit Orlando, which ran just one TV spot, ran ads on more websites than any other marketer, a total of 209 placements. Chevrolet, Walmart, Verizon Fios, Zenni Optical, Staples and AT&T Mobility bought ads for more than 100 websites. Progressive, Geico, Toyota Motors Sales Events and LendingTree came relativity close to the century mark.

olympicstriplecastSo, do I long for the days of tape delay or even (shudder) NBC’s ill-fated Olympics Triplecast Pay-Per View scam program? (If you’re too young to remember this, read SportsRants great piece from 2012).

Not by a long shot. Sure, the paradox of choice (too many choices ultimately creates anxiety for shoppers, according to the author Barry Schwartz) is real–there’s WAY too many events to watch. That said, I’d rather have choice than be forced to watch gymnastics. And more gymnastics.



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