First Mobile Olympics Threatens Traditional Media
London 2012 is the most widely covered and consumed sporting event in history with millions of fans receiving coverage of the event on mobile devices through both traditional channels such as TV and radio broadcasters and new media channels such as Twitter, YouTube and blogs.
At London 2012, every spectator has the ability to broadcast a report of a sporting event the instant is happens. It might not be polished or professionally edited but the substance of the story is largely the same. For those participating in the games, the IOC has gone to the trouble of preparing social media guidelines for “participants and other accredited persons” to help ensure commercial interests of traditional broadcasters are some how balanced with the open and transparent world of athletic bloggers.
From athletes and coaches to the London police and traditional broadcasters such as NBC, no one is spared from the social media eye and the often acerbic glare of the Twitterarti. Responding to the “#NBCFail” criticism this week, NBC released stats from its first five days online video streaming. NBC research president Alan Wurtzel told journalists:
- • “Nearly 28 million people have visited NBCOlympics.com – eight percent higher compared to Beijing.”
- • 64 million total video streams served across all platforms – 182 percent increase over Beijing
- • Served 5.3m hours of live video – already “surpassed the total of all the games we streamed in Beijing”.
While the stats show a modest growth in website usage, mobile and video usage is through the roof:
- • 60 percent of video streams are happening “online” (ie. desktop web), “another 45 percent is (from) a combination of tablet and phones“, Wurtzel said.
- • “Nearly 4.6m people have gone to the mobile site – double the number from Beijing.
- • “Apps for mobile have consistently been among the top five apps in the app store since the games began, and have been downloaded more than six million times.”
The figures show that online is the preferred method for viewing content and mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets are growing part of that online mix. What is clear is that the future of broadcasting is online. It will not be long before internet streams that have been so successful to mobile devices and desktops will find their way to a TV in the family living room. The big question is, will traditional broadcasters move fast enough to capture a share of the Internet TV market or will citizen journalists and social media platforms dominate in home viewing?