The Drum: Options aplenty: Why livestreaming will go mainstream at Rio 2016

By: Lisa Lacy

There’s no question that livestreaming is becoming massive. Especially in sports.

And while Rio won’t be the first livestreamed Olympics, it is shaping up to be the Olympics in which live streaming takes center stage – and potentially forever changes the way consumers experience the event as traditional media and platforms alike compete with athletes and attendees for consumer attention.

A study from media and marketing services firm Mindshare found 88 per cent of viewers who said they will watch the Olympics plan to watch on TV. In addition, however, Mindshare found 71 per cent prefer to watch live and 38 per cent said they’re generally on their phones when watching an Olympic event while 35 per cent said they are generally on social media.

Consumers eager for live Olympics content have plenty of options

Per official broadcast network NBC, the 2016 Olympics will feature 4,500 streaming hours, including live streaming of all competition. In addition, viewers will find “an active news desk that will regularly stream Olympic updates throughout each day.”

By way of comparison, NBC said it streamed 3,500 hours for the 2012 London Olympics, which was the first time all competition was streamed live.

“I think NBC was very smart to embrace live,” said Brian Shin, CEO of video analytics firm Visible Measures. “It’s somewhat selfish as the goal is to have the total live viewership number be as high as possible to justify the large ad fees they’re charging and they are doing an integrated ad deployment, so they want to portray the total live audience as larger than just TV, but TV will take the lion’s share.”

For his part, Andreas Goeldi, CTO of video advertising platform Pixability, noted as the main rights holder in the US, NBC is parceling out streaming rights selectively, keeping the main events on its own platform.

That means live streams elsewhere will feature supplemental content, like behind-the-scenes footage and highlights — with plenty of platforms ready to take full advantage.

NBC Olympics and Snapchat have partnered to present what they call “unique perspectives” from Rio, which will include daily Snapchat Live Stories and an NBC Rio Olympic Discover channel, which will be available to U.S. Snapchat users “for over two weeks around the Games.” NBC Olympics said it will co-produce the Discover channel with news and entertainment network Buzzfeed.

Autumn Nazarian, senior vice president of Mindshare Spotlight, the sports and entertainment partnership unit of Mindshare, noted savvy fans are already following athletes’ journeys on Snapchat – even before the launch of the Discover channel.

“To see what Snapchat does is going to be very interesting – Facebook and Twitter and YouTube really do have Snapchat envy,” Shin said. “Snapchat’s approach is like a curated Live Story around these events and I think we will see more and more older people using Snapchat as a content discovery tool as opposed to a content creation tool. They will look at Live Stories to see the events they care about.”

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