New SportBusiness report on the future of Olympic Games media consumption

SportBusiness has recently released a deep report on the future trends in Olympic Games content consumption. Existing media and emerging platforms have been taken into consideration by a group of 6 advisors chosen because of their long-standing experience in Olympic Games coverage.

The report also features data from 13 major sports markets revealing interesting insights on the Olympic Games’ fan base demographic and behaviours.

Download the full report.

Here are some excerpts from the report, including our Chief Product & Marketing Officer Carlo De Marchis’ take on major digital sport topics.

On younger generations

The key to attracting younger audiences involves two major issues, according to Carlo De Marchis, chief product and marketing officer at Deltatre. “One: What happens in the two years (or four years) between the Games? This is a challenge that not even long-term rights-holding broadcasters have figured out,” he says. “You don’t have a constant connection with the Olympics brand. Two: How can you make simple something very complex? Today’s short-term attention span, extreme simplification and bit-sized content consumption are the opposite of the nature of the Olympic Games.”
“I tend to believe that some behaviour will evolve with age, so the interest in the Games can improve, but other aspects will not, i.e. the digital nature and the fan expectation aspects.”

On covering multiple sports

As technologies develop, providing the same high-quality coverage across all sports – from those with world-class broadcasting as standard, such as football and tennis, to smaller sports with relatively very little exposure – is key to creating a single standardised offer to Olympic fans, says Carlo De Marchis.
“The extensive opportunities and challenges of the Olympic Games are unparalleled, the biggest difference being the number of multiple sports events happening at the same time.
This adds great richness, but also significant fragmentation and complexity,” he says.
“You need to offer fans a homogenous experience across all sports without sacrificing the uniqueness of each sport. That is why since 2008 everything we have built for the Olympics at deltatre has been focused on leveraging any aspect of the digital-mobile-social revolution to enhance the Olympics coverage in a way that traditional linear TV will never be able to create.”

On live streaming

The most significant developments in audience behaviour for the Olympic Games will be multi-platform OTT and live streaming, says De Marchis. “That’s the only way to truly experience the Olympics. Period. And social media.”
“Live streaming is very often thought as limited to computers, tablets and smartphones, but live streaming works amazingly well on big screens, often with better quality when streaming goes to 4.5 or 6Mbps.
“The current live-streaming technologies allow us to build fluid experiences where everything that is live is immediately available in DVR mode as on-demand.
“Live streaming is not just taking linear TV and sending it to a digital device. So many things
can be done to enhance the digital experience: interactivity to select different viewing modes, more content available from the venue, multiple live streams, picture-in-picture, in-app alerts, multi-angle content, synchronised data and stats, innovative fan engagement and social integrations.
“This is very relevant for the Olympics, but depends on each sport creating an immersive experience that is finely personalised as the only way to manage the complexity of the Games.”

The evolution of the digital environment and the provision of a range of appealing, enhanced interactive experiences are central to increasing engagement with young people.
“Young people don’t just want a lean-back passive experience. They also want to be engaged – the social aspect is huge – and become their own producers, become involved and be able to choose,” says Lindgren.
That view is shared by De Marchis. He says: “The young generation are very impatient. They cannot stay with one thing and no interaction. They are used to having interaction. You have to do something to access the next content. Maybe interactivity is one of the ways to bring the younger generation on board. If they have to do something, maybe they will stay more engaged. The younger generation want something which is more interactive. They are gamers, so they are used to changing what is happening or they are used to doing many things at once.
“More and more it will be about immersion. If the fan can be immersed in the event, it may be a way they stay longer. If you do it with technology, it matches exactly the way 20-year-olds use technology. Maybe that is the way to bring them on and stay for longer.”

On second screens

Second-screen services could also allow for the following of selected athletes, a potentially important feature given the large number of competing nations, where viewers want to see both the winners and their own athletes, or access to other events without departing from the main action or event. Another key element could be providing an alternative commentary which is tailored to particular groups, such as younger people.
“This is especially true in the Olympic environment, with lots of action going on at the same time. Even when you are following a particular event, it’s not always the leader you want to follow, but the athlete of your country. In the Olympics there is so much more content, so you can be diversified,” says Lindgren.

“There are two aspects of the digital experience and in the Olympics both are paramount: discovery and consumption. In football the discovery moment may be simply my team playing. In the Olympics almost every moment is discovery,” says De Marchis.
“There is an athlete of your country winning/ competing for a medal now, but the problem is how do I discover that?”
Given the large amount of simultaneous events, the ability to discover relevant and appealing content is of primary importance to maximising the user experience.

On social live streaming

“Maybe social live streaming is one of the trends emerging which can change this landscape. You have it with you, it’s super-easy to access and you don’t have to install an app, as it’s using existing platforms,” says Carlo De Marchis.

On AR and VR

“We are halfway (in the development of broadcast AR). The frontier at the moment is real time – providing sports with live real-time graphics. Storytelling is real time. The linear TV live director may only use graphics once or twice in a game, but it’s possible to create a parallel-graphics version of the match for stats fans,” says Carlo De Marchis.

The VR experience may be far more suitable for some sports than others, says De Marchis.
“VR production needs to be improved for live and near-live coverage,” he adds. “It also depends on the sport. For example, it could be good for tennis as people are near the action. There are so many areas to improve that once done, it will be really good. VR may not be a success, but provide the time to experiment enough and it could be really transformational, maybe complementary, and for some sports it could be really amazing.”