Looking Ahead to Video Streaming During the 2016 Olympics


The 2012 Summer Olympics in London marked a new point in video consumption for worldwide events. Compared to the Beijing Olympics four years ago, the London Olympics saw an increase of 182 percent in video streams; which translated to 5.3 million hours streamed in total— with half of this on mobile devices.

This year, NBC chose to save the best programming for prime time in the U.S., in most cases broadcasting an event hours after the rest of the world knew the result. It is no surprise that viewers became frustrated with broadcast TV and looked elsewhere.

Looking ahead to 2016 & future large-scale events:

Fish where the fish are
One exclusive broadcaster of the content will no longer sustain in 2016. Rights holders and content producers will seek to distribute the content to where the users are spending their time online and empower those sites to tailor the content to achieve the maximum engagement.  Rather than syndicating what is being used for television, we will see “made for online” versions created and promoted by the site itself. Rights holders will make content available for editorial teams at multiple sites to pick the streams, camera angles and curated editorial “feels” that meet the voice of their demographic.

In 2016 we predict rights holders will syndicate bundles of their content (in the case of the London Olympics, 300 of them) to video marketplaces like Amazon, iTunes or Google Play and charge viewers a micro payment for access to one-of-a-kind or premiere clips. Below are two ideas we are likely to see in 2016:

  • Stream prioritization: Viewers spend a lot of money on devices that offer amazing viewing quality. Therefore, when they finally do get access from their mobile device, they want the ability to have the best quality and experience possible. In the future, this could mean giving users options to view at very high-def: 2.5 Mbps-4 Mbps.
  • Gametization for viewers: Just as Piers Morgan donating £1,000 to charity each time a member of Team Britain sang the anthem in their medals ceremony, rights holders and sponsors could add an element of risk and excitement to their payment schemes. For example, users can build an Olympics fantasy team and when the members of their team win, they receive a free stream. If they lose, they pay a micro payment. A concept like this could be stuck in the IOC’s legal department forever, but you know viewers would love the competitive aspect!

Engaging, but non-intrusive ads on multiple screens
By 2016 the majority of the world’s population will be viewing media on their phone and other handheld devices, and connected TVs. Users will be even more adept at navigating through content and “snacking” on the elements they want, hopping from device to device throughout the viewing experience. This will increase advertising opportunities but make it vital for these messages to be at least 50 to 70 percent shorter than the standard 30-second spot, with clear calls to action to capture the audience.

The ideal experience
An ideal media experience for the 2016 Olympics will be one that focuses on every audience fragment, creates tailored experiences and delivers content in a fashion that mirrors the platform in which that content is being received while meeting the viewer’s desire for instant access and convenience.