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Snapchat Goes for Gold with NBC at the Olympics

As you know by now, all the kids are using Snapchat. Add to that list of kids the 2016 Summer Olympics.

How is this possible considering NBC historically has not permitted Olympic highlights footage outside of its native platform? Indeed, this is unprecedented. NBC has been the sole reign of Summer Olympic coverage since 1988. But the change comes at a time when consumer behavior is not what it used to be and so it became possible through a partnership between NBC and Snapchat.

Why now? Why Snapchat? The 2016 Olympic games, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will reach a larger U.S. audience with the help of Snapchat. You see, a minute fraction of people actually have the luxury and privilege of attending the Olympics live in any given year. Snapchat is a [Olympic] game changer, sort of speak. Snapchat will allow viewers to feel like they are at the games in the flesh through behind-the-scenes access to what is happening on the field, in Olympic Village, and in Rio. Athletes’ and fans’ stories may originate on Snapchat, but the coverage does not stop there.

These Snapchat snippets are content teasers that will then drive viewing traffic to NBC for the in-depth stories and live stream coverage. This is a clever way of making the Olympic Games more social since younger viewers are super mobile these days, checking their feeds multiple times each day, and not stuck in front of televisions. Teenagers and young adults report following current events from smartphone apps and websites—not TV. Make no mistake, limited television viewing from the younger U.S. demographic will not preclude this audience from experiencing moment-by-moment Olympic news thanks to Snapchat. Video clips are available on SnapChat for only 24 hours.

NBC could not argue with the numbers. Snapchat claims 60% of 13-34-year-olds with smartphones in the U.S. are using Snapchat. Viewing among teens of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing increased 25%. Viewership among kids ages 2-11 rose 31%. This is in stark contrast to the 1% viewership for 18-34-year-olds—the target audience for this NBC-Snapchat partnership.

NBC and Snapchat will share in the advertisement revenue that is attached to the companion content. NBC has already passed the $1B mark in advertisement sales for the 2016 Summer Games, an ad amount NBC barely achieved before the 2012 opening ceremonies. Neither NBC nor Snapchat can, or will, disclose how much ad revenue they expect to generate from this year’s Summer Games, but some estimates state it could be 30% higher than in 2012. Clearly, this “Olympic-sized” deal is a win-win for NBC and Snapchat.

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