As a media firm that’s placed a lot of emphasis on generating brand dollars through premium content, Yahoo has a lot riding on a 16-day stretch that kicks off in less than a week. The site will have 26 credentialed journalists on the ground in London for the Olympics and a 24/7, fully-staffed office back home to create the majority of its Olympics-related content. Four major brands - Citi, Visa, Transamerica and Procter & Gamble - have all signed for extensive campaigns built around Yahoo’s coverage of the Summer Games.
Yahoo began working out its plans for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London almost 18 months ago. It hopes to break previous records it set during the games in Vancouver and Beijing where it reached 32 million and 38.5 million unique visitors in the United States, respectively, according to comScore. A large majority of Yahoo’s content around the Olympics is being created internally, giving advertisers a unique opportunity to reach Olympic fans on a digital platform with exclusive content.
“It requires a massive technical prowess, editorial coordination and talent, custom client solutions, and doing that for 700 million users and over a dozen of the biggest advertisers on a global and localized basis,” noted Ken Fuchs, VP of Yahoo Global Media. “We will also deliver this to over 200 countries with 25 regional versions and in a dozen languages,” Fuchs added.
With so much exclusive programming to sell advertising against, Yahoo has worked with Citi, Visa, Transamerica and Procter & Gamble to develop unique campaigns for each brand leading into the Olympics all the way through the closing ceremony. Insurance firm Transamerica is working with Yahoo to create a custom video series, “Tomorrow Makers,” that will be filmed and delivered during the event.
The video series will include daily news from the Olympics, details about upcoming events, schedules, athlete profiles and medal predictions. The goal is to relive special moments throughout the history of the Summer Games, Fuchs explained. “It tells stories in an authentic, powerful way."
Fuchs said Yahoo has been offering unique Olympics campaigns to brands since it began programming for the Olympics more than a decade ago. "For this year, we are even pushing it further and doubling down on our programming efforts with nearly 30 journalists on the ground and our social and product experiences across multiple screens. This will be the biggest event we cover this year, perhaps even in the history of Yahoo.”
Citi is sponsoring Yahoo’s medal count page in browsers and the Olympics App, mobile pages and Sportacular Olympics content. Visa will be sponsoring some of Yahoo’s social elements this go around. Procter & Gamble is sponsoring a series of Yahoo’s Olympics programs at the corporate level and for individual P&G brands. Other original series such as “London Minute” and “Elite Athlete Workouts” will capture the spirit of the games in London and detail the training, diet and preparation that Olympians go through leading up to their events.
Yahoo is following and in many respects leads the ongoing transition from a purely broadcast-based experience with the Olympics to a digital one. It has developed a hub dedicated to covering the games in an optimized format for PC, mobile and tablet browsers. Asked if the Olympics is finally reaching a tipping point, where more consumers will watch the games online or mobile vs. traditional television, Fuchs said that digital has been in the game for a while and that Yahoo is focused on dominating the space with its huge user base and partner brands.
Indeed, a new survey conducted by Velti, a mobile marketing and ad technology provider, found that 40 percent of U.S. adults polled plan to follow the Olympics on two or more devices. The results also revealed that 35 percent plan to get their Olympics news from a tablet and 27 percent plan to pull out their smartphone to keep up with the event.