Olympics multiple-screen trends: Untapped opportunities for advertisers and sponsors

Monday, March 18, 2013 | 7:00 AM

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This month at Mobile World Congress we unveiled some new research insights at the session Mobile Entertainment: Rise of the Digital Global Event.  

We all know that we now live in a multi-screen world and the device that people choose in a particular moment is largely based on their context: a person's location, the time of day and day of week as well as the device’s capabilities.  We were interested to see what this meant when people were attending, watching or just following a major event.  

Working with YouGov, Sparkler and Ipsos, we conducted three separate studies during the London 2012 Olympics using a combination of online diaries, surveys and network usage. This was the first Olympics where smartphones were mainstream and of course tablets were not even invented for Beijing 2008. We wanted to understand how various devices would be used by ticket-holders and armchair fans alike. Would there be any new behaviors and how would multi-screening, including TV, smartphones, tablets and computers, play-out? 

The research highlights included:

1 in 3 people followed the Olympics on multiple screens
In a typical day, 33% of people following the Olympics in the UK were doing so on more than one screen. Multi-screeners also spent more time following the Olympics: a single screen follower averaging 203 minutes per day, while the ultra-connected four screener averaged 435 minutes - typically enjoying the games at home, work and out-and-about.

Smartphones extend event engagement – in home and out of home
People were devouring information on the Olympics across devices with 40% looking online for event results, 20% for information on athlete backgrounds and 31% for event times. When actually watching an event - whether in-person at the games or on a device elsewhere - people were hooked to their smartphones. 11% of people were following the same event - if you were watching cycling, for example, you could be checking your phone for other competitor times. 14% followed a different event, so if you were at the cycling you could be checking on the rowing results. And 10% of people were multi-tasking and looking at non-Olympics related info such as news, emails, weather or a restaurant to head to. We’ve seen how the walls in shops are now “porous” with people using their mobiles to compare prices, research products. The same can also be said of stadiums and this opens up a whole new world of opportunity for sponsors and advertisers.


The Olympics has caused people to try new things, will it leave a legacy?
50% of people watched catch-up TV online for the first time or more during the Olympics, 47% for live video. 18% visited a sponsor’s website for the first time or more often. In fact only 17% of people didn’t try anything new online.  These new behaviours may act as a catalyst for more everyday use.


The Olympics may well be seen as a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience for the UK.  But the extended and enhanced use of multiple-screens is certainly no phenomenon but a natural and continuing trend.  A trend that offers countless multi-screen opportunities for advertisers and sponsors to engage with their customers at live events - whether that’s the next football World Cup in Rio or a music festival in Glastonbury, England.

See all of our findings by downloading the full report here.

Posted By: Matt Brocklehurst, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads

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