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Twitter to Narrate Olympics

By April 24, 2018May 3rd, 2024No Comments

Every Olympics always proves to have its own set of surprises. But even before the opening ceremonies for this year’s games begin tonight in London, NBC has announced changes that will drastically change the viewing experience for millions. Since 1964, when NBC first began broadcasting the Olympics, organizers have pre-recorded events and waited to broadcast them until prime time in America. Yet this year, NBC has partnered with Twitter and plans to use the social media to serve as the official narrator of the games as it broadcasts all events live, both on television and online.

The partnership between Twitter and NBC Universal will involve a dedicated team that will centralize all Olympic related tweets. Twitter will be the center for all the action, and will be integrated into NBC’s broadcast. NBC will promote the site with various promotional clips as well as content from the athletes themselves. Earlier this month, NBC announced a similar partnership with Facebook which will give viewers behind the scenes access and additional video coverage to certain events. However, both agreements will not involve any advertising revenue sharing and instead, the partnership more about synergy and brand promotion.

The new Olympics coverage will be a huge gamble for NBC, as billions of dollars in Olympic television rights and advertising revenues will be at stake. NBC has called the Olympics its “billion dollar lab”as the company hopes to find a balance for modern TV that will simultaneously provide insightful video coverage and online accompaniment. With the strategy, NBC hopes to satisfy today’s generation of viewers. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, NBC chief executive Steve Burke said he is not worried. “There are traditionalists who say, ‘This will cannibalize us,’ he said. “But I think we’re in a world that is so fragmented, you want to do everything you can.”

The partnership is also very crucial for Twitter, which hopes to use the event as a springboard to build a more sustainable business. While brands such as General Electric and Procter & Gamble have already bought advertising space on Twitter during the Olympics, other advertisers are still skeptical of advertising on social media sites. Twitter hopes to convince them otherwise. Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media believes the event is crucial and said, “This is a way for new users to sample Twitter.”
Twitter’s impact will also be visible in London itself. At night, the London Eye will serve as a global mood ring. The Eye will be lit up and change colors every 30 minutes based on sentiment displayed on Twitter. The Eye will be lit yellow for positive reactions on Twitter, green for neutral, and purple for negative sentiment.

Even just as the games begin, Twitter has already been in the spotlight. Just a day before the Olympics, the site crashed, leaving some to wonder how it will handle capacity during marquee Olympic events.

On Thursday, the Greek Olympic Committee banished triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou from competing after she posted offensive tweets. It seems athletes should be more conscious about their personal comments.

The International Olypmic Committee has even offered athletes guidelines for what is allowable to include in a tweet. Through the document, which you can read here, organizers hope to limit advertisements broadcasted from athlete’s Twitter feeds.

As the games begin, advertisers will be attentively watching Twitter’s impact. The event is incredibly crucial for Twitter, as the site hopes to go for the gold.

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