Advertisers aim for digital gold in Rio Olympics

Advertisers, who have pumped money into the Olympics this year in the hope of reaching their target groups via the 16-day sporting extravaganza, may not walk away a disappointed lot. Digital is expected to play a key role in helping sports aficionados catch up with the happenings at Rio, mainly because of the odd timings of live telecast.

"For sports which is not on standard time, digital is the number one platform," says Rajiv Dhingra, CEO, WATConsult, a Dentsu-Aegis-Network-owned digital agency. "About 80 per cent of viewership will be catch-up viewership. That will mean that highlights, snippets, two-minute videos etc will be lapped up by viewers," says Dhingra.

STAR, which has the broadcast rights of the Olympics on digital and TV, will telecast the 16-day event through 14 live feeds on Hotstar, its digital platform. This means that people interested in a particular sport can tune into that particular feed if they want to catch up with the on-field action.

During non-telecast hours, which stretch during the day (morning 4am to evening 4pm), Hotstar is expected to have special packages for all those who missed the live telecast. It is this special programming that will drive up viewer and advertiser interest, media planners and buyers tracking the Olympics on behalf of their clients said.

Read our full coverage on the 2016 Rio Olympics

While ad rates on Hotstar have been pegged at nearly Rs 34 lakh for 480 spots over 16 days of live telecast, the non-telecast hours could also fetch a similar price, media planners tracking the Olympics said, owing to the high viewer interest in highlights and short videos. Hotstar's opening and closing ceremony coverage, also huge attraction with viewers, have been pegged at Rs 1.26 lakh each.

STAR is expected to leverage its existing advertiser base on Hotstar for these packages. Some of STAR's television sponsors on Olympics - including Amul, Amazon, Bajaj Electricals, Life Insurance Corporation and Indian Oil Corporation - could also be tapped, media industry sources said. STAR is said to be speaking to most of them.

Dhruv Jha, general manager, IPG Mediabrands, says, "There are several factors that are driving advertiser interest around the Rio Olympics. India has sent the highest number of athletes this year and therefore the scope of winning medals is higher. Since Olympics happen at an interval of four years, advertisers every time get a new set of consumers to target, especially in the youth segment. 14-year olds in 2012 are now 18 and a number of brands can target them. Brands also use Olympics in a multi-dimensional way across platforms. This is critical from a return on investment point of view."

Four years ago, digital reach of the London Olympics, that is the number of viewers who had watched or sampled the games via digital platforms, including Youtube and other websites, was 8 million (Hotstar was not in existence then). This was despite television being a key medium back then. The London Olympics reached 106 million viewers via TV. The estimates are that digital viewership this time will be at least two to three times the 2012 digital number, while television viewership will drop by 50-60 per cent, compared with the last season.