“Ninety percent of what is on social media is not inspiring. It is rubbish.” This candid assessment by Olympic Channel Services Executive Director Yiannis Exarchos is both a challenge and an opportunity. Explosive growth of social media platforms and their global reach has made them the largest source of sports content distribution, propelled by forwarding of clips and sports competition results. No one has to look very far to see how the rubbish piles up. Misspellings, misquotes, heads chopped off of photos that are carelessly cropped, and endless superficiality flood social media sites faster than any good editor could condense and make sense out of the tweets and posts.
In a presentation to the SportAccord Digital Summit last Wednesday, Exarchos outlined a strategy to rise above the pavement of social media profusion with a structured approach to producing broadcast quality material and involving many outside contributors to share their expertise. He reported that executives at the Olympic Channel have received over 700 proposals from around the world, including many from longtime broadcasters of the Olympics in their home countries. This foundation is supporting the Channel’s goal of having 250 hours of new programming available for a global launch. The launch is widely expected late this year, but no date has been officially announced.
Unifying the content with appealing features will be key to making the quality goals a reality. The foundation will stay close to the mission of the Olympic movement to tell its stories and explain its values. At the same time, Olympic Channel planners are paying close attention to the rising dominance of small screen smartphones in displaying digital media.
A pivotal role for sports news shows is also part of the plan. Having a mix of news content can be an effective way to get viewers to log in and also provide more visibility to the fifty-six different Olympic sports plus promising sports that are competing for inclusion in the Olympic program.
While the planned foundation of quality content is a high priority, sophisticated analysis of what viewers would like to see is also planned to personalize the content and make it a favorite for many viewers. Exarchos’ presentation followed a sports themed talk by Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the WPP Group, during which Sorrell explained briefly that WPP Group would be contributing its expertise in audience analytics to this team effort. The media world will have to wait to see the finished product, but the track record of Olympic Broadcasting Services and WPP Group are keeping expectations high.
Olympic TV Chief Yiannis Exarchos builds team to launch new worldwide channel
PR expert Martin Sorrell coaches sports leaders to renew industry image