Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Advertising, Beijing and Cycling

Oh8, oh8, oh8 is the mnemonically-driven start date for the Beijing Olympics.

In addition to world class athletics that may occassionally interrupt the Bob Costas human interest stories, this year's half-a-world-away timezone games will challenge media coverage to remain relevant to North Americans in the face of globally connected information providers.

To wit, R+K's own Christina Harp will be covering cycling on her blog Christina and others like her will be able to provide realtime results and human experiences to anyone who's interested. Given the focus on cycling, interested visitors should be able to get a degree of specialization and indepth coverage that would be unlikely to be found on more general, mainstream mass media outlets.

Speaking of which, NBC will cram 8 days of Olympics coverage into each day using streaming video online (nbcolympics.com) and alerts via mobile phone. As if that weren't challenging enough, they'll be using the games (and their multi billion dollar investment) to try and understand how people use media and how much attention they are paying to the Olympics. Presumably, to convince advertisers that they should continue to find NBC's coverage valuable.

As a shareholder, or an advertiser, you might wish NBC had answered the latter questions before they paid for the right to broadcast the games or you paid for ad space. But then if you are invested in NBC's coverage, you probably have other concerns right now.

To avail yourself of the NBC coverage, you will need Windows Vista and Silverlight installed on your machine (see unheralded announcement from January). This ensures NBC's ability to control what you do with their content. It may also add a bit of risk to an already significant undertaking as many users will likely have to download the Silverlight plug in.

To view Christina Harp's coverage, you need only a web browser and an interest.

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