What can business owners learn from NBC’s Olympic mistake?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The first actual “broadcast” of the Olympics happened on closed-circuit television in Berlin, Germany for the 1936 Summer Olympic games, but it took nearly thirty years until the USA followed suit.

In 1960, CBS paid $50,000 for the rights to broadcast the winter games in the USA—which was the first time the games were aired on television in America. Seeing their investment pay off, CBS doubled down in that same year for the Summer games by spending a whopping $394K (an estimated $3.15 million in today’s dollars) to obtain exclusive distribution rights for the summer games in the USA.

The concept of broadcasting the Olympic games on every television in America was enticing; however, the process itself was tedious and time consuming. CBS employees would film the games in Rome and edit their footage on site. The edited tapes were fed to representatives in Paris who then re-recorded the edited tapes and then loaded the new recordings onto airplanes to fly back to the USA. Upon arrival in New York City, CBS representatives fed the tapes to their own headquarters, as well as media outlets in both Toronto and Mexico City.

Through the long and drawn out process mentioned above, television consumers were able to enjoy watching the Olympic games in the comforts of their own home—albeit several hours after the events had actually happened, because broadcast satellites capable of a live feed were still a thing of the future at this point.

As technology developed, so too did broadcasting capabilities, and it wasn’t long until the Olympic games were being broadcasted live for the entire world to enjoy at the same time.

Today, with the development of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, the thought of “instantaneous broadcast” has essentially become a thought that we all take for granted.

With all of the advancements that have been made in broadcasting over the years, the “big players” in the industry are still learning how to leverage this “instant broadcast” capability correctly. For instance, did you know that the ratings for the 2016 opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympic Games boasts the lowest ratings for an opening ceremony since the Athens games in 2004? There are two large theories as to why this happened:

  1. The fact that team USA was closer to the front of the “parade of nations,”—implying that the viewers located in the US “got what they wanted” so to speak and tuned out for the remainder of the ceremony.
  2. NBC made the decision to broadcast a tape-delayed presentation of the ceremony—meaning that they did not broadcast live; rather, they waited to air the opening ceremony in “prime time” in an attempt to maximize advertising revenue.

Certainly correlation does not mean causation, but one thing is for sure—NBC learned the hard way that keeping up with the times (in broadcasting live) is an extremely important concept to consider when trying to maximize advertising revenue.

NBC found that user experience is paramount, and you can learn from their lessons at the “school of hard knocks.”

Business is not so different from developments broadcasting technology, in that certain processes have been around and have worked for years; however, times change, technology changes, and it is imperative that we keep up!

It is no secret that we are living in a digital age that is more connected than ever—just ask NBC. What worked in business in the past may not necessarily work in today’s marketplace. Brick and mortar locations are being substituted for websites, pieces of our sales processes have become automated, and as business owners, we now have a staggering amount of potential buyers that are only a mouse click away.

Times change. Technology changes. Staying in business requires a knowledge of these changes, as well as an effective strategy on how to utilize these advancements to grow.

How well is your business keeping up with the times?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]