Tokyo 2020: Seven execs explain Olympic attraction for advertisers and viewers

Tokyo 2020

Kurt Burnette and Lewis Martin on audience size and technical innovation

Tokyo 2020 is just 100 days away. It has been a while since there was such pent-up demand for an Olympic Games. The event has been delayed for 12 months…the last time there was an Olympic disruption was 80 years ago during the Second World War when both the 1940 and 1944 Games were cancelled.

Because of the 2020 delay, there will now only be a seven-month gap until the Winter Games commence in 2022.

These Games are on and they are going to be huge,” Seven’s chief revenue officer – director of Olympic, Paralympic & Commonwealth Games – Kurt Burnette told the audience of Seven’s Tokyo 100 virtual event this week.

So keen is Seven to showcase the creativity from Olympic advertisers, Burnette revealed they will be running a consumer competition where viewers can vote for their favourite ad shown during the event.

Seven’s head of sport Lewis Martin also took part in the Tokyo 100 event, joining Burnette on a panel to answer questions from advertisers.

After the event, Mediaweek spoke with both Burnette and Martin.

Olympic-sized audience measurement

KB: “We are setting up dashboards which will allow us to report in a de-duped fashion with VOZ launching in June. Currently we can report digital views and social streams and we will continue to do that. Each morning you will be able to see what has happened across broadcast, digital and social.

“The Olympic reporting is not VOZ-dependent though, we will be reporting VPM demographics, but with VOZ it hangs together better and de-duplicates the audience.”

Monetising the Olympics

KB: “Seventy per cent of our sponsorship has been sold which is ahead of where we would normally be in an Olympics. The ad packages – or our dynamic market as we call it – is running hot at the moment and we are very pleased. We are having good conversations. The market is very strong, and there has been a real return to brand marketing coming out of 2020.

The surest bet in 2021 with regard to an audience of extreme scale and addressability –there is nothing better than the Olympics. For people looking for brand activity the timing could not be better. Thankfully we are in a position post-Covid where a lot of categories are starting to talk about their message. That’s a good thing after so many businesses were damaged by Covid and this is part of the recovery.”

Tokyo 2020

Seven’s Kurt Burnette

Were brands concerned Games might be cancelled?

KB: “The people who are on board absolutely believe in the Games. It’s a no-risk situation. If something happens it’s not like their money has been spent. All brands that go in will get the Olympic Games, the biggest digital event in history, and the biggest audience you will get in 2021. Or they will be involved, and we are talking about it because people want to know, they will be part of shows like Farmer Wants a Wife and The Voice. That will be a guaranteed TARP campaign, or you’re in the biggest event in the past 20 years.”

Commercial opportunities: This year is different

KB: “There is no signage at any of the venues and the IOC is very strict historically how brands can integrate inside the broadcast coverage. This time around they have opened up a whole raft of opportunities like picture in picture, pull-throughs and lower frame supers. We have some very clever integrations which you will see through the games.

“As you move into digital you have addressability and data overlays, freeze frame and then personalisation where people can follow a sport.

“There are more opportunities in 17 days than we have seen in 52 weeks of a year. I have been to 12 Olympic Games and I have not seen as many opportunities as this.”

Hospitality for Seven’s Olympic partners

KB: “We are working with the AOC on the live sites around the capital cities. In those live sites those people will also be seeing our signal.”

LM: “There will be an opportunity for our key customers to join us in the studios. We have made a provision where we will be able to have some advertisers visit the broadcast hub.”

Broadcast initiatives

LM: “Everything we have done to date is about evolving our broadcast ability. All of the learnings we have taken out of the past 12 months we will be applying to Tokyo and an Olympics always raise the broadcasting bar. The innovations and new tech we are using will be carried over into other sports.

“Viewers will notice the most innovation by watching 7plus where we will have 45 channels. It offers us a huge opportunity for Tokyo and then allows us to take into other sports.”

Seven’s Lewis Martin

How to watch 45 channels

LM: “We will have an interactive screen where all channels will be visible. Our host will be able to direct our viewers to whatever they choose to watch. Viewers will be able to have their viewing experience curated by the host and then viewers can choose their own. People will never miss a thing.

“Some people might buy new televisions which seems to happen before an Olympics, but they won’t have to purchase a thing. The great thing about 7plus is that it is already there and it takes just a couple of minutes to sign up.”

KB: “This is the first time an Olympics has sat inside 7plus. For Rio and the Commonwealth Games Seven had a standalone app.”

Seven’s Tokyo 2020 team

LM: “There will be a big team of reporters on the ground in Tokyo. It is obviously a big news event as well as a sporting event and we have some serious heavy hitters. They will also be interacting with our sports hosts.

It’s a very aspirational thing to be part of an Olympics coverage. If you look at our hosting we have gone for a broad team that is all about knowledge and experience.

“These Games will not be just huge, it will be dynamic and unpredictable and the world will be watching.

“While the commentary of the different events will largely be remote, the key thing out of Covid is to be agile. We will assess each situation and have scenarios ready, but with the knowledge they may have to be changed. If there is an increased workload with Covid, it is about having multiple scenarios so we can be ready if the environment changes, something we learnt during the 2020 AFL season.”

Showcasing Seven’s second-half programming

KB: “The Olympics is a big platform and one of the reasons Seven invests in the Olympic Games is to promote ourselves. We have a whole range of programming that we will showcase including The Voice, SAS Australia, the AFL Finals, Bathurst 1000, Ashes cricket and also our news programs.”

Seven’s Bruce McAvaney

See also:

Seven unveils its coverage team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
• There are just 100 days to go until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begin

Seven reveals its digital product for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
• Over one billion minutes will be streamed across the 17-day period

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