Is the Tokyo Olympics a bust? Viewership is down by 27% — but advertisers and broadcasters say they’re okay with that

With a 14-hour time difference, empty stands, and a global pandemic going on, the Tokyo Olympics were always going to be fighting an uphill battle for TV ratings.But while the number of TV viewers is down roughly 27 per cent from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, industry insiders say the Olympics are still a gold medal event for advertisers and broadcasters.One big reason? Major sporting events are still one of the few media properties where advertisers can lure back viewers who have been cutting the cord with traditional cable and satellite providers. That trend was hastened dramatically during the pandemic, said ad-buying executive Karine Courtemanche. And even though a 14-hour time difference means live audiences will be smaller, they’re still important.“For us, any opportunity through sports to be reaching live TV viewers that we have lost over the last few months is an amazing opportunity. And sports is one of the few environments that we can still get live TV viewers,” said Courtemanche, CEO of media agencies PHD and Touche, which represent several Olympic advertisers.The diminished universe of traditional TV viewing, and the 14-hour time difference between Tokyo and Toronto is something built into the contracts with CBC Courtemanche and her team negotiated for clients.“Our projections were based on ‘it’s going to be in the middle of summer. It’s going to be during vacations. It’s going be during a pandemic. It’s going be delayed by 14 hours. All of that was factored in with the projections that we did for our clients, and that we’re buying against,” said Courtemanche.CBC says it’s pleased with the numbers so far, even though this summer’s Olympics are only about halfway through.“With CBC ranking as the most-watched English network in Canada for six days in a row since the start of Tokyo 2020, we are extremely pleased with the television audiences tuning in so far, and are on track to meet our commitments,” said Donald Lizotte, GM and Chief Revenue Officer with CBC’s Media Solutions branch.Lizotte acknowledged that viewership for live events is down, but says that was something the broadcaster planned for in discussions with advertisers. Unlike in the U.S., where there are already rumours that NBC may need to give advertisers much-dreaded “make-goods” — free ad time to make up for lousy ratings — Lizotte said there’s no danger of that happening here. NBC is charging, according to industry estimates, roughly $1 million (U.S.) for a 30-second prime time spot. CBC wouldn’t reveal its own rates.“For our advertisers, we adjusted audience forecasts for live events accordingly, based on trends we have seen in television viewing habits over the last three years since Pyeongchang 2018, and as a result, we are in line with our expectations overall and are where we expected to be. All clients are on pace to reach their targets,” said Lizotte.Chris Wilson, executive director of Sports and Olympics at CBC, acknowledged the 27 per cent drop from Rio, but pointed to strong viewership numbers for some of Canada’s early successes in Tokyo, including 2.3 million who watched swimmer Maggie MacNeil earn Canada’s first gold medal with victory in the 100-metre butterfly.“The Olympic Games continue to be one of the most-watched sporting events in Canada, with significant television and digital audiences tuning in to watch and stream hundreds of hours of Olympic programming and coverage over many consecutive days,” Wilson said.Veteran marketing strategist David Kincaid said the time difference isn’t as big a concern for broadcasters and advertisers as it was previously, partly because of technology, but also because of extensive experience with vast time differences, including the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia or the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008.“We’ve got to remember this isn’t the first Olympic Games with a significant time difference. So the production realities and challenges that come with that, this isn’t their first rodeo. They’ve done this before,” said Kincaid, who was a senior marketing executive with Labatt during six Olympics when the brewer was a title sponsor and major advertiser on Canadian broadcasts.But even with that experience, the ratings could still end up being even worse than expected, because broadcasters haven’t kept up with technology as much as they should have, Kincaid predicted. Much of their online coverage is no different than their TV broadcasts, Kincaid argued, which risks putting off younger viewers.“It’s just more pre-produced stuff that they’re giving me more volume of, but it’s all the same kind of stuff. So I just think as a traditional media property, its days are becoming … I don’t wanna say numbered, but being put into question,” said Kincaid, CEO and founder of Level5 Brand Strategy.Even the Olympics themselves need to evolve, said David Carter, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and fo

Is the Tokyo Olympics a bust? Viewership is down by 27% — but advertisers and broadcasters say they’re okay with that

With a 14-hour time difference, empty stands, and a global pandemic going on, the Tokyo Olympics were always going to be fighting an uphill battle for TV ratings.

But while the number of TV viewers is down roughly 27 per cent from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, industry insiders say the Olympics are still a gold medal event for advertisers and broadcasters.

One big reason? Major sporting events are still one of the few media properties where advertisers can lure back viewers who have been cutting the cord with traditional cable and satellite providers. That trend was hastened dramatically during the pandemic, said ad-buying executive Karine Courtemanche. And even though a 14-hour time difference means live audiences will be smaller, they’re still important.

“For us, any opportunity through sports to be reaching live TV viewers that we have lost over the last few months is an amazing opportunity. And sports is one of the few environments that we can still get live TV viewers,” said Courtemanche, CEO of media agencies PHD and Touche, which represent several Olympic advertisers.

The diminished universe of traditional TV viewing, and the 14-hour time difference between Tokyo and Toronto is something built into the contracts with CBC Courtemanche and her team negotiated for clients.

“Our projections were based on ‘it’s going to be in the middle of summer. It’s going to be during vacations. It’s going be during a pandemic. It’s going be delayed by 14 hours. All of that was factored in with the projections that we did for our clients, and that we’re buying against,” said Courtemanche.

CBC says it’s pleased with the numbers so far, even though this summer’s Olympics are only about halfway through.

“With CBC ranking as the most-watched English network in Canada for six days in a row since the start of Tokyo 2020, we are extremely pleased with the television audiences tuning in so far, and are on track to meet our commitments,” said Donald Lizotte, GM and Chief Revenue Officer with CBC’s Media Solutions branch.

Lizotte acknowledged that viewership for live events is down, but says that was something the broadcaster planned for in discussions with advertisers. Unlike in the U.S., where there are already rumours that NBC may need to give advertisers much-dreaded “make-goods” — free ad time to make up for lousy ratings — Lizotte said there’s no danger of that happening here. NBC is charging, according to industry estimates, roughly $1 million (U.S.) for a 30-second prime time spot. CBC wouldn’t reveal its own rates.

“For our advertisers, we adjusted audience forecasts for live events accordingly, based on trends we have seen in television viewing habits over the last three years since Pyeongchang 2018, and as a result, we are in line with our expectations overall and are where we expected to be. All clients are on pace to reach their targets,” said Lizotte.

Chris Wilson, executive director of Sports and Olympics at CBC, acknowledged the 27 per cent drop from Rio, but pointed to strong viewership numbers for some of Canada’s early successes in Tokyo, including 2.3 million who watched swimmer Maggie MacNeil earn Canada’s first gold medal with victory in the 100-metre butterfly.

“The Olympic Games continue to be one of the most-watched sporting events in Canada, with significant television and digital audiences tuning in to watch and stream hundreds of hours of Olympic programming and coverage over many consecutive days,” Wilson said.

Veteran marketing strategist David Kincaid said the time difference isn’t as big a concern for broadcasters and advertisers as it was previously, partly because of technology, but also because of extensive experience with vast time differences, including the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia or the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

“We’ve got to remember this isn’t the first Olympic Games with a significant time difference. So the production realities and challenges that come with that, this isn’t their first rodeo. They’ve done this before,” said Kincaid, who was a senior marketing executive with Labatt during six Olympics when the brewer was a title sponsor and major advertiser on Canadian broadcasts.

But even with that experience, the ratings could still end up being even worse than expected, because broadcasters haven’t kept up with technology as much as they should have, Kincaid predicted. Much of their online coverage is no different than their TV broadcasts, Kincaid argued, which risks putting off younger viewers.

“It’s just more pre-produced stuff that they’re giving me more volume of, but it’s all the same kind of stuff. So I just think as a traditional media property, its days are becoming … I don’t wanna say numbered, but being put into question,” said Kincaid, CEO and founder of Level5 Brand Strategy.

Even the Olympics themselves need to evolve, said David Carter, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and founder of The Sports Business Group.

“The Olympics have to become relevant to the next generation of sports fans. And those sports fans want short-form content, they want sports that they can relate to. They don’t have this connection to Olympic history,” said Carter. “The IOC has a balancing act that includes where to host the games but also what sports are included in the Games. And if those two things together don’t allow you to tell a great story, then you begin to feel the financial pain.”

On top of the potential issues for the Olympic movement as a whole, Level5’s Kincaid said Tokyo has its own unique problems to deal with: A pandemic, no fans in the stands, and a local populace so angry at the Olympics that sponsor Toyota pulled its Games-related ads which creates the potential for even lower ratings, Kincaid said.

“Add to it all the calamity of Tokyo, and the circumstances that the pandemic have thrown it and wrap it all up in that, this thing was for me, a bit like going to a Queen concert with no Freddie Mercury. I hear the songs, and some of the original members of the band are there, but it’s not quite Queen. That’s what this feels like. There’s nobody in the stands, there’s no buzz,” said Kincaid.

And that, despite all the happy talk, could end up hitting advertisers where it counts.

“Let’s face it, you’re paying for access to a premier property, you were sold a certain cost per thousand. You were sold a certain demographic and psychographic coverage of the audience, certain segments that you’re building your brand around,” Kincaid said. “So there are a lot of upfront assumptions that you base your buy on, and I would say a lot of those upfront assumptions, when all is said and done, will have been called into question.”

Still, said Courtemanche, the early success of Canadian athletes in Tokyo, particularly on the women’s side, could tilt the ratings needle back up again.

“There’s nothing like winning medals for viewership.”

Source : Toronto Star More   

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COVID-19 boredom gave these kids the push to start their own businesses

When COVID-19 hit, 14-year-old Sophie McGinn had both time on her hands and a brand new Instagram account.Scrolling through her explore page, the Burlington teen spotted crafty people making earrings out of polymer clay. “So I went to Michaels, and I just got a couple of bars of clay and I just started making them.”After a period of trial and error, her jewelry company Aster & Grace was born, selling through her Instagram feed initially and recently through her website, asterandgrace.ca.For Sophie and other entrepreneurial kids, having a business was a sanity-saver during the long months of COVID lockdown.“I just found it so boring just being in the house, and just like the same thing every single day and just not being able to hang out with friends. Or like going to the mall. I miss the mall,” she said. “And I definitely found that having my own small business and making earrings, it just kept me busy during the day, and it’s fun and enjoyable to do.”It also came with challenges to overcome and processes to improve upon, like making do with a rolling pin to roll out the clay for the first three months.“And then for Christmas, my parents bought me a pasta machine, which is like my favourite thing because it just really rolls it out evenly,” she said.She also learned to source packaging materials through Etsy, come up with a steady stream of new content to market her products through Instagram and set up an e-commerce website.Cameron Davis, 16, started a YouTube channel back in 2017 to share his experiences with travel. But in 2020, following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter rallies, “that’s when the activism aspect of my entrepreneurship took off,” said Cameron, who lives in Markham.He started making T-shirts with the message “Listen, learn, act” emblazoned on the front, with all of the profits going to Black Lives Matter. That was the foundation for a new business launched in the pandemic, 721merch.ca, an apparel business selling hoodies and T-shirts.He has two lines of merchandise. The remainder of his “changemaker” designs support various charities with 10 per cent of profits; the travel-themed apparel emblazoned with airport codes, “That goes to me.”COVID lockdown gave Cameron the time to make the new venture happen, he said, plus a positive focus. “It gave me purpose.”His experience with his YouTube channel helped give him the confidence to put himself out there. “When I first started Cameron Travels, I was in Grade 8 and I was very shy” — at least on camera, he said.“So the best advice I could give for youth who want to start their business or want to do something that they’re interested in, but are shy to do, is to take that leap of faith and to do it,” said Davis.“You don’t know the outcome, but if you take that leap of faith I’m sure that it will go well. And if it doesn’t, you’ll know what you can improve, and then you could use that and try it again.”Nevin Buconjic of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was keen to pass on to his daughter, Hannah, some of his own childhood zeal for making money, along with the early foundation for financial literacy.“My wife and I had started giving Hannah an allowance to just sort of help her understand what money was used for,” said Buconjic. “We let her know that she could buy toys with money.”Her interest in getting more money was piqued. “So we thought as a fun family sort of thing we would do a lemonade stand and see how that went.”Excited by that early success, Hannah wanted to expand to freezies and ice cream sandwiches, so they made up a sign and launched Hannah’s Summer Treats two years ago when Hanna was just five years old.In a video call with both Hannah and her dad, I asked her what she likes to do with her money.“I like to buy toys. I like to buy dolls. And I like to donate it,” said Hannah, who is now turning eight.Buconjic said they donate 15 per cent of profits to ARCH Hospice in their local area.When the pandemic meant Hannah couldn’t operate her treat stand, she had another idea.“I guess my wife and I were watching a lot of CNN. So Hannah came out one day and said, ‘I want to start my own YouTube channel called HNN, Hannah News Network. And I want to do news for kids.’”“So yeah, she’s done about nine videos and we’ve had a tonne of fun as a family doing them.”Topics range from Hannah’s own report on COVID-19 to an interview with the CFL’s Jordan Hoover, who plays safety for Edmonton. “He also happens to be my cousin McKenzie’s boyfriend,” Hannah says in her introduction.With public health restrictions lifted, Hannah was able to relaunch her treat stand this summer.I asked her what she would say to kids who feel nervous to start their own business.“Well, sometimes I get nervous, too, because I get shy in front of people,” said Hannah, adding she knows her parents are there to help.Buconjic notes that when Hannah first operated her first treat stand, “the customers would come up and she would actually hide behind us.”Today she

COVID-19 boredom gave these kids the push to start their own businesses

When COVID-19 hit, 14-year-old Sophie McGinn had both time on her hands and a brand new Instagram account.

Scrolling through her explore page, the Burlington teen spotted crafty people making earrings out of polymer clay. “So I went to Michaels, and I just got a couple of bars of clay and I just started making them.”

After a period of trial and error, her jewelry company Aster & Grace was born, selling through her Instagram feed initially and recently through her website, asterandgrace.ca.

For Sophie and other entrepreneurial kids, having a business was a sanity-saver during the long months of COVID lockdown.

“I just found it so boring just being in the house, and just like the same thing every single day and just not being able to hang out with friends. Or like going to the mall. I miss the mall,” she said. “And I definitely found that having my own small business and making earrings, it just kept me busy during the day, and it’s fun and enjoyable to do.”

It also came with challenges to overcome and processes to improve upon, like making do with a rolling pin to roll out the clay for the first three months.

“And then for Christmas, my parents bought me a pasta machine, which is like my favourite thing because it just really rolls it out evenly,” she said.

She also learned to source packaging materials through Etsy, come up with a steady stream of new content to market her products through Instagram and set up an e-commerce website.

Cameron Davis, 16, started a YouTube channel back in 2017 to share his experiences with travel. But in 2020, following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter rallies, “that’s when the activism aspect of my entrepreneurship took off,” said Cameron, who lives in Markham.

He started making T-shirts with the message “Listen, learn, act” emblazoned on the front, with all of the profits going to Black Lives Matter. That was the foundation for a new business launched in the pandemic, 721merch.ca, an apparel business selling hoodies and T-shirts.

He has two lines of merchandise. The remainder of his “changemaker” designs support various charities with 10 per cent of profits; the travel-themed apparel emblazoned with airport codes, “That goes to me.”

COVID lockdown gave Cameron the time to make the new venture happen, he said, plus a positive focus. “It gave me purpose.”

His experience with his YouTube channel helped give him the confidence to put himself out there. “When I first started Cameron Travels, I was in Grade 8 and I was very shy” — at least on camera, he said.

“So the best advice I could give for youth who want to start their business or want to do something that they’re interested in, but are shy to do, is to take that leap of faith and to do it,” said Davis.

“You don’t know the outcome, but if you take that leap of faith I’m sure that it will go well. And if it doesn’t, you’ll know what you can improve, and then you could use that and try it again.”

Nevin Buconjic of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was keen to pass on to his daughter, Hannah, some of his own childhood zeal for making money, along with the early foundation for financial literacy.

“My wife and I had started giving Hannah an allowance to just sort of help her understand what money was used for,” said Buconjic. “We let her know that she could buy toys with money.”

Her interest in getting more money was piqued. “So we thought as a fun family sort of thing we would do a lemonade stand and see how that went.”

Excited by that early success, Hannah wanted to expand to freezies and ice cream sandwiches, so they made up a sign and launched Hannah’s Summer Treats two years ago when Hanna was just five years old.

In a video call with both Hannah and her dad, I asked her what she likes to do with her money.

“I like to buy toys. I like to buy dolls. And I like to donate it,” said Hannah, who is now turning eight.

Buconjic said they donate 15 per cent of profits to ARCH Hospice in their local area.

When the pandemic meant Hannah couldn’t operate her treat stand, she had another idea.

“I guess my wife and I were watching a lot of CNN. So Hannah came out one day and said, ‘I want to start my own YouTube channel called HNN, Hannah News Network. And I want to do news for kids.’”

“So yeah, she’s done about nine videos and we’ve had a tonne of fun as a family doing them.”

Topics range from Hannah’s own report on COVID-19 to an interview with the CFL’s Jordan Hoover, who plays safety for Edmonton. “He also happens to be my cousin McKenzie’s boyfriend,” Hannah says in her introduction.

With public health restrictions lifted, Hannah was able to relaunch her treat stand this summer.

I asked her what she would say to kids who feel nervous to start their own business.

“Well, sometimes I get nervous, too, because I get shy in front of people,” said Hannah, adding she knows her parents are there to help.

Buconjic notes that when Hannah first operated her first treat stand, “the customers would come up and she would actually hide behind us.”

Today she’s come a long way, at ease on YouTube, and chatting up and making change for her treat-stand customers, he says.

For parents wondering how to start supporting their kids to pursue a business idea, he recommends a free business planning kit for children created by e-commerce platform Shopify and available at shopify.com/kids.

Buconjic suggests using a small-scale business venture “as an opportunity to teach our kids a bit about money and how things work. I really think it teaches responsibility and how they play a role in their own success.”

Brandie Weikle is a freelance contributing columnist for the Star’s Life section, writing about parenting issues. She is the host of “The New Family Podcast” and editor of thenewfamily.com. Follow her on Twitter: @bweikle

Source : Toronto Star More   

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