Competing for Eyeballs – Rio Olympics Edition

While the world’s elite athletes are competing for medals in Rio de Janeiro, a battle for viewers is being waged by cable and broadcast networks, social media and streaming platforms.
One of the key properties Comcast gained with its 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal was the rights to air the Olympics games in the US.  And now Comcast, through its Xfinity cable subsidiary is leveraging new platforms and apps to engage subscribers with Olympics content. As cord-cutting increases, Comcast is looking to upgrade current subscribers as well as entice new users with exclusive Olympics content available only through their partnership with the USOC.  NBCUniversal now has an exhaustive schedule of Olympics viewing across NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, USA, Bravo and more through the X1 application.

In a bid to reach cord-cutters and mobile users, Google has dispatched YouTube stars such as Liza Koshy, Brodie Smith, Ben Brown, Caeli, Chloe Morello and Felipe Castanhari to livestream parts of the games and special events in host city Rio. Google is leveraging content from these Creators into search, maps and mobile applications to increase engagement. YouTube is also offering subscribers an IOC channel to increase visibility beyond US-centric users.

Not to be left out of the mobile/streaming wars, Facebook and Instagram have partnered with NBC to create a Social Media Command Center with access to NBC commentators and behind-the-scenes video.

Early reports indicate that live viewership for the Olympics is down versus the 2012 London Games.  Some are faulting excessive commercial breaks and ongoing concerns about Rio’s preparedness for the games.  But with so many options, are viewers choosing to engage with the 2016 Olympic Games in other ways rather than just live TV?

Some thoughts for marketers:
*Are the increased numbers of platforms and channels to choose for Olympic content possibly confusing or overwhelming viewers?
*Which brands are best leveraging the variety of platforms in order to connect with target consumers?
*What is your favorite way to watch the Olympics?

It’s Easy to be Green – Take 2

Building on our post last year about Marcal’s line of earth-friendly paper products, Kimberly Clark has taken green innovation to the next step with its new Tube-free bath tissue.

Launched exclusively in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, the new tube-free bath tissues offer consumers a visible way to help reduce the 160 million pounds of trash (usually not recycled) generated by discarded toilet paper tubes.

One downside – the new Tube-free offering does not use recycled paper, like the rest of the Scott Naturals line. However, K-C personnel indicate a move to at least 40% recycled-content paper is in the planning stages, especially if the product is launched into other retail outlets.

Have you tried this new tube-less wonder? What do you think – share your thoughts in Comments.

We’ve Got Updates – Right Here!

Some updates on previous posts:

giftboxesAre eReaders going to be the “got-to-have-it” gadget for holiday gifting this year? Barnes & Noble has launched its own dedicated eReader, the Nook. They already offer an electronic book platform that can be used on PCs, iPods and other devices. The wars are escalating as Amazon has just introduced a free application designed to enable Kindle owners to read electronic books on their PCs. While Forrester Research reports that most bibiophiles are still looking for significant price drops (below $99) before they are willing to invest in an eReader device, will the increased number of electronic book platforms across existing and dedicated devices make the printed blockbuster a thing of the past?

lv2The Virtual Goods market is skyrocketing. US sales of virtual goods have doubled in just a single year and are expected to exceed $1 billion in 2009. And many consumers are indulging their recession- thwarted desire for luxury goods by spoiling their online alter-egos. Sales of fashion and accessories in the virtual universe Second Life account for 40% its the marketplace, as players outfit their avatars with the latest Gucci, Prada and Jimmy Choo gear that they are no longer able to afford in the real world.

And lastly, guess who’s joining the parade to Pop-up Stores? While it was played for laughs in the hit comedy “The 40-Year Old Virgin“, online auction leader eBay is planning to use temporary mobile locations to generate awareness and to familiarize shoppers with their web functionality. You saw it first… in the movies!

Battle of the eReaders

robots2Just last month, Barnes & Noble announced their new eBooks platform, explicitly seeking to take their share of the eReader market currently dominated by’s Kindle.

David Pogue, The New York Times’ Personal Technology writer offers a good side-by-side comparison of the two platforms in this video. Key differences:

  • The Kindle is priced at $299 for a basic model; the eBooks platform is free to download
  • Kindle’s exclusive reader software can also be used on iPhones and iPod Touch, while B&N’s eBooks can be downloaded to any PC, Mac, iPod, Blackberry, iPhone
  • Amazon’s library covers over 345,000 titles; Barnes & Noble offers 700,000

So, who are you betting on in the battle of the eReaders? Will electronic books replace printed editions and maybe stem the decline in reading for pleasure?

Hot off the presses – another player enters the fray: Sony just announced the launch of their own electronic reader, timed for the holiday gift season. Sony’s touchscreen-enabled reader, dubbed the Daily Edition, will retail for $399; a partnership with the New York Public Library will allow 21 day access to over 29,000 titles.

The games are on!