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The Olympics is the biggest international sports competition in the world, of course, but it is also a massive media and marketing event, attracting billion of global viewers throughout the event’s two-week run and generating millions in advertising revenue from the world’s biggest global brands. To increase interest among young, social media-savvy viewers, official broadcaster NBC enlisted popular social media influencers like Logan Paul to expose social audiences to engaging Snapchat Stories, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, and more.
NBC enlisted social media stars like Flula to interview elite athletes before the Rio Olympics.
For the first time, NBC is working with top social media influencers to expand its Rio Olympics coverage to social media platforms and the young audiences that frequent them. NBC’s new strategy includes working with BuzzFeed to curate material on a dedicated Snapchat channel and recruiting several digital stars (who have a combined following of 120 million followers) to target and engage teenage and Millennials viewers, many of whom no longer consume content through television broadcasts (World Travel Market).
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Most notably, NBC has partnered with Vine star Logan Paul to capture and provide commentary for Olympic events on both the dedicated Rio Olympics Snapchat channel, as well as his own Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts, for his millions of followers to see.
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NBC faces two challenges in bringing the Rio Olympics to younger generations. First, the declining popularity of television, especially among teens and Millennials, means that fewer people will see the Games (and the advertisments that play during the broadcasts) by watching them on TV. Additionally, general interest in the Olympics is declining (Fast Company), especially for young people, and the median age of U.S. viewers who watched Olympic events like track and field is steadily rising (Variety).
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The broadcast network is hoping that collaborating with social media influencers will inspire enough interest in young audiences that they tune in to watch the Olympics either online or through an Olympic Games subscription package, thereby broadening their reach and blostering ratings.
As today’s biggest digital stars become household names and carry considerable weight when it comes to influencing decisions, major media companies are turning to social media influencers to create content as means to attract viewership from audiences that are increasingly digital. This trend has important implications for influencer marketing in general as it has become integral in marketing initiatives at the world’s biggest events.
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For the Olympics, NBC asked Logan Paul to engage with his fans at official Olympic events, on beaches, and around local hotspots in Rio de Janeiro. NBC also enlisted other top social media influencers such as Flula (see YouTube video above) and The Fine Brothers to create unique and behind-the-scenes content, including coverage of athletes, breaking news, real-time scores, and commentary on their high-reach social media accounts (Sport Techie).