NBCUniversal deepens TikTok ties round unsure Winter Olympics
- NBCUniversal and TikTok have reached an agreement to bring new content and advertising experiences to the video-sharing app around the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, according to details emailed to Marketing Dive. It’s the first partnership to emerge from a social media platform bidding process launched by NBCUniversal in November.
- As part of the agreement, the network’s advertising partners will be able to test new ad formats on TikTok. Details on what these look like have been sparse, but brands can lean on NBC’s coverage of the Olympics when trying to reach sports fans. NBCUniversal claims that videos with Olympics-related hashtags have generated 18 billion views on TikTok to date.
- The network will also produce daily content across several of its TikTok handles and will broadcast three livestream episodes of coverage hosted by an in-app influencer. The live streams appear on the @NBCOlympics TikTok handle and a custom NBC Olympics hub that aggregates trends and daily clips from accounts like @NBCOlympics, @NBCSports, @ontheturf, and @Peacocktv.
NBCUniversal continues to change its strategy for the Olympics as sports viewing habits shift to mobile and streaming channels. The network has an established relationship with TikTok, which helped expand its reach for last summer’s Tokyo Games. The @NBCOlympics page saw a nearly 350% increase in followers during the event, despite it also being the first Olympics to take place during the modern TikTok era. The platform’s meteoric rise in the US began after parent company ByteDance merged TikTok with sister app Musical.ly in 2018 and accelerated amid the pandemic.
Now, NBCUniversal is trying to deepen its ties with a dominant social media player that’s having a powerful impact on the type of young consumers who aren’t engaging with traditional television. The broadcasting giant is sweetening the deal by promising that marketing partners will be the first to test new TikTok advertising experiences, although it’s not entirely clear what those will look like. TikTok and NBCUniversal have independently driven innovation beyond simple video placements, including through more robust commerce integrations.
Meanwhile, NBCUniversal is increasing its coverage of the Olympics within the app, including through an events hub that will combine its various accounts and live streams with behind-the-scenes coverage led by a TikTok creator (not named in the announcement). NBCUniversal said it is finalizing the details of additional partnerships around the games and is continuing to work with other social platforms. The company has an ongoing connection with Twitter, which includes live streams, highlights and pre-game content from the Olympics.
The duplication of mobile tactics follows a somewhat bumpy execution around the Tokyo Games. Many viewers found the experience too fragmented, particularly when it came to accessing content on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform Peacock. The event has also struggled with ongoing pandemic disruptions that have already postponed it by a year. TV ratings for the Tokyo Olympics fell 42% compared to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, hitting the lowest level for the Summer Games since NBC acquired the broadcasting rights in 1988, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Of course, COVID-19 remains an obstacle as the omicron variant lurks in other sporting events. Some brands are also walking on eggshells as political tensions in China make the Winter Games a contentious issue, while marketing activity has remained relatively quiet, according to a separate Journal report.
A change of strategy goes far beyond TikTok. NBCUniversal will be testing a new preferred measurement partner, iSpot.tv, for the Winter Games and Super Bowl, in a hiatus from a historic dependency on Nielsen. Advertisers receive iSpot.tv’s real-time broadcast data for linear, streamed and time-shifted television, along with next-day reports summarizing verified ad impressions, reach and frequency, linear and streamed overlap and incrementality. Select brands also gain access to impact-focused measurement capabilities, including granular attention and interruption rates, business outcomes reporting, and creative performance assessments.