Technology has disrupted many industries over the course of time which in most cases has brought positive long-term change. Within 24 hours of each other, I read a post by Mark Cuban entitled, My Olympics 2016 Business and Technology Predictions and Auren Hoffman’s Technology is the Deciding Factor in Election Campaigns.
Both Cuban and Hoffman touch upon a major/premiere event (Olympics, Election) and how technology is creating new opportunities, creating efficiencies, and has the ability to scale the event itself much greater than it is currently today.
Cuban writes about how the Out of Home (OOH) market is going to create new opportunities for viewing the Olympics:
o what can NBC, or really any bidder do to give themselves an advantage ? What technology could they monetize in 2016 that would help get a return on their bid that doesn’t exist today ?
The answer is simple: The Out of Home Market
How many people can they convince to leave their homes to watch the games in a unique viewing venue. Would people pay 20 bucks to watch Michael Phelps go for medals 17 to 25 in a theater on a 3 story screen in the highest possible quality HD with a thousand other screaming fans ? Would they pay 30 bucks to watch it in 3D ?
Could they get 10mm people into theaters (thats the equivalent of a movie that did about 70mm in box office in 2 weeks). Would people get more excited about the Olympics than they did Batman ?
Would people go to the Royals stadium in KC to watch any of the games on a Daktronics screen that is 12 stories tall with 40k of their friends ? Would they fill 100k in the new Dallas Cowboys or the new Yankees stadiums whose HDTV screens will be even bigger ? How many different nights ? Particularly given that in 2016, those screens will be “old” and probably smaller than the current generation of screens in arenas and stadiums.
Of course it would also not be a stretch to place the biggest screens in existence in open air locations where huge gatherings and related events can take place. Would families pay 50 bucks for a day of Olympics fun outside on 100 acres ? Olympicsalooza anyone ? Why should it be any different than all the events that take place SuperBowl, or NBA or MLB All Star weekends ? Make it a huge party. In 100 cities across the country.
Could you sell 20mm tickets to attend out of home Olympic events at an average of 20 bucks each ? Thats 400mm minus the cut to the theaters, locations, etc of 50pct, or 200mm. Plus of course there is all the non stop advertising that will be built into all of these events. On screen, at stadium/field/farm/theater………
I would mostly agree with Mark. I’ve been saying this for a long time in regards to watching concerts such as the Dave Matthews Band in theaters. We’ve seen hints of concerts touching the big screen such as the Beastie Boys movie back a few years and recently, the Rolling Stones. When we go to the theatre, even though we’re watching with a group of people we chose to go with (surrounded by other potentially like minded individuals), it’s still a solitary experience. If you talk during a movie, you can expect to get a few looks from people who are displeased. With concerts, it’s all about the EXPERIENCE. The stage show is one part of it, but the crowd, smells, energy, and all of the intangibles make the experience. The Olympics is just like a big U2 concert… lots of hoopla, lights, great performers, but we should be able to watch and witness in a crowd of likeminded people to really share in the experience. I would love to see this happen for the Olympics.
Next, we’ve got the election. The media attention is switching from the global stage of Olympics to the national stage for the Election and we’re about to have a media blitz that will own the airwaves for the next few months. Hoffman talks about the 3rd Ask as noted below:
The Third “Ask”
In politics, supporters traditionally get two “asks” from candidates: one for money, and one for a vote. That’s it. That means most of the campaign work is done by a few paid staffers. Not a very participatory democracy.
The Obama campaign has turned this notion on its head and built a community involvement strategy. Axelrod and his team realized that supporters of a political candidate are passionate and want to help. And while most have full-time jobs and families, and can’t spend weekends knocking on doors, they all have five minutes to spare to help out. The Obama campaign has brilliantly taken advantage of this by actually asking people for help. They’re letting a large number of people do a small amount of work each.
So if you go to an Obama rally (or just sign up on his Web site), you might be asked to call three voters in a swing state. Or if they know you are a member of Digg (the popular site that lets users vote on articles of interest), Obama’s people may ask you to Digg an article that is favorable to Obama or critical of his opponent. Or they might ask you to put a bumper sticker on your MySpace page.
In 2012, all major candidates will be leveraging their supporters more effectively. But for now, Obama’s campaign has the technology advantage.
He’s right. Technology is allowing us to unite supporters, create an experience between everyone, and then have them go off and be brand advocates, in this case, for the Obama campaign. Hoffman may be quietly inferring that the successful candidate will utilize the Wisdom of Crowds model to move from a top down campaign to a bottom up.
What’s interesting in both cases here is that technology is making a real difference in both the Olympics and Elections. The Olympics was the most viewed event in U.S. TV ratings history (source) but the experience of the games could be much larger. Technology allowed us to watch most of the Olympics coverage whenever we wanted it (if you could find your way around NBC) and those access points weren’t figured into the ratings so it’s even higher.
I’ve always been a fan of how technology can penetrate an industry and picking two premium events in a 6 month time span is certainly fascinating to watch.