By adaptive - February 8th, 2016
Brazilian enterprises ranging from media outlets to sustainability efforts are customizing their mobile strategies for the Rio Summer Games as they look to capture a huge captive audience. Camila Fontana has the story from São Paulo.
Sports fans will have one eye on the TV screen and the other on their mobile devices while following the historic events during the upcoming Rio Olympics. The event will be held in Brazil’s coastal metropolis August 5-21; staging 306 contests while the Olympic Flame burns brightly above Rio.
That means a number of sports will overlap (42 total), virtually forcing people to use their smartphones and tablets to check out scores and other developments even when they are watching other Olympic competitions on the big screen.
With about half a year to go, news outlets and advertising companies are preparing to meet voracious global and local demand for sports information on mobile devices during the short-lived event. “This will be the smartphone Olympics,” said Adilson Batista, Chief Strategy Officer of São Paulo-based digital adverting agency Today, which has Samsung and Mercedes-Benz among its clients. “People will be using their phones to check scores, world records and other breaking news in real time during the games. Any brand thinking about offering mobile solution must be driven by real-time results.”
The growing proliferation of smartphones in the country supports these expectations. The Brazilian population totals 204 million, and the number of people who use a smartphone for internet access reached 72.4 million as of June, according to Nielsen. Furthermore, Brazilian consumers are highly connected. Local smartphone users check their devices 78 times a day on average, and 57 percent do it within five minutes of waking up, according to the latest Global Mobile Consumer Survey carried out by Deloitte.
The Olympics will focus the world’s attention on mobile digital apps, so domestic and international media outlets are getting ready, customizing their own apps or creating new versions of mobile software that previously focused on the FIFA 2014 World Cup, also held in Brazil, and on the 2012 London Olympics. These apps may also be used to increase viewership for the TV divisions of these media groups, aided by push technology. For instance, SportTV, a brand encompassing three cable channels owned by Globo, the biggest media company in Latin America, announced plans to launch a smartphone app that will notify users one hour ahead of the games and ahead of their favorite athletes playing.
The Olympic Committee has also gone smartphone-friendly. The official Rio 2016 app is available for download in English and Portuguese, offering news, historical facts, volunteer registration, links to official sponsors, and the whereabouts of the Olympic torch.
The current app has a very institutional profile, according to Daltro Martins, Chief Operating Officer for Nurun-- the arm of Publicis Worldwide chosen by the committee to develop the app. But Olympic organizers have plans to launch another app by March that is more exciting to sports fans. “About three months before the games, we will intensify our efforts to increase engagement with the audience, with news about athletes and the like,” said Martins.
Apps focused on hospitality, dining, transportation and entertainment are also working to be useful to the 380,000 tourists expected to land in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics. Airbnb went one step further and signed an agreement last March to become the official provider of alternative lodging during the event. The marketplace earned a spot on the ticket-purchasing platform, which links buyers to an Airbnb webpage offering about 80,000 beds in Rio neighborhoods during the two weeks of the event.
Sustainability was also included in the digital strategy of Olympic authorities, following an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Passport campaign. The Green Passport app offers tips on how to reduce the environmental impact while travelling, eco-efficient businesses catering to tourists, maps and sustainable routes for getting around during the games.
The Green Passport platform was offered during the FIFA 2014 World Cup and during the Olympics, the app will promote a competition among users, inviting them to participate in certain initiatives and complete tasks in Rio de Janeiro.
The Olympics will come as a respite to many industries that depend on consumer demand in Brazil. Amid political and fiscal crises that can feed off of one another and a poor international backdrop for commodity exporters in general, Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product is forecast to have contracted 3.1 percent in 2015 and to shrink 1.2 percent this year, according to predictions published in early November by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“Because of the economic downturn, consumer brands have been trying to play seasonality, so digital campaigns have focused on Black Friday, Christmas, Carnival in February and from then on, the Olympics will be the key theme,” said Today’s Batista. He sees “very strong” monetization opportunities in mobile marketing during the sports tournament, with news apps with the highest traffic selling more advertising space through iAd or Google Display Network.
“This trend will be exacerbated because the Olympics will be held during a time of the year with no seasonal theme in Brazil, so the games will become an opportunity for brands to communicate with consumers — whether or not these companies have any involvement in sports, they can get a ride on these apps,” he said.