The big day finally arrived this week. And now, after months of waiting, we finally have something to talk about while we’re (still) waiting for something to happen. Surprisingly, I am not referring to the NFL releasing its schedule for the 2012 season – although multiple networks dedicated multiple decibels and multiple hours of programming to breaking down the match-ups. Nope. Instead, I’m all lathered up for London (apologies for the highly disturbing visual).
We’ve officially reached the “100 Days Out” milestone for the Olympic Games. While it’s not entirely clear how much 100 Days Out means to the casual sports and/or Olympics fan, it is the media and marketing executive equivalent of Festivus – or in this case, Phelps-ivus. It is essentially a newfangled holiday that serves as a clarion call to get consumers in the Olympics mindset. It also should be noted that 100 Days Out is no relation to 100 Nights Out, which pretty much describes my last four months of college.
As we tip-toe toward tee time – and tea time – in London, there will surely be debates about the best way to present Olympics coverage to the viewer. The age-old question of live action vs. tape delay will once again be front-and-center, and as any media executive will tell you, there is no easy answer. But in the roughly 1400 days since the Beijing Games, the 140-character universe has helped us evolve as TV consumers. In short, real-time is really, really important. We like content, and we want lots if it, as often as we can get it.
Perhaps our best case study is the current presentation of the NHL Playoffs. For the first time in league history, every playoff game is – wait for it – available on national TV. Amazing! In truth, I’m completely hooked. As a puck-head, I know my Lidstroms from my Backtroms and my back checks from my Kovalchuks, but I’m certainly not a diehard. Moreover, as a Boston native, I’m fully invested in the Bruins’ playoff fate, but I’m also finding myself falling asleep to the dulcet tones of Vancouver fans (politely) booing their team’s eminent playoff collapse. Every night is a puck party, and the content is mesmerizing. I can’t get enough.
My key takeaway (or key takeaway-eh…sorry, couldn’t resist the cheap Canadian joke) is that we should not underestimate the consumer’s ability to rally around a good story. We’re willing to make time for compelling content, even if the content is available at odd times. A lot of people who are a lot smarter than me will ultimately decide what goes live and what goes tape delay from London, but I will always vote for the former. The good news is we have 100 days to debate the topic.