Thanks to Snapchat, millions of users got up close and personal with President Obama and Lady Gaga during the Super Bowl. Fans were also able to virtually attend Coachella through 800 hours of video. And now Bloomberg reports that we’ll be able to experience the 2016 Summer Games through the mobile app. This is a huge deal, as Comcast Corp.’s NBC has never shared video of the Olympics.
During the Games, Snapchat will have a dedicated Discover channel set up for the event in Rio De Janeiro. Game highlights and behind-the-scenes content will be curated by Buzzfeed and available through the channel for two weeks. Snapchat will also create live stories each day, utilizing content from NBC, participating athletes, and fans who are at the event.
“We have never allowed the distribution of any game highlights off NBC’s own platforms,” said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. But Snapchat “really effectively reaches a very important demographic in the United States, and is very important to our efforts to assemble the large, massive audience that will show up to watch the Olympic Games.”
NBC hopes to create new, younger fans via the app’s audience by offering backstories of the athletes’ lives. Viewers can then follow their favorite Olympians live on television or on NBC’s website when they compete in the Games. Snapchat employed this same strategy during not only the events mentioned above, but also the Oscars and others. User-submitted content was combined with inside access to provide video stories that in some instances were watched by over 30 million people.
“It’s as much about what’s going on on the field as what’s going on in the Olympic village and Rio and really feeling like you’re there — seeing it through the fans’ eyes and the athletes’ eyes,” said Ben Schwerin, Snapchat’s director of partnerships. “Billions of people watch the Olympics on TV but a small fraction actually get to attend them in person.”
Comcast paid $1.23 billion for Olympic broadcast rights, and the Snapchat deal is only covered in the U.S. The mobile video sharing app did not pay for access, but will share revenues from ads paired with the Snapped content, which NBC will be selling. Buzzfeed’s curated content won’t be exclusive to Snapchat.
NBC is looking to make other deals such as this with Facebook and Twitter, according to Zenkel. Livestreaming the games, however, will be restricted to NBC.
According to Snapchat, users watch 10 billion videos on the app each day.