Seven touts Olympics coverage to be ‘Australia’s biggest advertising event’, full of ‘Super Bowl moments’

Seven announced the details of its Olympics broadcast at a virtual event on Wednesday, after which Mumbrella's Zanda Wilson caught up with chief revenue officer and director of Olympics Kurt Burnette, chief digital officer Gereurd Roberts and head of sport Lewis Martin, to dive deeper into the proposition for advertisers.

After being forced to postpone its coverage of the Tokyo Olympics for a year, Seven has now detailed how its broadcast will play out in a few short months, announcing dozens of dedicated channels to cover every angle of the event.

But the Olympics will not only be a huge event for Aussie consumers and sport lovers, but also for advertisers.

In its Tokyo100 virtual announcement today, Seven revealed it will give viewers access to 43 channels and 2 simulcasts for the event, available live and free from 23 July. Of those, 36 channels will be curated by Seven, while viewers can also watch 6 pre-created channels from Tokyo and 1 Olympics-run channel.

The coverage will air across Seven’s full digital ecosystem including 7Plus, 7News.com.au and The West Australia. Viewers can access four different modes: Live, full replay, compressed replays aka, Olympic Minis, and short-form highlights.

Over a billion minutes will be broadcast, and available to view across 20 different platforms to watch streams, all in the user’s choice of language.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Seven West Media chief revenue officer and director of Olympics, Kurt Burnette, says it will be “exciting” to broadcast “the first fully converged Olympic Games with broadcast, digital and social”.

Seven will also use its 7REDiQ platform to create a personalised experience for users. Functions included are watchlist, continue watching, captions, autoplay, Chromecast and airplay, HD/SD selector and free frame functionality.

Seven chief digital officer, Gereurd Roberts, tells Mumbrella that increased access is key for advertisers reaching audiences with their message. “From an addressability perspective, we’re going to have more than eight million registered users on the 7Plus platform, and we will know more about them than we ever have before.

“On one hand, you’ve got the biggest digital event in Australian history, through the delivery of the biggest sporting event in the world.

“On the other hand, [it will] be Australia’s biggest ever advertising event, simply because of the data and the scale of the audience we’ll have across the platform.”

Hamish McLachlan and Abbey Gelmi

But Roberts adds that it’s not about pushing viewers away from free-to-air television and onto 7Plus.

“This isn’t a digital versus broadcast conversation. This is about giving Australia the access to that they want and need at the most exciting points in the games.”

For advertisers interested in being part of the games, there’s still inventory available, revealed Seven West Media network sales director Natalie Harvey, during the presentation.

“70% of the available slots have been taken,” she said, but revealed that there are still “packages available of all sizes” for advertisers on a range of budgets.

Primetime coverage was a big theme during the presentation, with Seven expecting that an Olympics in a time zone that’s friendly to Australian audiences will deliver the ratings of the 2020 AFL Grand Final every day for 17 days.

“The time zone is an incredibly powerful tool for us,” Burnette says. “We’ve got major events coming through during primetime. Not since Beijing have we had this type of time zone for a summer games, and that stands as the second biggest [television] audience since Sydney 2000.”

The games will also be an exciting time for creative brands, with Seven announcing a competition where viewers will vote for their favourite advertisement of the games.

Burnette flags that full details of the competition will be released next week, but tells us the ad does not have to be locally produced. “The criteria is that it must run during the games, and it’s voted for by the consumer. You just have to register, there’s no specialist panel of creatives voting.

“We’re doing it because we want to highlight great creative throughout the games because these events bring Super Bowl moments for creative.”

Kurt Burnette

During the Tokyo100 event, Seven also revealed its full broadcast team. It will be led by Bruce McAvaney who returns for his 11th Olympic games and features a slew of former Olympians and other experienced broadcasters.

On the ground reporters are Mel McLaughlin, Mark Beretta, Jason Richardson and Nathan Templeton who’ll provide updates on all the latest news. Additions to Seven’s commentary team are Anna Meares, a six-time gold medal winner in cycling, and she is joined by former ironwoman champion Candice Warner.

Fellow gold medalists and Olympians join, including Nick Green, Giaan Rooney, Scott McGrory, Russell Mark, Debbie Watson and Kerri Pottharst, plus Andrew Gaze, Rachael Sporn, Tamsyn Lewis-Manou and David Culbert.

There are plenty of experienced broadcasters joining the fray as well, from Basil Zempilas to Greg Clark, John Casey, Brenton Speed and Matt Hill. Meanwhile, Jason Richardson will serve as trackside athletics reporter and interviewer, and Nathan Templeton will do the same at the pool.

Seven will also welcome a team of international callers and experts as part of the biggest ever Olympic Host Broadcast Service.

Seven Tokyo Broadcast Team

Seven is backing its team to deliver coverage that will make up for a lack of fans in stadiums, though head of sport Lewis Martin flagged that fake crowd noise may be used.

He says that ticket sales are higher than expected though, and as a result, he doesn’t expect to need the technology as much as planned.

“When you have nobody there, the decision to have an audience supplement [was important] for audience familiarity makes sense.

“These Olympics at the moment, with ticket sales, any audio will complement the elite level of Japanese clapping. So we’re quite confident the audience effect and the atmosphere is going to be provided throughout the broadcast.”

In terms of the daily schedule, Johanna Griggs will bring viewers the morning broadcast alongside Luke Darcy, while Matt Shirvington and Edwina Bartholomew will present afternoons.

Following 7News each night, Hamish McLachlan and Abbey Gelmi will anchor the evening sessions, while Andy Maher and Lisa Sthalekar are to host a late-night show called Tokyo Shinya.

7News will get the only on-the-ground unrestricted access, and chief correspondent Chris Reason and sports anchor Mel McLaughlin will lead a team of reporters, including Ashlee Mullany, Alex Hart, Matthew Carmichael, Sharnelle Vella, Rob Scott, Blake Johnson and Ryan Daniels throughout the games.

7News.com.au will be up-dated, daily with news and event schedules.

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics will begin on 23 July and will run through to 8 August.


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