The Olympics hold promise for more than just the athletes and countries participating in the games. They are also a testing ground for online, social media concepts that traditional media hope will allow it to capitalize on the readership and viewership it has built over the last 100 years.
Much of traditional media are looking to the Olympics as a proof of concept for their latest efforts to crack the code of online viewership. From exclusive online coverage to blogs devoted to covering the games to the use of mobile devices and SMS campaigns, traditional media understand that their unique relationship with their audience and loyal consumers are a competitive advantage online.
The online future of traditional media lies behind the ability to capitalize on those advantages, however, and the motivation that drives statistics like 20% of tv watching takes place on the Web.
Whether or not these types of trends continue, which most believe they will, they create the current reality of a news and information industry in flux – caught between its journalistic traditions and business models and the popularity of a growing online culture that they still haven’t figured out.
But, the signs are promising that traditional media are starting to crack the code. No longer relegating online integration to the closing frame of the nightly news tag, traditional media are proving that they are willing to take risks in search of online impact.
Let the games begin.