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Embrace digital or lose youth audience

2 August 2015

IOC: The marketing guru, Sir Martin Sorrell, has warned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that it must embrace new technology or “risk becoming irrelevant to the youth of the world”.

Sir Martin, the CEO of WPP, was the keynote speaker at the 128th IOC Session of the IOC in Kuala Lumpur.

His clients include giant corporations like the Ford Motor Company and Procter & Gamble. WPP has 188 thousand employees in 112 countries around the world.

Sir Martin told the IOC delegates that the new Olympic Channel was vital to the Olympic Movement.

“The IOC is in a unique position, the Olympics represents the pinnacle of sport, but the young generation forget and don’t want to wait two years for the next games. (Summer and winter). Now is the time to engage to inspire audiences between the games and that is why the Olympic Channel is so important”.

“The IOC will lose a total generation of viewers if they don’t embrace them. The Olympic Channel has to be social and mobile to capture the young generation”.

“The IOC needs to develop content about young athletes, their families, their friends and their dreams on the Olympic Channel”.

The IOC members were told about Snapchat, it has 100 million users a day, but the company did not exist in 2011. Such is the growth of digital media.

“Generation Z are all on Snapchat, they are watching video, playing games and catching up with friends on social media, all at the same time”.

“They don’t watch traditional television. They are the first generation to have lived with the internet all of their lives. They will not experience sport in any other way”.

“Live sport like the Olympic Games is more powerful than ever. But the young generation are watching on different platforms”.

Sir Martin said 1 billion people are on YouTube every month. To watch a video 6 billion hours on YouTube every month. 72 billion hours every year. The bulk of the people are watching are on a mobile phone.

He said the IOC must continue to evolve particularly in the growth markets of the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

“In these fast growth markets they have leap-frogged personal computers and have gone straight to mobile phones”.

“You have to adapt to change in particular the new media. The IOC must continue to evolve particularly in the Asia – Pacific, Africa and the Middle East”.

He said the “IOC’s licensing rights to traditional partners are very strong but you need to compliment these with new media need to engage with youth.

You need more online and more mobile to reach the new audience and link to the platforms they are engaged with.

Failure to realise this is most likely to risk becoming irrelevant to the youth of the world. If you do this it will create new value for all of you”.

Mike Tancred
AOC – Kuala Lumpur

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