News

Where place your Olympic bets: new research from Mindshare North America

NEW YORK—August 1, 2016—The medals haven’t been awarded yet, but Mindshare North America, the global media agency network that is part of WPP, has released new research for the 2016 Summer Olympics to explore the real winners of the upcoming games in Rio. Mindshare NA used The Pool, a proprietary research tool, to examine media habits, consumer insights, and brand opportunities.

“Brands today need to move at the speed of culture,” says Adam Gerhart, U.S. CEO, Mindshare. “The Olympics present a rich opportunity for those brands embracing insights that allow them to be agile and adaptive in how they leverage the real-time nature of the event.”

Traditional Media Remains King

Of the 1,034 people surveyed by Mindshare NA’s Insights team, 75% say that they plan to watch the upcoming Olympics. In fact, when respondents were asked to select their top five favorite events, the Summer Olympics was the second place sporting event, after the Super Bowl. It also ranked higher than numerous other pop culture events, such as the Oscars and the Emmys.

As for how they’ll watch the games: television remains king, with 88% of Olympics viewers planning to watch on TV. That said, more than one in five (23%) viewers say that they will watch the events live on PC/desktop—not an insignificant number. And, 43% of Olympics viewers say that they would watch the Olympics on a virtual reality headset if they owned one. That number rises to 58% for those ages 18-34.

Seventy-one percent of Olympics viewers say that they prefer to watch the games live—a number that rises to 74% specifically for men. Interestingly enough, when looking at different age groups, that decreases to 60% for those ages 55 and above. Mindshare NA also found that 51% of viewers watch the Olympics to see a specific sport—compared to only 29% watching it because of “patriotic duty to cheer for their country.” For the latter, that number rises to 34% for those with an annual household income of $75,000 or higher.

In addition, 70% of female viewers plan to watch the Olympics with family or friends, compared to 64% of male viewers. And bosses beware: 25% of Olympics viewers plan to watch while at work.

That said, in spite of all that, Rio itself as a venue is not garnering positive feedback: only 23% of viewers think it’s a good place to hold the Olympics this year.

The Interplay of Broadcast and Social Media

More than half (56%) of Olympics viewers say that when watching an Olympic event on TV, they give it their full attention (they don’t use their phones). That number rises 64% for men and dips to 47% for women. It also rises to 66% for those with an annual household income of $75,000 or higher.

That said, 40% say that if they miss an event, the first place they look for results is on social media; that rises to nearly half (49%) for those with an HHI[1] of $75,000 or more. In addition, 38% of viewers do say that they’re generally on their phones when watching an Olympic event on TV. And 35% say that they are generally on social media during an Olympics event.

What’s more is that 47% of viewers say that seeing the Olympics mentioned on social media makes them want to tune in more; that increases to 53% for those with an HHI of $75,000 or more, and rises to 63% for overall viewers between the ages of 18-34.

Opportunities for Brands

Mindshare NA’s research also looked at the opportunities for brands to provide content around the Olympics to enhance the experience for viewers, particularly among younger audiences. More than half (56%) of viewers between the ages of 18-34 say that they would like to see brands provide behind-the-scenes content on athletes and team during the Olympics. In addition, 45% of viewers ages 18-34 would like to see brands provide access to tips and advice from Olympic athletes on their sport.

And after watching the Olympics, 43% of overall viewers think that they’ll want to exercise more, as opposed to only 18% who think that they’ll consider booking a trip to Rio—something to examine for post-Olympics marketing.

If You’re Not Watching the Olympics

Mindshare NA also examined the planned activities for those who don’t intend to watch the Olympics. For non-viewers, the research shows what they plan to do instead—something for brands who aren’t activating around the Olympics to consider:

  • 55% will watch something else on television—rising to 61% specifically for women.
  • 31% will watch something else on a streaming service (such as Netflix or Hulu)
  • 24% will do something active, like exercise—rising to 30% for women and dropping to 16% for men (meaning that female non-watchers are essentially twice as active as men)
  • 19% will play video games—rising to 25% for men specifically
  • Looking at those with an HHI of $75,000 or more, 40% will listen to music, 44% will go out to eat, and 45% will go out with friends or family.

Research Methodology

Mindshare NA surveyed 1,034 adults nationwide through The Pool, ages 18 and up, both Olympics viewers and non-viewers.

This new research also follows Mindshare NA’s eSports research (a sport that will be hosting its own eGames alongside the Olympics in Rio) and the agency’s 2016 Culture Vulture Trends report.

About Mindshare
Mindshare is a global media agency network with billings in excess of US $34.5 billion (source: RECMA). The network consists of more than 7,000 employees, in 116 offices across 86 countries spread throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Each office is dedicated to forging competitive marketing advantage for businesses and their brands based on the values of speed, teamwork and provocation. Mindshare is part of GroupM, which oversees the media investment management sector for WPP, the world's leading communications services group. 
Visit us at Mindshareusa.com or MindshareInTheLoop.com and follow us on Twitter @Mindshare_NA and facebook.com/MindshareNA.

About GroupM
GroupM is the leading global media investment management company serving as the parent to WPP media agencies including Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Maxus, and Essence, as well as the programmatic digital media platform, Xaxis, each global operations in their own right with leading market positions. GroupM's primary purpose is to maximize performance of WPP's media agencies by operating as leader and collaborator in trading, content creation, sports, digital, finance, proprietary tool development and other business-critical capabilities. GroupM's focus is to deliver unrivaled marketplace advantage to its clients, stakeholders and people. Discover more about GroupM at www.groupm.com. Follow @GroupMWorldwide on Twitter. Follow GroupM on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/groupm

[1] As defined in this release, HHI refers to annual household income.