Relationships & Revenue

Olympic User Experience

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Building an amazing experience for customers means knowing who they are and what their needs are.
  • Creating the impression that you’ll be able to serve customers is worse than saying that you won’t.
  • The fall is harder, and will be remembered longer, the higher expectations are placed.

There was a lot of hype with this Olympics that more live content was going to be available online. It is – if you have a cable subscription (which means you’d be able to most likely watch it anyway). Having cut the TV cord a number of years ago, getting ready to watch the Olympics was one of the worst “opening the box” experiences I’ve had in a while.

But maybe they did it this way to ensure that they would be able generate the proper ad revenue. Doesn’t look like it. Forecasts estimate that NBC will lose $100 million on the $1.3 billion it paid to host the Summer Olympics.

Which leads me to the user experience. With more and more people cutting the TV cord these days and relying solely on online sources for their media entertainment and information (Hulu, Amazon Prime, NetFlix, etc.), why would you create an online experience that flies in the face of that?

While the estimated of number of those who have cut the TV cord is small, one report estimates that there will still be 3.58 million of these users by the end of 2012. If you could get each of those users to pay $30 to watch all the Olympics online (which is around $1.75 per day), they’d be able to fully close that $100 million gap. I would have paid even more if there was maybe a link to how I could have helped some of the athletes competing. Or what about some kind of online Olympics component that allowed people from around the world to compete at supporting their teams? The ideas are endless.

Building an amazing experience for customers means knowing who they are and what their needs are. Creating the impression that you’ll be able to serve customers is worse than saying that you won’t. The fall is harder, and will be remembered longer, the higher expectations are placed. 

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