“Tokyo 2020 Isn’t Just Seven’s Win… It’s A Giant Endorsement For BVOD”: The Trade Desk’s James Bayes

“Tokyo 2020 Isn’t Just Seven’s Win… It’s A Giant Endorsement For BVOD”: The Trade Desk’s James Bayes

The Tokyo 2020 Games smashed all kinds of BVOD records for host broadcaster Seven. But as The Trade Desk’s general manager ANZ James Bayes [pictured] explains here, it’s not just Seven that will benefit.

Australia has joined an exclusive club, now with just two members – countries with three host cities for the Summer Olympic Games. The rest of the world fully understands our sports obsession and considers our stewardship of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics to be a safe bet.

In pure business terms, two things underpin Olympic success. Firstly, a smart, sustainable plan by the host city. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, it requires global TV revenue.

Despite all the logistical challenges, it is clear that audiences and advertisers still consider the Olympics to be a moment like no other.

Tokyo 2020 was billed as the biggest streaming event in Australian history and certainly lived up to that hype. Thanks to a combination of factors – fresh lockdowns, a friendly time-zone, the recent rush on smart TVs, and a rush of Aussie Gold, Seven’s Olympic coverage eclipsed all records.

With a total audience of 3.85 million viewers nationally in Australia (taking into account time-shift and BVOD), the Opening Ceremony was the most most-watched TV program of 2021.

On July 25, Seven smashed the biggest day ever in Australian television streaming, with 376million minutes across 7plus… 4.5x the previous record set only 10 days earlier with Nine’s coverage of State of Origin. Remarkably, Olympic streaming has grown 10x in the five years since Rio, with the 2016 event having a daily high streaming peak of ‘just’ 36million minutes.

Importantly, 7plus was delivering incremental audience to broadcast. 40+ live streams showing almost every minute of every event from every venue proved a draw for younger audiences. Amongst Men 18-39, BVOD extended linear reach by 43 per cent and amongst People 18-39 the incremental audience was 32 per cent!

In a year where broader BVOD consumption has exploded, Think TV research from the second half of 2020 showed an average of 79 million hours of streaming occurred on BVOD each month, up 39.8 per cent YoY, Tokyo is an exclamation point on the industry’s transition to a streaming-led future. The growth is exponential, the momentum toward streaming is irrefutable.

Only three years ago I was asked by a television exec why anyone would want to live stream TV when they could ‘just turn on the TV and press their favourite channel,’ it’s hard to believe we’d be having that same conversation now. Tokyo 2020 isn’t just Seven’s win… it’s a giant endorsement for BVOD in general.

The networks have innovated in recent years across their streaming services with BVOD exclusives (think Love Island Australia S1), pre windowing, lighter ad loads, personalisation and hybrid access points across free and ad funded models. Foxtel’s transition to a streaming-led future was emphasised just last week with Kayo and Binge driving subscribers 40 per cent higher in the past 12 months in ambitious transformation agenda that’s working. But given the results we’ve seen over the last fortnight, I think we’ll look back on Tokyo 2020 as the moment BVOD became mainstream, when Australia fully grasped the experiential power they can have through BVOD.

And with Seven adding over 2.8 million new registered users across the two weeks of the Games, Tokyo has been a magnet for new users to trial the format.

For some brands, YouTube has been the ‘go-to’ platform for addressable video at scale. But as BVOD audiences go mainstream, there is a compelling argument for brands to adjust their investments according to this new reality. This isn’t a solo journey for brands – broadcasters can provide unparalleled first-party audience relationships, and platforms like The Trade Desk can help brands connect media investment to real-world business results.

The $1 billion+ of linear TV money that moved to YouTube in recent years, should be re-evaluated based on the progress that’s been made in BVOD. Both play a part in a successful video strategy, but it’s hard to think we haven’t gone too far. With BVOD and streaming being the future of ‘TV’, brands can put their investment back to work on the most powerful screen in the home, in a more data-driven, brand safe and measurable way than ever before.

The Olympics hold a grip on the imagination of all Australians – shown by the clear momentum towards streaming and BVOD. What the numbers from Tokyo 2020 show is that we’ve been trusted with hosting the Games in a third city for a very good reason!


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