NBC Universal, a media and entertainment company based in the United States, has teamed up with TikTok, to create content and brand experiences for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which will start on February 4th, 2022. The media conglomerate and the video creation platform will work collaboratively on content and advertising experiences for TikTok users tied to NBCU’s coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing.
NBC Universal Olympic advertisers will have first access to a creative advertising experience on TikTok as part of the deal. NBCU will also provide behind-the-scenes footage from the Games in a three-part series hosted by a creator on the @NBCUOlympics TikTok account. Highlights, trends, and clips from other NBC TikTok handle such as @NBCOlympics, @NBCSports, @ontheturf, and @PeacockTV will be broadcast on NBC’s dedicated Olympics Hub on TikTok.
NBCU said its Olympic advertisers would be the first to test new digital advertising experiences on TikTok’s platform, noting that targeted advertising will help them drive relevance among sports fans and stand out.
TikTok and NBCUniversal did not specify how this new advertising will vary from previous ones, but both companies have recently experimented with social purchasing, which could be a viable path for their collaboration. NBCUniversal made it known that it will continue to collaborate with other social media sites, including Twitter, to host a live program as well as highlights.
This collaboration is a part of NBCU’s efforts to build on its Olympic-related coverage from the Tokyo Games, which saw a 350% rise in TikTok followers and over 18 billion video views. The TikTok effort by NBCU is also a recognition of changing audience trends. As the media giant expands its TikTok presence, it lowered its rating estimates for the 2022 Olympic Games by roughly half, citing a disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics last summer and political opposition to the games being held in China.
During an interview, a TikTok spokesperson stated, “The Tokyo 2020 Games highlighted our community’s appetite for sports-adjacent content that shows a different side of the Games and the athletes, creating new avenues and content strategies for brands — including NBC — to engage with and entertain them.” “While this partnership presents unique opportunities for NBCUniversal advertisers, it also includes a robust slate of content that NBC will share across its TikTok accounts, including daily posts showcasing everything from highlights to topical trends, as well as three live streams hosted by a TikTok creator,” the spokesperson added.
Fans can anticipate following the athletes’ tales and adventures on TikTok across their handles as part of NBC’s coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. “Since the athletes’ experiences and achievements are an important element of NBC’s coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, viewers can expect to see them on TikTok across their handles,” says the statement.
It remains to be seen, though, how heavily athletes at this year’s Winter Olympics use TikTok. Fans have found the app to be a unique way to experience international competition. However, NBCUniversal’s TikTok collaboration poses certain worries. Bytedance, the parent company of TikTok, is based in China. However, TikTok is not available in China (Bytedance’s China-specific version of the app is Douyin).
People in China would typically be unable to utilize TikTok due to the country’s internet censorship. Olympic athletes and foreign media in Beijing, on the other hand, are purportedly given special SIM cards with unrestricted internet access. Even if athletes have access to social media, the US Olympic organizing committee advised athletes that “personal communications will be challenging at best while working in China.”
Following a shaky execution around the Tokyo Olympics, the organization is doubling down on mobile strategies. Many fans complained that the experience was too fragmented, especially when it comes to watching material on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform. In addition, the event had to deal with continuous pandemic interruptions, which had already pushed it back a year. The Tokyo Olympics’ TV ratings were down 42% from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, and they were the lowest for the Summer Games since NBC acquired the broadcast rights in 1988.
COVID-19, remains a challenge, with the omicron variation sabotaging other athletic events. As political concerns in China make the Winter Games a controversial topic, some firms are treading carefully, while marketing activity has stayed relatively quiet. Meanwhile, countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have announced diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics in protest of human rights violations against predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities such as the Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province. Following pressure from human rights organizations, NBCUniversal has announced that it will provide “geopolitical context” during its broadcast of the contentious Olympics.
In recent months, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has been in negotiations with allies about it. “We are deeply worried by the Chinese government’s continuous breaches of human rights,” he said. Adding, “they should not be surprised that we will not be sending any diplomatic representation.” The diplomatic moves by Canada, the U.S, Britain and Australia, however, do not affect their athletes’ ability to compete in the games.