- Google added several features to its platforms to help viewers stay up-to-date on the Winter Olympics, which start Feb. 9, according to a blog post by the company. The search giant will connect users to live video and 50 hours of virtual reality (VR) experiences for YouTube TV subscribers through the NBC Sports VR app. It's also adding special Olympics content to Google Earth and Streetview, which now include immersive images of stadiums and towns surrounding Pyeongchang, South Korea, per the blog post. Google Assistant will also answer questions about the Olympics and feature an Olympics trivia game.
- The search giant will soon offer Olympic-specific content on voice-activated Google Assistant, including responses to questions about event winners, Olympics history and facts about Pyeongchang, as well as an exclusive voice-based trivia game. Google is also incorporating YouTube into its search results with video highlights from the Games's official broadcasters like NBCUniversal and Eurosport. YouTube TV will also live stream Olympics coverage.
- Snapchat is expanding its partnership with NBCUniversal to live stream moments from the Olympics in the app's Discover section, according to Variety. The social app will start broadcasting live video from NBC on Feb. 10 — the first TV partnership collaborating on Snapchat's new live feature — as well as several Olympics-themed filters, stickers and augmented reality (AR) lenses.
Google and Snapchat's special content and features for the Winter Olympic Games cater to consumers' changing sports viewership habits while giving marketers new ways to reach sports fans around the world. The fun features, such as Snapchat's filters and AR lenses, give consumers an entertaining way to engage with the weeks-long event and drum up some excitement on social media.
As consumers' content consumption habits becoming increasingly multichannel, more people have begun to "second screen," meaning they interact with content on a mobile device while simultaneously viewing TV. Oftentimes, the second-screen content they view is unrelated to the TV programming, so this opens the door for marketing opportunities to produce relevant, compelling content tailored specifically for second-screen experiences, including Snapchat filters, voice-based trivia games or bonus features online to keep users engaged.
Whether it's shortened attention spans or an increased reliance on mobile, some viewers prefer to access sports highlights, interviews and other content rather than watching live broadcasts. Essentially, sports fans want to watch on their own terms, which sometimes means live streaming or engaging with relevant content via mobile. Eighty percent of consumers report second-screening to view extra content while watching sports, according to a Google analysis of YouTube sports content.
At the same time, NBCUniversal is likely hoping these new digital platforms and partnerships will lead to higher viewership of its Games coverage and help it bounce back from recent Olympics that had less than ideal ratings.
NBCUniversal previously partnered with Snapchat for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. This year, NBC Sports and Snap, Snapchat's parent company, have lined up more than 20 advertisers for Snapchat's Olympic content, more than double from the Rio games, according to Variety. NBC is also producing two exclusive Snapchat Olympics-themed shows, "Pipe Dreams" that follows three snowboarders and "Chasing Gold" to profile various athletes.