Re-Imagining Rio: How A Bad Customer Experience Ruined The Olympics

By Michael Sharkey of Autopilot

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.

Welcome to coverage of the 31st Olympiad, where the past is the present and the coverage experience is something out of the 90s.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the Olympics, but unfortunately, the experience of watching it this year distracts entirely from the spectacle itself. Cable companies have access to amazing tech and audience insights, but you wouldn’t guess it from what we’ve just seen. Marty McFly and Doc Brown predicted we would have hover boards by now so I thought my expectations were realistic when I assumed this Olympic coverage would use all of the information my cable box knows about me.

What do I mean? I subscribe to Comcast and use its X1 voice remote. This box is connected to the internet, knows who I am, what sports I watch, where I live, when I like to watch and a slew of other information I probably wish they didn’t know (i.e.: I only watched two seasons of The Bachelor I swear). But like many monolithic companies born in a non-connected era, the customer experience is an afterthought, which is costing them valuable ratings and setting up the future disruptive success of a Netflix- or Apple TV-controlled broadcast.

Let’s imagine what the 2016 Olympics could have looked like instead. Let’s say you’re a huge fan of track and field – particularly Usain Bolt. Your cable provider takes account for your unique preferences and knows which events you’d like to see. Imagine this experience curated in partnership between you and your provider. If you’re on a short time, your cable box will offer you a quick, curated highlight reel of races from that day. If you’re in the mood to watch live, your TV will immediately know to offer Usain Bolt’s current race. On the run yourself? Connect to your iPhone and you’ll get a notification when Bolt is running so the race isn’t spoiled by your Facebook friends on the east coast watching hours before you. By creating a contextual and personalized Olympic viewing experience on any screen, from smartphones to tablets to laptops, the coverage would not only win ratings, but win hearts by delighting the customer with a remarkable, personalized experience.

This isn’t just good for the consumer — if people could watch at any time of the day, they’d be more likely to watch period. I know I don’t want to watch a race if I already saw the highlight reels on my news feed. I don’t need to watch the entirety of a gymnastics routine if I’ve already seen the flip that earned a medal. By allowing people to watch what they want, when they want, where they want and how they want, networks could make more money off their advertisements. Instead of condensing an entire day’s worth of events into a mere few hours, networks could leverage ads throughout the day, lowering the premium of ads during non-prime times and raising prices during key events, making money for networks while allowing the on-demand viewing that fans crave.

We live in a world where technology can challenge and disrupt even the seemingly most stable business models and it’s not necessarily the technology doing the disrupting — it’s companies that are thoughtful about the customer experience. The television industry may fear disruption from Apple TV, Google, Netflix or Amazon. But their greatest fear should be forgetting what matters most — creating tailored experiences that their consumers will love and in which allow advertisements can thrive.

The television industry has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to disrupt themselves by delighting consumers with an immersive, highly personalized viewing experience that caters to our love for binge watching and content hopping. It might be too late for Rio, but let’s hope the 32nd Olympiad will bring us back to the future.

 

Michael Sharkey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Autopilot, where he leads a passionate team driven to help marketers harness the power of automation and build better relationships.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.

 

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