One World, One Dream
I remember the excitement of the Olympics from when I was a kid, gathered around a black and white television with my family, watching the drama of the once-every-four-years’ event unfold. And it seemed that things didn’t change much until just before the last summer Olympics when my husband and I installed over-the-air HD. It was amazing. And at the time there weren’t any real commercials since it was still an experiment to NBC. But by the last winter Olympic games, things had definitely changed. I suspect this time around, HD viewers, if not in the majority, will form a healthy percentage and commercials will be a common element. And as I think about this evolution, I can’t help thinking about it in relation to this year’s Olympic slogan, One World, One Dream. Because that slogan could also describe the evolution of media, and the possibilities which the Internet provides, especially in terms of following coverage of the games. We’re at an inflection point, as evidenced by NBC’s announcement that the Olympics this year will serve as a ‘research lab’ in determining how we ‘consume’ our Olympics. They’ll analyze broadcast usage patterns across all of their properties, as well as content streamed to both PCs and mobile phones. The reasoning is that this is the first time that the number of broadband Internet users and those with 3G cell phones make this analysis interesting. For example, ATT has struck a deal with NBC to carry the feed on their AT&T Mobile TV service, although it is currently limited to a small number of devices. I’m wondering what they’ll learn, and what it will tell us about our behaviors.It is the first time we viewers really have a choice with regard to timing, content, and format. If I’m interested in canoeing, I can simply fire up my laptop at six in the morning and voila¡. Four years ago, there was no Web 2.0, no social sites. Now, I can share my experience with friends globally via IM or MySpace. This global participation–amplified since, as we know, the Olympic games are not the same as local college basketball–is becoming commonplace. Looking ahead, I may actually need another screen (or two) in the TV room, the first for one-way interaction -the broadcast feed, and the second for two-way interaction -my link into additional content and social sites. No need to share my view into the gymnastic finals with a bunch of pop-up windows. Instead, I’ll share the Olympic experience with others in a seamless, virtual conversation. And it really will feel like one world.Let the games begin.