August 2, 2015 / 7:43 AM / 4 years ago

Mobile key to growth, Sorrell tells IOC

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Olympic chiefs must pump more content to mobile devices, and extend the allure of the Games outside its 17-day window to stay relevant to young people, marketing guru Martin Sorrell said on Sunday.

Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer of WPP, gestures during the session 'The BBC World Debate: A Richer World, but for Whom?' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

“You need to evolve to new consumption behaviors in both younger demographics and in fast-growth markets, more online and more mobile,” the founder and CEO of marketing communications group, WPP, told International Olympic Committee members.

Sorrell said the IOC should create a range of content that is more than live and archive footage, and make it easily shareable.

“You have the ultimate story platform, young athletes, their families, friends and dreams,” he said.

Live sports programming was the last bastion of high value traditional TV programming, the businessman said, and the need to see it live trumps the “see it when I want to” value of on-demand media.

“Brands love sports: and its power is greater than ever,” Sorrell told the Session in Kuala Lumpur. “It has truly global reach, including the premium end of the market. It has a huge collective moment, because participating in sport, watching sport, talking about sport are all an important part of our universal culture.”


The rarity of the Olympics — once every four years for a summer and a winter Games — was both a strength and a weakness for the IOC, according to Sorrell.

“People forget,” he said. “Especially the newest generations who have grown up in this age of on-demand content and real-time social media.

“They haven’t grown up in awe of what happens when the world comes together to compete and don’t want to wait two years for the next Games.

“This is why we all know it’s critical to find your voice and celebrate the Olympic Movement and share its purpose more than just 17 days every two years.

“The time is now to engage and inspire audiences between the Games as well. This is why your idea of the Olympic Channel has such relevance and whose time has come.”

The IOC is due to roll out its Olympic Channel next year as part of reforms.

“My advice to you, if I can be so bold, is to be brave, is to be determined, is to be proud to be delivering the future of the Olympic Movement through this new medium,” Sorrell said.

“The world is ready for a mobile first social content platform united under a powerful purpose that resonates with people around the world. And the IOC has the potential to create just that.”

Editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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