Volvo Ocean Race Media Figures Show Importance of Digital. 5


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Here’s a question. Would you rather know for sure that you have 1,060,973 people watching your event or imagine that you could have 1.327 Billion? The Volvo Ocean Race have released their media figures for the the 2008-2009 race and while they are impressive, they bring into sharp focus the way in which media is valued.

Credit should be given to the organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race for their transparency and commercial approach to the numbers. Unlike other sectors of sailing, where the business model is propped up by wealthty individuals, the Volvo Ocean Race lives or dies on providing return on investment for its stakeholders.

While some may focus on the headline grabbing cumulative figures in the billions, there are some very significant and interesting numbers for sponsors in the details.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad chose to highlight a couple:

“As the media world evolves into a more online community, we have had great success with our online properties and new media areas. Our official online properties had over 89 million visitors with over one million fans visiting more than 100 times and the official game was a run-away success with over 221,768 players from over 180 countries.”

The numbers released yesterday include findings of an independent research programme, undertaken by IFM Sports Marketing Surveys with additional data and analysis from Google Analytics (an online reporting tool)

It’s still fashionable to quote TV numbers that assume households with boxes are actually watching, however the Volvo Ocean Race’s decision to take the race route to China and India has added several zeros to the numbers.

China led the way in new territories, by delivering an audience of 600 million, 45 per cent of the race total. This is the same amount as tuned into the biggest day of the recent Olympics!!

While the traditional PR people will focus on clippings, we would weight the digital numbers which measure actual downloads, clicks, views, comments and other interactions more highly.Why? Apart from being real numbers and not approximations, watching a race-start online or seeking out a blog is an active decision on behalf of a viewer. Somebody sitting in front of a computer screen or mobile phone screen is focussed on the content – it’s not on in the background.

From that point of view, the digital numbers are impressive for sailing.

  • 89 Million – Cumulative web audience (visits) from all Volvo Ocean Race online properties
  • 10Million – Mobile page views delivered to over five million visits. Every second of the Race somebody was hitting the server
  • 221,768 – Registered players from more than 180 countries in the Official Game

Online Video

  • 1,060,973  – views on the race’s YouTube site from 449 countries
  • 10,463 – video clips downloaded by 62 countries (from international online distributor The Newsmarket)

Web

  • 4,060,928 – unique visitors, a 15.7% increase on 2005-06
  • 63.27%  – of the audience visited the site more than nine times
  • Over one million users visited the site more than 100 times

Broadband TV

  • 1,199,892 – unique visitors throughout the race
  • 2,269,008 visits that registered 8,479,593 page views (3.74 pages per visit).

The online game deserves special mention. From a marketing point of view, this is incredibly exciting. The online game provides deep emersion with the hard-core fans of the race. This is not push marketing, this is relationship building, interaction, engagement. As well as proving that sailing is not too complicated for ‘normal’ people to understand, the Volvo Ocean Race online game proves that there are hundreds of thousands of people who want the feeling of participation. This is not a 30 second spot during a TV news bulletin, this is not a photo of your brand half obscured by a dark southern ocean wave – here lies an opportunity to deliver lasting associations and real returns. Our guess is that BWIN’s sponsorship of the extras packages in the final legs of the online race delivered one of the best returns of the entire race.

Online Game

  • 221,768 – registered players from more than 180 countries
  • World’s biggest online sailing community
  • 3,397,096 unique visitors came to the site, spending an average of 7:02 minutes
  • Average daily players was over 60,000 peaking at 120,000
  • Nearly 42 million hours spent on the game.

Traditional Media…

Television

  • 11,057 broadcasts, from 46 different countries provided over 3,386 hours of coverage and a cumulative audience of 1.327 billion
  • 400 news outlets from 62 different countries downloaded a total of 10,463 video news clips (The Newsmarket)

Print

  • Cumulative print circulation of 606.7 million – increase of 104% on the 2005-06 race
  • 13,038 print articles
  • 28,918 mentions in print
  • Total readership over the 10 legs was 1.6 billion

Media Value (TV, print)

  • US$54.2 million* – average media value for each team’s main sponsor (source: IFM Sports Marketing Surveys)(*Top seven teams)

Other  numbers

  • 1.619 Billion – Cumulative readership from 13,038 articles
  • 1.327 Billion – Cumulative TV audience from 11,057 broadcasts
  • 1.168 Billion – Cumulative radio audience from nearly 1,500 broadcasts
  • US$54.2 MILLION – Average media value (TV and print) for each team’s main sponsor (*This figure represents the top seven teams)

Sources: IFM Sports Marketing Surveys End Of Race Report 2009. Google Analytics. VEMU, World Sports Communications, Stopover Organisations.

  • christophebaudry

    The Volvo Ocean Race figures are really impressive, and it's really good for VOR and sailing events in general.
    Just one precision: it's a fact that the virtual game on the Volvo Ocean Race official site reached a huge number of countries however the largest sailing community is this of Vendée Globe, as the Virtual Game of the Vendée Globe race, wich was based on the same software, gathered 332 569 registered players. They were obliged to do the race in once (No stop VG notice of race rules obliged), that means more that 3 months “attached” to their computers.

  • Giles Pearman

    “China led the way in new territories, by delivering an audience of 600 million, 45 per cent of the race total. This is the same amount as tuned into the men’s 400m at the recent Olympics, but only represents 7.6% of China’s total TV audience.”

    I'm struggling with the maths.

    China's population was, according to the World Bank, 1,325,639,982 in 2008. 600,000,000 is 45% of the Chinese population. Are we seriously expected to believe half the population of China watched a clip of the Volvo on television? Does half the population of China own a TV? and how does the 7.6% work?

    As you suggest, greater stock could be placed by the web figures, but even these are misleading. I had four boats in the virtual race. I was not alone. After about 70,000 the remaining boats were being moved by the game server in each leg. 70,000 is impressive in itself and the game organisers would be better served for the future by acknowledging this.

    We all use them but cumulative reach figures are grossly misleading and should be singled out for disregard when truly, independently analysing the stats.

  • Giles,

    There are a lot of numbers in yesterday's report that have obviously been released to try and show the race in the best light. I approach such reports with the phrase 'lies, damn lies and statistics' ringing in my brain. The 600,000 number seems to be pretty standard when reporting for China, which makes me think that it is a 'number of households who COULD have seen the coverage.'

    Bear in mind that China has an element of state controlled media, so if the Volvo Ocean Race was broadcast, then it is possible that everyone with a TV saw it.

    The 7.6% was a mistake that came from a misinterpretation of this report http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/official/noc/oca/… you are right that the 600,000 figure is closer to 45%.

    As for the game, I take your point on multiple boats. I had 2 as well, but in a way that just proves the depth of engagement.

  • Giles Pearman

    “China led the way in new territories, by delivering an audience of 600 million, 45 per cent of the race total. This is the same amount as tuned into the men’s 400m at the recent Olympics, but only represents 7.6% of China’s total TV audience.”

    I'm struggling with the maths.

    China's population was, according to the World Bank, 1,325,639,982 in 2008. 600,000,000 is 45% of the Chinese population. Are we seriously expected to believe half the population of China watched a clip of the Volvo on television? Does half the population of China own a TV? and how does the 7.6% work?

    As you suggest, greater stock could be placed by the web figures, but even these are misleading. I had four boats in the virtual race. I was not alone. After about 70,000 the remaining boats were being moved by the game server in each leg. 70,000 is impressive in itself and the game organisers would be better served for the future by acknowledging this.

    We all use them but cumulative reach figures are grossly misleading and should be singled out for disregard when truly, independently analysing the stats.

  • Giles,

    There are a lot of numbers in yesterday's report that have obviously been released to try and show the race in the best light. I approach such reports with the phrase 'lies, damn lies and statistics' ringing in my brain. The 600,000 number seems to be pretty standard when reporting for China, which makes me think that it is a 'number of households who COULD have seen the coverage.'

    Bear in mind that China has an element of state controlled media, so if the Volvo Ocean Race was broadcast, then it is possible that everyone with a TV saw it.

    The 7.6% was a mistake that came from a misinterpretation of this report http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/official/noc/oca/… you are right that the 600,000 figure is closer to 45%.

    As for the game, I take your point on multiple boats. I had 2 as well, but in a way that just proves the depth of engagement.