Published February 24, 2014
YouTube's Claude Ruibal
YouTube has finished streaming the Olympics live in 17 countries across Central and South America and offering video-on-demand services in 75 additional countries. The effort was one of the largest YouTube has undertaken for a Winter Games, said Claude Ruibal, YouTube’s global head of sports content. The company offered live streams of the 2012 London Games in 65 countries, but Ruibal said that the video-on-demand services it’s offering in places like Australia, Canada, France and other nations fits with the company’s business model.
“We’re all about being a catch-up destination,” Ruibal said. “All of the countries where we’re catch-up, it’s close to real-time catch-up. There’s probably some delays. There are a few countries that won’t put up video-on-demand until after the Games.”
YouTube and the IOC declined to share details on what countries were streaming the most content. The two partnered last year to provide live digital broadcasts of the Sochi Games in South and Central America. Under terms of the agreement, YouTube and the IOC share in advertising revenue on the broadcasts.
The Winter Games are less popular in those regions than the U.S., but Ruibal said that YouTube offers the IOC a way to distribute the content and reach a younger demographic than traditional broadcast TV.
“If you look at the U.S.A., the average age of a U.S. Olympic TV viewer is 35-plus or higher,” Ruibal said. “Our viewers trend between 12 and 25. If you’re any sport, and Major League Baseball launched with us last year, and one of their motivations was to have a digital offering that spoke to those 12- to 25-year-olds. I’d like to think the IOC thinks it’s important to have great coverage like NBC offers, which is pervasive, digital, broadcast but at the same time, in a lot of markets, have good distribution on social platforms. I think YouTube is one of those social platforms that can really speak to the next generation.”
Ruibal said one of YouTube’s goals after the Sochi Games is to begin adding channels that show other Olympic sports in markets where they aren’t distributed. A sport like handball, for example, has strong distribution on linear TV in Germany where it’s popular, but YouTube would like to become a distributor for that sport in the U.S., where it’s not as popular.
“We become a good long-tail platform for a lot of those sports,” Ruibal said. “World Badminton Federation has been working with us, putting their live world championships on YouTube in markets (where) they don’t have distribution. I think we’re going to keep helping with that. I think the federations have an understanding that they do need to create their own vehicle speaking to consumers.”