With such massive television audience reaching a large consumer market, many companies from around the world have paid significant amounts of money to be associated with the Beijing Olympic games. Corporate sponsorship of the Games have hit record levels with co’s aggressively seeking visibility through exclusive rights before China’s 1.3-billion people and the world at large. More than 50 companies have sponsored the Beijing Games, from Coca-Cola Co. (KO), to Visa (V), Jonson&Jonson (JNJ), General Electric (GE), MCDonalds (MCD), UPS, Kodak etc. This is the largest number of co’s ever involved in a single Olympics.
Major television networks are also paying the big bucks to gains access to China’s 300 million-plus urban consumers. NBC in the United States according to NYT – has paid $894 million for broadcast rights and is expected to bring in more than $1 billion in ad revenue. However, CCTV with its large audience has won a huge portion of the Games advertising gold. The nation’s TV station has paid around $17 million to obtain exclusive broadcast rights. As a result of this exclusivity – the CCTV could rake in as much as $400 million in Olympic advertising revenue.
Advertisers and media experts seems to have been right in their projections before the Olympic games started. They expected television audiences, especially in China, to be staggering, with numbers at levels never experienced before. Nearly half a billion people watched the opening ceremony.
“NYT notes that NBC is celebrating average prime-time audiences of 29 million viewers in the United States. In China, the women’s table tennis gold medal match alone – drew 330 million viewers last Sunday. That is more viewers than the entire population of the United States. The men’s basketball game between the U.S and China attracted 170 million. In the first 10 days of the Games, more than 100 million people in China watched streaming video CCTV’s website”.
The potential of the Chinese market, as the marketing experts agree – goes beyond the Olympic Games where the competition for consumer attention and product placement remains fierce. China by 2010 could be the second largest market for advertising, prompting global corporations to persistently seek a foothold in this potentially huge market.