Tiger Loses, But Social Media and Y.E. Yang Win

On Sunday, Y.E. Yang caught golf’s greatest, Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship.  It was the first time that Tiger had relinquished a lead in a major tournament after leading for 54 holes.  It was also one of the few times that a traditional broadcast entity got things right with it’s online video coverage.

tiger-loses-pga

I’m one of the growing number of people that don’t pay $100-$200 per month for a traditional television/cable feed.  Rather I’m reliant on everything that is served to me online or my phone.  This works great most of the time using primarily Hulu and iTunes, except when it comes to major sporting events.  I’ve sited numerous examples in the past where I’ve been left out in the cold.  The Olympics only showed live events online we didn’t care about (massive coverage on female cycling, limited coverage on Phelps/Bolt).  Or when trying to watch my Detroit Red Wings online, often it was an iso-cam on one player – so you only witnessed a goal if it happened to be the one guy they were following. Also, it’s often a non-high definition feed that doesn’t even go full screen on your computer.

PGA Combines Social Media, Video & Mobile

Why do I always feel like I have to go to an online black market to watch the sporting events I desire?  The technology is there, but broadcasters have just been hesitant since they don’t understand what all this new technology means for their traditional ways of measuring advertising.  But, eyeballs are eyeballs.  Whether it’s viewwed on a  computer, phone or TV with bunny ears is immaterial.

Hats off to the PGA for getting things right this weekend!  If you went to http://www.pga.com you were able to view the

Online Viewers of the PGA Championships Could Stay Connected Via Social Media

Online Viewers of the PGA Championships Could Stay Connected Via Social Media

tournament live.  And it wasn’t like other golf tournaments where you could only view certain holes.  They were following Tiger and Yang shot for shot as they came down the stretch.  Even better, users had the ability to chat live on pga.com via their favorite social media tool:  Twitter, Facebook or MySpace.  I was actually surprised at the amount of posts from MySpace, maybe they aren’t dead just yet.  It appeared this live chat was being ported thru Gigya’s collaborative API (application program interface) tool.  There was also an iPhone app that let you watch the live video also.

Advertisers Win

The PGA realizes that just as many households no longer have landlines in their homes (mobile phone only) many households are also simply viewing their televison/media via their phones or laptops.  The PGA is smart in tackling this now as it will only become more and more prevalent in the future because a) this is how people want to view things b) enhanced tracking & demographic targeting capabilities.  Other winners were the PGA sponsors.   Banners, commercials and sponsor tags for American Airlines, IBM and Mercedes-Benz were prevalent throughout the online broadcast.  And guess what? I couldn’t TiVO them!  I also had a special place in my heart for these brands because they were helping enable this FREE content (remember when TV used to be free?).  I didn’t view the sponsors as a nuisance, rather I viewed them as a benevolent enabler.

Other Items of Interest for PGA Online Viewers

  • #PGA and #Tiger were top trending topics on Twitter
  • Facebook was easier to get on via the PGA Gigya’s setup than Twitter (kudos to Facebook Connect)
  • Often online broadcasts go to “dead air” during commercial breaks which isn’t good for anyone.  This time it worked more like a real broadcast with appropriate commercialization (yes, I said it!)
  • PGA made you login to view the online stream, which is fine.  They did have double opt-out to receive information from the PGA or their partners which isn’t best practice.  Also, they wanted to be able to update my status on Facebook whenever they wanted — uh, no thanks.  Imagine someone is at work on a Thursday and the PGA updates: “Jim is watching the U.S Open right now.” That would be far from optimal for Jim’s professional career.
  • One of the American Airlines advertisments was cool as it had an image of a Long Boat in Railray Island (Thailand) which I recognized from my honeymoon…do they already have that target?  Not yet, but it will be soon.

So, when are you canceling your cable/satellite television?

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19 responses to “Tiger Loses, But Social Media and Y.E. Yang Win

  1. I have observed this interesting media coverage with admiration in my blog ().

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  3. This is only the beginning. I think we’re going to see a world of changes in the upcoming weeks.

    • Ben:

      I hope you are right! Thanks for the feedback – if you decide to read the book there is a bunch on this topic (online TV for lack of a better term) and I’d love to know your feedback.

  4. I’m a 49 y/o female – and canceled my cable tv subscript (except basic) several months ago … watch tv almost exclusively on laptop via the individual network site or hulu. Haven’t had a land line in over 5 years … cell only.

    • Denise:

      We must be long lost siblings! I can’t wait to watch this season of The Office on Hulu. Until then, The Daily Show. I write a lot about this transition in the book so if you happen to read it I’d love to know the thoughts of someone that lives ahead of their times.

  5. I think this is great. I would love to watch all my sport online (without streaming glitches). I currently find it frustrating trying to find the right feeds and streaming glitches spoil it. Can anyone give me advice what I’m doing wrong. I have broadband??

  6. I’d cancel my cable TV when other sports events I’m much more interested in are available online in a quality that somewhat approaches what I can get on TV. As you’ve pointed out being a sports fan is the #1 roadblock to me doing so. If I didn’t care about sports I’d have cancelled long ago.

    There are 2 major issues with watching sports on the computer right now.

    1. While almost every event is available via either legal or illegal streaming feeds and/or downloading (which is essentially like watching it on demand & as good as live to me provided no one has spoiled the result) it’s still a huge pain the behind. The feeds are of lower quality, often unstable (even for legal streams) and often hard to find (especially if illegal). Basically, it takes too much work & there are no guarantees that the feed won’t cut out at the most exciting part sending you crawling up the wall in rage.

    2. I can’t seem to concentrate on just watching a streaming feed when I do it on the computer. I always end up doing something else aside from watching the sports event and it results in a completely different experience. Not only I miss a lot, but I also never get into it as much as when my attention is 100% focused on the sports event. I find it that I enjoy a game of hockey or soccer (my two favorite sports) much more when all of my attention is focused on it. I even try not to have my laptop anywhere near me now when watching a sporting event on TV. Otherwise I end up getting distracted and multi-tasking.

    The solution I have found when it comes to watching sports online is to hook up my Macbook to my flat screen TV via an HDMI to DVI connection. That was I can still watch it just as if it were on TV, on the couch, without any distractions.

    • Marat:

      I feel your pain! I do the same thing with my MAC and Flat Screen…can’t wait till it can be wireless because it’s a pain having to plug and unplug the cords all the time! My wife hates the cords being out and I don’t blame her. My fingers are crossed that the Big 10 Network has an online subscription this year. Actually what we will see is more pure online plays in the future…think Ohio State or Texas channel that you can only get via an IP feed.

  7. Freddie Benjamin

    I am trying to find some numbers on how many people logged in to view the online livecast as well as anything on the online advertising – number of clicks etc. Any help?

    • Freddie:

      Thanks for reading – I was curious about the same data. If I came across anything I will let you know. Please feel free to do the same!

  8. Hi Mikey – interesting comment about advertising – but you have to remember that even when there were only a few channels and no Tivo, people claimed that advertising wouldn’t work as they got up to make a cup of tea (I am in the UK) read the paper etc. Advertising catches the eye even when you are trying to avoid it, and those that were linked to the PGA will benefit next time viewers are in the market for those products, as the association will kick in then.

  9. I haven’t had a television since 1992. The advent of free TV shows on line has been great for me, because there are things of interest on television. It’s the medium I hate (Marshall McLuhan had it right).

  10. I’m not heavy into golf but I think this is awesome. Allowing users to chat and interact in their own forum, with their existing credentials in another (eg, Twitter).

    Despite the greediness showing up (double opt in, updating your fb status as they please) etc, PGA at least is showing that they understand times are changing and they need to change as well. They might have executed a little different than some of us would have but it is promising to see that they are trying to keep up. Love it!

    ps. btw, your “notify me of follow up comments” check box doesn’t tab properly. 🙂 just fyi, when I tab after this comment I go to submit instead of the notification checkbox.

    • Oscar – thanks for the comment. Let me check on the notify me deal to see if it’s peculiar to this Blog or a WordPress deal. Sorry for any hassle.

  11. It’s great to see that events and broadcasts are opening up to partnerships and online streaming; a real plus for anyone on the move.

    I’m curious about the “advertisers winning” notion. I agree that companies gather great analytics that will help understand clients, but I question the effectiveness of banners that are probably costing lots for advertiser. How successful are these banner placements? Do viewers really look at them? Or do they ignore them? My guess is that anyone watching online streams are very web savvy and have trained his/her eye to ignore the ads. Also the fact that viewers are there to watch golf, and not buy airplane tickets, I think this would lead to ineffective publicity.

  12. Interesting post. I didn’t know I could have watched on my notebook. I watched on my tv – great coverage; exciting down to the final hole finish – and enjoyed the time away from my computer. If I had logged in on my notebook I would have been multi-tasking and that’s not always a good thing. We need time to just stretch out on a couch, turn on the tv and be a layabout.

    • Graham:

      Spot on! I was multi-tasking too much and missed some of the action – but that was my fault…I will take your advice next time – couch sounds great!

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