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.
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
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.
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?