MediaFile

Data shows thousands circumvented NBC Olympics coverage

At least one company benefited from Olympics fans in the United States who tried to circumvent NBC’s television coverage during the London Games. AnchorFree, the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup released data to Reuters on Monday showing a major bump in users who installed a product that gives U.S. users an anonymous IP address in the United Kingdom. Presumably the people who signed up for the product, called ExpatShield, used it to watch BBC’s online streams of the Olympics.

According to the data, the number of installs of the free software surged 1,153 percent in the United States during the games. The company, which recorded an average of 220 installs a day before the Olympics, saw the number of installs increase to 2,753 installs during the 17-day event.

Its daily number of users also quadrupled to 8,121 compared to 2,040 average users before the Olympics. The peak day was on July 31 when 10,105 users logged in to catch the  U.S. women take gold in the gymnastics team final while in swimming, South Africa’s Chad le Clos edged out Michael Phelps in the 200 meter butterfly.

While these aren’t massive numbers, it’s just one company that people turned to during the Olympics to find a workaround to NBC. Others said they used TunnelBear and StreamVia while some tech savvy people like Walnut Creek, California-resident Jason Legate devised their own methods.

AnchorFree’s best known product is Hotspot shield, which lets users in certain countries visit blocked U.S. websites by offering an anonymous American IP address. The company has caught the attention of Goldman Sachs, which led the company’s last funding round of $52 million.

Murdoch backs progressive U.S. immigration policy

News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch on Thursday said the United States should work harder at making itself a more attractive country for people to emigrate to, as an important route back to enabling economic growth.
Murdoch, 80, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, became a naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1985.

“We have in our DNA the most entrepreneurship,” said Murdoch speaking at a conference on immigration sponsored by the Partnership for New York City and Partnership for a New American Economy. “It’s no accident that people over all over Europe want to come here…and from China. This is a great country.”

Other speakers like New York City Mayor Bloomberg, former Toronto mayor David Miller and New York Times writer Thomas Friedman all supported reforming the immigration system.

from Shop Talk:

Olympic Gold for Coke, McDonald’s and Visa

rings1When is Olympic sponsorship money well spent? A Performance Research poll shows it may depend on how the funds are used.

Coke, McDonald's and Visa dominate consumer awareness when it comes to the Olympics, according to a study by the Rhode Island-based research firm that evaluates the sponsorship industry.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans polled confirmed the Olympic sponsorship of Coke and McDonald's, followed closely by 66 percent for Visa, Performance Research said. Those three companies also were listed as having consumers' favorite Olympic TV commercials and doing the most to support the Games.

NBC, News Corp practice Olympic hedging

Big media executives are developing a new Olympic sport — hedging. Two of the best contenders are NBC-Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Attendees at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York City asked both executives on Tuesday if they were interested in bidding for rights to broadcast the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Both answered the question in ways that sound different until you realize that they actually sound… the same.

Murdoch said “We haven’t thought about it” and concluded with “I wouldn’t think so.” Zucker said, “We’ll have to see what happens. We’re not going to make any decision that doesn’t make business sense. …. The Olympics are an important part of the company and something we’d would like to be involved with if it makes business sense.”

Are advertisers giving Olympics the cold shoulder?

Are the Winter Olympics getting frozen out? Not exactly, but drumming up advertising and sponsorship dollars isn’t as easy as it used to be. Here’s how Andrew Benett, the global chief strategy officer of Euro RSCG, described what’s happening:  “You have a confluence of many factors happening here. One, winter versus summer. Two, a hangover from Beijing. And three, the economic times.”

Of those, the economic situation is the one that’s drawing away most of the money. Bank of America, General Motors, and Home Depot are just some of the big names that have dropped their sponsorship of the U.S. team.

But experts we spoke to also pointed to some broader problems facing the Winter Games. For one thing, behind the scenes, they say the IOC and USOC haven’t always been accommodating with the advertising community. For another, younger audiences (and thus advertisers) just aren’t that into some of the classic winter sports. It’s not that they don’t want to see athletes competing on the mountain — they would just prefer to watch them competing in newer, thrill sports like those of the X Games.

NBC Universal’s Zucker: Olympics still a winner

News broke this week that Anheuser-Busch has told NBC that the brewer will spend only about half as much on advertising packages during the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and 2012 Summer Games in London, compared to previous years.

Over at 30 Rock, they aren’t too worried about it. NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker, who won wide praise for the company’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics, feels that there are plenty of advertisers ready to step in and replace any company that wants or needs to cut their spending on the sporting event.

When we asked Zucker about the Anheuser-Busch situation, he said, “The interest in the Olympics — because it’s such a unique event — has been extraordinary. Where certain companies decide it doesn’t work for them anymore, it provides an opportunity for their competitors to come in. That works out just fine for us.”