The Olympics and Paralympics are a month of captivating human drama.

The stories are so plentiful and ever-changing that it puts your speed and news editing skills to the test day after day.

Seven West Media is juggling multiple media streams as the Australian broadcast rights holder of the Olympics.
Seven West Media is juggling multiple media streams as the Australian broadcast rights holder of the Olympics.

It’s a challenge every media outlet is confronting at the moment.

Here is a quick insight into how our company, Seven West Media, is handling it in Australia.

We are fortunate enough to be the International Olympic Committee’s Australian broadcast rights holder. As you know, broadcast rights aren’t cheap, and the media world changes exponentially every four years. The challenge for all businesses owning sports rights is knowing how you make the most of them on every screen — from television to mobile — and the big platforms.

The strategy looks something like this: The revenue-raising centrepiece is three free-to-air national TV channels broadcasting Olympics action around the clock. These channels dominate lounge rooms so big advertising partners naturally want a piece of the action.

The rights also allow you to stream dozens of individual feeds from the various sports, so SWM has reskinned the IOC’s vanilla app into both a free and premium version. The strategy for the free version is to run pre-rolls before streams and edited clips. The premium strategy is charging a AUS$20 fee for 36 individual sport channels.

Most of the Australian operation is being run out of a huge complex in Sydney that includes three virtual sets for the free-to-air channels. It’s an electrician’s nightmare of cabling.

Olympic coverage includes short- and long-form written and video content.
Olympic coverage includes short- and long-form written and video content.

It also houses another key plank of the strategy: A video editing team is monitoring the live feeds and clipping them up into individual short-form videos. These clips are cut for length and distributed everywhere from Twitter to Snapchat and Facebook.

There is a big focus on maximising Web site video streams with pre-roll ads so loads of clips are being pushed to Brightcove accounts for the thewest.com.au and Yahoo!7 Web sites.

But there are also a couple of other elements to the short-form Web site strategy. We are using Snappy TV in Perth and Sydney to clip videos straight off the free-to-air broadcast feed. And, because we are storytellers, our sharp-eyed video editing team is also producing original videos focusing on key moments and ideas.

Plus, our small team of journalists in Rio have doing plenty of Facebook Live videos, which readers are loving.

So, in essence, the strategy is very simple: Use the abundance of great Olympics content at our fingertips to find the largest audience possible. Then slice and dice the distribution channels to create as many advertising channels as possible.