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05 Oct 2009
IOC News , Olympic Congress 2009

Digital Revolution: "Let the children play"

One of the world’s leading media executives today urged delegates at the XIII Olympic Congress to embrace digital technology and use it to reach out to the world’s youth.

Young people are key audience 

Martin Sorrell, CEO of the WPP group, elaborated on the huge impact of mobile technology and called on the Olympic Movement to be “dynamic and entertaining” in promoting the Olympic values. Sorrell delivered the keynote address on the theme, “The Digital Revolution” on the final day of the three-day Congress.

“The key audience with whom these digital opportunities resonate most is, of course, young people. They are a valuable and massive audience – and at their peak their generation will exceed the number of baby boomers in the US. Globally they impact over USD 600 billion in consumer spending. They are the most socially active generation, and digital culture is their culture. Their desire to create content and use it as social currency amongst their networks and communities has profound implications for how media owners and sports rights owners behave amongst them,” he said.

Freshen up formats 

Sorrell said the Movement should stay true to its values whilst finding new ways to share them with young people. He offered a simple prescription: “Let the children play”.

“Give content to young people in formats they want – short and fast, customisable and easy to share,” he said. “Extend the franchise through music and cultural partnerships to leverage fresh support and momentum, and learn from franchises such as The X Factor and Pop Idol.”
He also recommended better utilising the new generation of sports heroes, such as Usain Bolt, to increase the appeal of the Olympic Games for the young generation.

Get them to tune in 

“In summary, the digital revolution has already changed the media landscape, and the way in which sport is consumed will never be the same again,” Sorrell concluded. “The most important legacy from the Olympic Movement is to deliver the next generation of sports fans and athletes.”

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