Olympic Channel General Manager Mark Parkman looks back at a successful year
Recruited to lead the International Olympic Committee’s start-up multimedia platform in August 2015, Mark Parkman developed a strategic plan of implementation which, 11 months later, culminated in the launch of the Olympic Channel following the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Now, on the Channel’s first anniversary, the General Manager of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel looks back at an eventful and successful first year.
What are your thoughts on the Olympic Channel as you reflect on the past year?
One of the primary goals of the Olympic Channel is to connect younger generations and new audiences with the Olympic Movement, and after our first year we are pleased that this is in very good shape. Of course, there is still plenty of room for growth, but the Olympic Channel is an evolutionary platform; and we are diligently working on new features, such as interactivity, in our efforts to continue to develop the medium for a global audience.
What are some of your success stories?
The launch itself was an incredible accomplishment. And if you consider where we came from, we are making great strides in a short amount of time toward reaching our goals. In just one year, we have created and launched a global digital media platform which is available in 11 languages and currently features more than 6,000 pieces of content representing all Olympic sports disciplines and 206 countries.
And in addition to developing partnerships with 54 federations and sports organisations, we have premiered more than 30 original series, and launched localised partnerships with NBCUniversal and the USOC in the US, and with Eurosport in Europe.
What has the response been so far?
We are thrilled with how our federation partners have embraced us as an additional distribution platform for their events. We have more than 500 live events scheduled for 2017, and in what has been a positive development, some International Federations have come back to us to give us more based on the successes we’ve shared.
One of the primary goals of the Olympic Channel is to connect younger generations and new audiences with the Olympic Movement, and after our first year we are pleased that this is in very good shape.Mark Parkman Olympic Channel General Manager
We are also very pleased with some of the early metrics which demonstrate that Olympic Channel content is in fact attracting a youthful audience. Statistics show that more than 77 per cent of those engaging with Olympic Channel content on our social media platforms are below the age of 35.
In addition, our teams continue to produce great content that is both engaging and entertaining. Several of our original series have been recognised within the film industry, including the upcoming and award-winning documentary “The Margaret Lambert Story”, which has been accepted to 13 film festivals and has qualified for eligibility at the Academy Awards.
With PyeongChang 2018 just around the corner, what’s next for the Olympic Channel?
Already and over the next six months, we have started to tell the narrative of PyeongChang 2018 so that more people will become familiar with the athletes and their stories. From the torch lighting in Olympia, Greece, to the Opening Ceremony on 9 February, our programming will continue to feature athletes and Olympic hopefuls across our original programming, live sporting events, news and social content, providing an essential viewing guide in the lead-up to the Winter Games.
Finally, what is your “must-see video” from the Olympic Channel?
It’s hard to pick just one! “Camps to Champs” is a great example of the true power of sport and the impact that Olympians can have on society.
I’m also a fan of “Cute Babies Competing in the Olympic Games”, which is both light-hearted and funny. The reception has been amazing, plus it makes me laugh every time I watch it!