Not enough people watch the Paralympics. Paralympians are world class athletes who have not only risen to the top of their respective sports but have overcome physical, social and societal adversity in the process. One of the biggest hurdles to people watching the Paralympics in Canada is actually quite simple – much of it isn’t even broadcasted on TV. At the previous Winter Paralympics in 2014, less than 10 percent of the events were broadcasted on TV. In other words, even if someone wanted to support Canada’s Paralympians, it wasn’t even available on their TV sets.
Canadian Paralympic Committee’s challenge was to find a way to get Paralympians the coverage they deserved, outside of traditional broadcast.
Canadian Paralympic Committee’s idea was to turn passionate fans into a network of Paralympics broadcasters. The company created the Become a Broadcaster tool that allowed fans to sign up in advance to broadcast live streams of Paralympic events directly to their Facebook or Twitter feeds. Livestreams happen all the time but creating an app that allowed fans to sign up to automatically live stream an upcoming event was something that had never been done before. This was a first of its kind initiative.
The app was aimed to people who had already witnessed the greatness of Canada’s Paralympic athletes and would want to share this experience with others. So, the company’s strategy was built around identifying these advocates and getting them to sign up. Canadian Paralympic Committee broke this task into three distinct jobs: find optimal candidates, get them to our Become a Broadcaster site, make participation easy.
A list of criteria for optimal candidates was created including following the Paralympians on social, visiting the Canadian Paralympic website, or seeking out Paralympic content. From there, the company developed a complimentary media plan to target and re-target these candidates at times and in places they would be most receptive to the message. Finally, once on the Become a Broadcaster site, the sign up process would be as easy as possible with a streamlined and intuitive user flow.
It’s hard enough to build a never been done app that lets people sign up to automatically live stream an event to their social accounts. Creating an app that also let people live stream over 120 possible events seemed impossible. Once the functionality was worked out, Canadian Paralympic Committee then needed to manage approximately 300 hours of live footage organized by date, time and event. The logistics of the streams alone at times felt insurmountable.
Canadian Paralympic Committee launched the week preceding the Opening Ceremony when the conversation, enthusiasm, and interest was at its peak. Three online videos were created, each showcasing a different Canadian Paralympian and the incredible odds they needed to overcome to achieve athletic greatness. Static social posts and online banners were targeted to optimal candidates driving them to the site. Paid media was complimented by a robust earned media push urging Paralympic fans to sign up to become broadcasters.
Canadian Paralympic Committee’s objective was to get Canadian Paralympians the coverage they deserved outside of the traditional TV broadcast, and that’s exactly what happened. The event went form minimal coverage to having thousands of individual broadcasters. Using the company’s first of its kind livestreaming app, fans of the Canadian Paralympics signed up to broadcast over 22,000 events, generating an increase of 11,464 percent in online viewership compared to the previous Winter Paralympics. Additionally, the campaign generated over 76 million social impressions, an increase of 2,084 percent compared to the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games, and increased search volume by 18 percent.
By giving people a whole new way to watch the Paralympics, the campaign made the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games the most watched in Canadian history.