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Olympics Will Be Digital Games, WPP CEO

Monday, 4 Aug 2008 | 12:16 PM ET

Close to two-thirds of viewers of the Olympics will be getting their information on-line, continuing the shift from traditional to new media, according to recent research continued by WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell.

Quadrennial Effect
A boom in the advertising industry because of the election and Olympic advertising, with Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP CEO

“This will be a digital Games,” Sorrell, told CNBC’s Squawk Box. “The Olympics is very interesting example of the clash of the old and the new world, and the traditional and the new media.”

Post-games success though will be determined by how companies “continue to market to younger people and one of the areas that they are going to be pushing very, very heavily is digital.”

Worldwide the industry is benefiting from a quadrennial boost of roughly $3 billion in extra Olympics-rated spending on advertising. (See accompanying video for more information...)

That’s roughly the same amount the industry benefits from a US presidential election.

Sorrell said advertising during the Games is critical for any “self-respecting company,” both for multinationals trying to build China market share and for local brands consolidating their base in the the huge market.

Sorrell says the “real winner from the Olympics advertising” is CCTV, the state-run media company, which he said paid “quite a small amount” for the TV rights in China, where sponsorship was robust.

This compared with the official US broadcaster of the Games, of which he said, “I think frankly NBC will be challenged.”

London, the host of the next summer Olympics, has already signed on its seventh top-tier sponsor, which puts it ahead of normal advertising schedule, he added.

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