NBC, Snapchat Announce Contract to Share 2016 Summer Olympics Highlights

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2016

FILE - In this May 20, 2015 file photo, fireworks explode behind the Olympic rings during their inauguration ceremony at Madureira Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some people in Brazil are trying to scalp tickets for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, even before the tickets are issued. Rio de Janeiro Police Investigator Gilberto Ribeiro said on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 that 10 people have been detected using social media trying to sell ticket vouchers, to be exchanged for tickets, at up to double their face value. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)
Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Snapchat, a photo-sharing mobile application, reached a rare agreement with NBC to showcase highlights from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

Sarah Frier of Bloomberg reported Friday the app will feature a dedicated channel that will spotlight content from NBC's coverage, athletes participating in the Games and fans in Rio. The deal only includes users based in the United States, though.

NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel stated it's the first time the group has allowed its highlights to be shown on a different platform. He added that Snapchat "reaches a very important demographic in the United States," which will help the coverage reach a wider audience, according to the Bloomberg report.

Snapchat director of partnerships Ben Schwerin told the outlet it's an opportunity to give viewers at home a better feel of the Olympic experience: "It's as much about what's going on on the field as what's going on in the Olympic village and Rio and really feeling like you're there—seeing it through the fans' eyes and the athletes' eyes. Billions of people watch the Olympics on TV, but a small fraction actually get to attend them in person."

Broadcasting the Olympics is a big-money game for NBC. Nancy Armour of USA Today reported in 2014 that the company paid an eye-popping $7.75 billion to extend its current agreement an extra 12 years through 2032.

In turn, it doesn't come as any surprise NBC has closely guarded the highlights and other pieces of its content from the Games. The increasingly mobile world and the 24-hour news cycle has changed the way people consume information, though.

Zenkel told Bloomberg that NBC is working to see if it can reach similar agreements with two prominent social media entities, Facebook and Twitter. Snapchat isn't paying for the content, but rather, it is splitting the advertising revenue it generates, according to the report.

It seems like a win-win opportunity for both sides. NBC should be able to reach a sizable number of younger viewers that may not otherwise be tracking the Olympics closely, and Snapchat will be given access that's previously been unavailable during the worldwide spectacle.

The opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5.