How are newspapers preparing for London 2012?

By Jacquelin Magnay and Sarah Sands, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 18 August 2011 08:00AM

Newspaper groups have their plans well in hand to deliver the Olympics for both advertisers and readers in London next year.

Jacquelin Magnay, Sarah Sands

Jacquelin Magnay, Sarah Sands

JACQUELIN MAGNAY - Olympics editor, Telegraph Media Group

- How has your coverage of the Olympics developed since London won the bid?

Telegraph Media Group was at the forefront of encouraging the Olympics bid. Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, is on record as saying the TMG campaign was a crucial factor in the Government's decision to bid. We have the reputation of being the number-one Olympics media group, and that stretches back a long way.

- With less than a year to go, what can readers and advertisers expect from your paper in the build-up to the Olympics?

They can expect much more. We are proud to have signed up Britain's greatest Olympian, Sir Steve Redgrave, who is writing for us alongside the former Olympians James Cracknell, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Denise Lewis, Chris Hoy, Ben Ainslie and Ade Adepitan. We are covering every angle across our print products. This includes a dedicated double-page spread on Fridays, the regular sports pages, a BT-sponsored quarterly supplement (Sports Life) that comes with The Sunday Telegraph, the business pages and the Telegraph Magazine. The coverage will increase around milestones such as the selection of Team GB, final ticket sales and 100 days to go. Then we start again with the Paralympics, which are equally as important to us.

- How much resource are you dedicating to the Games?

The entire sports team is involved in the Games alongside other editorial departments, especially in the build-up. We've invested in developing an Olympics online site and are planning a standalone Olympics section in-paper during the Games.

- How will you use digital and print media for the Games and will it be different to any other previous treatment?

This will be the first truly digital Games. We have invested heavily in IT and journalistic talent for our Olympics website, www.telegraph.co.uk/olympics. This will be updated hourly and can be browsed on smartphones and the iPad. Our app strategy is in place and we have a weekly e-mail newsletter for people who want regular updates.

- Are you finding that advertisers are enthused by the Games?

Absolutely. I've met many agency staff as part of the TMG's Olympic commercial roadshow, and we're well down the track with our Olympics partnerships with Cisco, BT, British Airways, Omega and BP.

Sponsors need to take full advantage of their association. In Sydney in 2000, the non-Olympics sponsors fought for space with display ads around Olympics coverage. There's no advertising on the host broadcaster here, so online and newspapers are very important. We've already sold premium Games packages to non-Olympics brands.

- What do you think will make your publication the best for Olympics coverage for readers?

We are a trusted and authoritative media outlet, famed for our sports coverage. Our London 2012 planning has been detailed and began shortly after Beijing. The Olympic Games is in our DNA. From my experience of Sydney 2000, London 2012 will become a nationwide event when the torch relay begins. We have an important role to play in this with our UK-wide and global readership. Our goal is to be the media outlet of London 2012.

SARAH SANDS - deputy editor and Olympics executive, London Evening Standard

- How has your coverage of the Olympics developed since London won the bid?

We run more coverage than any other paper because, let's face it, this is the London Olympics. We have watched the new city in the East rising before our eyes. To the rest of the world, this is about London and the appeal of our capital city. The change of public mood towards the Olympics, from grumbling scepticism to delight and pride, is most keenly felt in London. The surge in demand for tickets was the tipping point. When I discussed this with a journalist for Wales, he expressed a different view, one of exclusion or bitterness. I guess this reflects a national perspective on London's economic and cultural success.

- With less than a year to go, what can readers and advertisers expect from your paper in the build-up to the Olympics?

We are running daily news spreads on every aspect of the Olympics - the athletes, the arts, the structure and the legacy. We have published an Olympics magazine, with photographs of the diver Tom Daley that attracted much attention. There will be more special editions and regular supplements, such as the year-to-go guide we have already published. So far, advertisers have been thrilled by our dedication to the event and the forums we are offering them - from features, to news and advertorials. Our ad team keeps in constant contact with sponsors and advertisers about their needs and how we can address them. We have weekly Olympic meetings, where anyone involved in the Games - sponsors, organisers or participants - are welcome to come to pitch or chat.

- How much resource are you dedicating to the Games?

We have a senior editorial team in print and online and an advertising team dedicated to the Olympics. I am heading up the coverage, alongside a substantial journalistic team of editors, columnists and news and feature writers.

- How will you use digital and print media for the Games and will it be different to any other previous treatment?

Digital is an exciting area for us and there will be innovative use of video footage and real-time reporting and Tweets. We will also consider creative ways of distributing the paper and printing extra copies and souvenir editions.

- Are you finding that advertisers are enthused by the Games?

I have never seen advertisers so excited by a project. There really is no downside to this. We are all Olympics evangelists now.

- What do you think will make your publication the best for Olympics coverage for readers?

Our coverage will be the best because it will be the fullest, the most relevant and the most up to date. There will be three million extra people in London, and they will want to know how London works, what to see and where to go as well as read sports coverage. We will publish transport advice and recommendations and tips. Games coverage needs the backdrop of London to give resonance and occasion, such as with a royal wedding. We are the paper for London; therefore, we are the paper for the Olympics.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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