The NY Times reports that old media won out over new media when it came to World Cup coverage. The Times notes that television and newspapers benefited from the World Cup, but seems to overlook (or at least downplay) that Internet services did well too. While the Times article stated that live video feeds were available in "several countries" and that mobile coverage was popular in places like Australia, they neglected to quote other relevant online stats. For example Hitwise reported that the official Yahoo-Fifa website (which I reviewed a month ago) ranked No. 68 overall for the week ending June 24, 2006.
The Times does have a point that new media played "a mostly supplementary role". Certainly in terms of video coverage, because if you wanted to watch the matches live then you had to tune into the major TV networks. But even if Internet coverage of the World Cup was supplementary to TV, one question which should be asked is: why then didn't Old Media take more advantage of the online tools at their disposal? For example, Jeffrey McManus (no relation) notes that television networks could easily have made use of desktop widgets:
"It's interesting because the various widget platforms (not just Yahoo's) are totally open. TV networks could be creating these experiences for their audiences without asking anybody permission or paying the platform providers like Yahoo a cent. Why aren't they?"
Perhaps by the time the next World Cup comes around, we'll not only be able to use widgets on our desktops - but on the TV. How much better would the TV coverage have been if we (the audience) had real-time stats and chat options available on the TV set, rather than our computers? I expect that kind of Web-based technology to be available on TVs in 4 years time.
In any case I think we all agree (apart from the NY Times) that all kinds of media - old and new - benefited from the World Cup. But rather than butting their heads against new media, old media should be finding ways to leverage the two-way nature of the Web and utilize the online tools and services at their disposal.