Olympics 2012: A Look Inside the Numbers on How We Are Viewing the Games

James WilliamsAnalyst IIIAugust 3, 2012

Online and on TV the Olympics have been a big hit
Online and on TV the Olympics have been a big hitClive Rose/Getty Images

There is one thing that is very clear about the 2012 London Olympics; even through we may know who has won an event, we will still tune in to NBC's primetime coverage to watch it. In talking yesterday via conference call with NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel from his office in the International Broadcast Center in London, he shared some very interesting data on how viewers are choosing to watch the London Games.  

Clearly, tape delaying the marquee events has not hurt the primetime ratings. Wurtzel offered some data commissioned by NBC to back up why watching events on NBCOlympics.com was helping the network retain and build viewership. 

*All the data used in this story was provided to Bleacher Report from NBC

According to a U Samp survey of 1000 viewers 18-54:

  • 43% said they heard the results of Olympic events and of those who had heard the results: 67% who knew the results said they were more likely to watch vs. 54% who did not hear the results.


 If you take the numbers above and apply them to information gathered by NBC and Google to measure the same individual’s media use across platforms:

Viewers who streamed live events on Saturday were nearly twice as likely to actually watch the primetime broadcast, and they spent about 50% more time watching than those who didn’t stream.

So when you look at the information provided streaming the events live to laptops, tablets and smartphones it actually helped push viewers to watch NBC primetime. 

Wurtzel on why viewers watching streaming video is helping the primetime broadcast ratings:” "We know the people who are watching the streaming are more likely to watch in primetime. Some viewers want to see the movie again. In an interesting way, streaming has served as a barker. They watch and tell their friends, 'I can't believe what I just saw.' Basically, it's 1 + 1 = 3."   



The London Olympic Games are forever changing the way consumers view sporting events, according to a proprietary survey conducted by Insight Express and provided to Bleacher Report by NBC.

 Among tablet users, 76% are live streaming on a tablet for the first time and 86% of smartphone users are using the Olympics as their first time streaming sports on their phones. We are even observing more established platforms like the web is seeing 36% of website users live stream online for the very first time. 68% of visitors during the London Games did not visit the site during the 2010 Vancouver Games

So what does this mean for sports in general?

Well, it means that sports will become more portable.

It also means that networks who have been working on multi-screen platforms will now be able to better promote their products.The professional sports leagues like Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL and MLS who offer complete streaming video services may now find that consumers are more likely to try their products.

London 2012 has been a great chance for the new tablet and smart phone owners to embrace the new technology.

*All quotes obtained for this story came first hand during a conference call on Thursday with NBC.