Olympics Viewership Ticks Up Cross-Platform

by , Feb 12, 2014, 3:57 PM
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Although traditional TV viewership of the Sochi Olympics over the first couple of days is still under the level of the Vancouver Games in 2010, digital and second-screen activity has seen rapid growth versus previous Olympic events.

Through the first three days of the Olympic broadcast in prime time, NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said in a Wednesday press conference: “We are in shouting distance, really a dead heat from an audience perspective [versus Vancouver]. We are ahead of the Torino Olympics of eight years ago, the last European-based Winter Olympics games.”

Lazarus said NBC prime time is only part of the story -- there have been increases among audiences in late night, daytime, as well as NBCSN, its sports cable network.

Although NBC prime time results had been somewhat behind those of Vancouver over the first days of the Sochi event, NBC has recently picked up the pace. On Tuesday, NBC had 18% improved ratings among 18-49 viewers, averaging a 6.6 rating versus a 5.5 rating for the same night in Vancouver.

Total viewers were also up by double-digit percentage increases for the night to 24 million viewers, largely as a result of Shaun White’s efforts to achieve a third career Olympics gold medal during the half-pipe event.

NBC notes that this is the first Winter Olympics (second overall after London Summer Olympics) that viewers can see every event live through digital platforms.

NBCUniversal president of research & media development Alan Wurtzel says that aggregating all total audience impressions, including broadcast network, cable, digital, mobile, video-on-demand, there has been 160 million “consumer media exposures” -- 11% more than Vancouver. NBC says that consumer media exposure figure comes from their own index, called TAMI, the Total Audience Measurement Index.

NBC had 30 million visitors to its three major NBC Olympics app: NBCOlympics, the Live Extra app and the results app -- 54% higher than over the same time period versus the Vancouver games. Social media has been strong. Wurtzel says 86% of all Twitter users who saw any TV-related tweet, saw at one about the Olympics -- 17 million users.  

Many advertising measures of TV commercials in the Olympics continues to out-rate those TV commercials aired on non-Olympic TV time slots. For example, brand recall has been 57% higher; message recall was 82% better; and ad likeability was 96% improved when TV commercials aired during the Olympics.


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