London Olympics Live Streams Triple Beijing, Mobile Drives Young Demos

Underscoring the growth of mobile devices in the last two years, NBC's coverage of the London Summer Olympics has generated three times the number of live streams as the Beijing Games four years ago. In a video the network posted Friday, Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development for NBC Universal, said live streams had tripled to 45 million from 14 million in 2008, when tablets weren't even part of the media landscape and smartphones were not widespread.

The network did not provide figures for on-demand streaming. 

NBC's 5,535 total hours of Olympics programming now runs across TV, the PC, mobile phones and tablets. “Our digital use has broken all records,” said Wurtzel. That shift toward digital and mobile viewing has also helped bring in a younger audience for the London Games. Among all demographic groups, that comprising kids and teens has seen the highest growth, with double-digit gains from the Beijing Games.

Despite the surge in live streams, and the criticism NBC has come under for sticking with time-delayed airing of key events, the network's prime-time Olympics coverage this summer has beaten Beijing 12 out of 13 nights so far, with an average TV audience of 32.6 million viewers. Given those results, it's hard to imagine NBC changing its programming strategy significantly for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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