In another confirmation of streaming’s dramatic growth in recent years, opening-day streaming hours for the Winter Olympics in Beijing were up nearly 350% compared to opening day at the last Winter Olympics, held in PyeongChang in 2018, according to a Conviva report.
Streaming viewership of the ceremony itself on Feb. 4 got off to a slow start, but audience rose 5% during hours two and three, before a sharp dropoff in the final, fourth hour.
Combined big screens — including smart TVs (14%), connected TV devices (28%) and gaming consoles (1%) — collectively accounted for 43% of opening ceremony streamed viewing time.
Looking at devices (chart at top of page), Roku heavily dominated big-screen viewing, at 38%. “As Roku generally skews toward North American audiences, it's safe to say that even the 3:30 am PT start time didn't deter many viewers,” Conviva notes.
Amazon Fire TV was in second place, with 23% of big-screen viewing time, followed by Apple TV, Samsung TV and Linux at 10%, 8% and 8%, respectively. Android TV and LG TV each had 4% shares. Chromecast, Vizio TV, Xbox and PlayStation drew the smallest shares.
But reflecting the Olympics' all-day nature, big screens' viewing time share was nearly matched by handheld viewing devices, with a 40% share.
Interestingly, tablets commanded a 28% share of those hand-held devices’ opening ceremony viewing — well above their normally low-single-digit share. (In Q4 2021, tablets’ share of global viewing time was 5%, per Conviva’s State of Streaming report.)
Apple iPads accounted for fully 55% of hand-held device viewing time, and Apple iPhones were the second most-used hand-held devices, with an 18% share. Android tablets took third place, at 15%, followed by Android phones at 13%.
Desktop devices accounted for 17% of total opening ceremony viewing — also much higher than their usual share (8% of global viewing in Q4 2021). PCs commanded 79% of desktops' view time, to Macs’ 21%.
In terms of viewing experience, opening ceremony day, a Friday, was a mixed bag.
On the downside, video start time was up 1% and buffering was up 5% compared with stats for the average Friday over the previous 90 days. On the upside, start failures were 4% lower and picture quality (bitrate) was 0.2% higher.
Plays were 9% higher than the recent Friday average, and concurrency was 6% higher.
Streaming viewership, as well as NBC’s linear TV coverage, undoubtedly benefitted from strong social engagement for official national Olympic committee accounts from more than 120 different countries.
Their engagements rose by a combined 370% in the week leading up to the Olympics, compared to the average for the previous six weeks.
Twitter led all social platforms in volume of content posted, with a 37% share among the committee accounts in the week before the games. But Instagram delivered the most engaged audience, generating 66% of all engagements.