August 16, 2012

NBC Olympics: record audiences and online surge

219.4 million Americans watched the London Olympics on the networks of NBCUniversal, setting the record as the most-watched event in U.S. television history, surpassing the 2008 Beijing Olympics (215 million), according to Nielsen data. This was the first Olympics when every minute of every event was available live, online if not always on the television set. NBC averaged 31.1 million television viewers over 17 nights in prime time, the most-watched non-U.S. Summer Olympics since the 1976 Montreal games. NBC Olympics Digital set multiple records with video streams, engagement time and page views, with nearly 2 billion page views and 159 million video streams.

NBCUniversal offered an unprecedented 5,535 hours of coverage across NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com, two speciality channels and the first-ever 3D platform. This was 2,000 hours more coverage than for the Beijing Olympics four years ago. For the first time ever, NBC Olympics.com live streamed every competition as well as the closing ceremony. In all, the site streamed more than 3,500 total programming hours, including the awarding of all 302 medals.

NBC Olympics also provided two new apps for the 2012 London Olympics. The NBC Olympics Live Extra app live streamed every athletic competition and provided multiple concurrent streams for select sports, such as gymnastics (each apparatus), track and field (each event), and tennis (up to five courts). The NBC Olympics app served as the home for everything else Olympics, including short-form highlights, event schedules, TV and online listings, results, athlete profiles, columns and the new Primetime Companion feature.

The Olympics was a success for multi-screen viewing. Cable, satellite and telco customers verified 9.9 million devices either on NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Olympics Live Extra app. This is believed to be the most device verifications ever for a single event in TV Everywhere history. There are approximately 100 million cable, satellite and telco homes in the U.S.

Total video streams topped 159 million, more than double the entire Beijing Olympics (75.5 million). 20.4 million hours of total video was streamed, more than double the entire Beijing Olympics (9.9 million). There were over 64 million live video streams, 353% more than Beijing (14 million streams), which equates to 13.6 million hours of live video streamed, which is 340% more than Beijing (4 million hours). Users averaged 111 live streaming minutes per viewer on the web and 94 live streaming minutes per viewer on the app.

NBC reports that 63% of live streams were viewed on the web with 37% in the Live Extra App. Seventy per cent of total video streams were viewed on the web with 30% in the two Apps.