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Summary:

Viewers may not watch this summer’s London 2012 Olympic Games online as much as some broadcasters hope, according to research.

Family Tv Phones Laptop
photo: Corbis / A.Chederros

This summer’s London 2012 Olympic Games is being billed, much like those before it, as “the first truly digital Olympics“.

But online consumption of the competition won’t be widespread, research for online sports broadcaster Perform Group’s Global Sports Media Consumption Report 2012 suggests:

  • Watching via PC – just nine percent of sports fans in the UK and 16 percent in the U.S. plan to view online.
  • Watching via mobile – even lower: just three percent in the UK and seven percent in the U.S..
  • Watching via TV – that compares with 64 percent of Brits and 71 percent of Americans who said they would watch the Olympics via regular TV.

Local broadcaster BBC Sport has planned a “four-screen” extravaganza streaming all 2,500 hours of the games across connected TV, web, mobile and tablet, while other broadcasters around the world are also upping their online coverage this time around. The International Olympic Committee will stream everything live through YouTube.

Most events are scheduled during European and American office hours, when fans are expected to watch at their desks.

  • But sports fans in Germany, Spain, France and Italy are more likely to watch online than Brits and Americans, according to the Perform’s research.
  • Results for emerging markets of China, Russia and Brazil, curiously, came even higher – as many as 70 percent of Chinese apparently say they intend to watch the games online…

But this is likely skewed and incorrect. While Perform’s research in nine out of 10 countries employed online Sportscope surveys from a “representative sample” of 18+ adults, in China research focused only on tech-savvy consumers in 10 major cities.

In fact, as far as the whole research goes – we will believe actual online viewing habits when we see them.

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  1. Kevin McFall Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Several considerations not outlined in this report’s forecast is the type of viewing that will be performed. Highlight clips of the Olympics will definitely be consumed online and I would expect the highlight reel viewing consumption to be driven by those who follow the Olympics via social networks, particularly in the U.S. While the other question remains, where is the innovation around online viewing? There should be experimentation in electronic program guidance (EPG) services that leverage digital platforms to notify interested viewers when an event is airing or to allow them to follow an event and be notified is a record setting performance is pending or if a medal ceremony is scheduled to air. There is tons of meta data about events and athletes that surrounds the games that is not being exercised to compel increased online viewership, linear views, or non-linear views. We are in era of ‘big data’ and ‘big peer influence’, but for the licensees of the Olympic video rights to not fully leverage these capabilities is potentially simply a lack of focus in all of the right places.

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