NBCU’s Mobile Olympics: Mobile Is Ready For Primetime

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What a difference a year-and-a-half can make. That was the view presented by NBC (NYSE: GE) Universal’s research head Alan Wurtzel regarding the contrast in the number of mobile users accessing the network’s Winter Olympics coverage. “We knew going into Vancouver that mobile would be ready for primetime,” he said during a conference call with reporters on the research the company’s gleaned half-way through the current games. “Not only is the growth huge, but it’s mainstreaming.”

Among the main stats:

— 11 million mobile visits in Vancouver in 11 days versus 8 million for the complete Beijing games.
— 55 million mobile pageviews for NBCU’s Olympics coverage this time out versus 35 million total pageviews for Beijing.
— 1.4 million mobile video streams versus 300,000 for Beijing.
— 7 out of 10 users who are now employing mobile to watch the Olympics didn’t use their phones to view the Beijing games.

“The difference is that just 18 months ago, the quality of the experience of watching mobile video was so poor. But now, one out of four handsets is a smartphone and the experience is greatly enhanced.” In addition, Wurtzel credited the popularity of mobile apps for the increased mobile viewing. There have been 1.1 million mobile app users to date for the Olympics. Of course, NBC anticipated that mobile would perform better, and in return invested more heavily in the platform for the Vancouver games, by adding two iPhone apps, a smartphone version of the NBC Olympics mobile site, and new social media features.

Some other app-related stats:

— 60 percent of those who downloaded the Olympics app have rated it “very good.”
— Mobile users are also more likely to use the app than the website. So far, two-thirds accessed the mobile Olympics coverage via the app.
— 67 percent of mobile users accessed the site and the app from their home, not on the go, as would have been assumed, Wurtzel said.

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