The 2012 Olympics, dubbed by host broadcaster the BBC as the “first truly digital” games, broke records on both sides of the pond for both TV viewing and online engagement.
The BBC said it attracted a daily average of 9.5 million global browsers and 7.1 million UK browsers to its UK BBC Sport site. The site gave substantial coverage to the games, including up to 24 simultaneous live streams of the action for UK viewers. In total, the site logged a record 55 million global and 37 million UK browsers during the games.
In terms of video coverage, 106 million requests were made for BBC Olympic video across all online platforms, more than double for any previous event, according to the broadcaster. Some 12 million video requests came from mobiles during the games.
Internationally, the BBC.com global-facing site also saw homepage traffic double to an average 1.7 million daily unique users, according to the corporation’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide.
The BBC’s domestic TV coverage broke records too with a massive 51.9 million people – 90% of the UK population – tuning in to at least 15 minutes of the games, making it the biggest national TV event since current measuring systems were put in place, claimed the BBC. Most popular was the opening ceremony, which hit an audience peak of 27.3 million viewers.
In the US, even though NBC’s coverage attracted the ire of Twitter users for its editing and time-shifting of coverage, the network said 219 million Americans watched the games, more than the 215 million who tuned in for the Beijing Olympics. NBC claimed this made it the most watched TV event in US history.
In terms of its digital coverage, NBC delivered 159.3 million video streams, more than double the 75.5 million for the Beijing games. Of this, 64.4 million were live video streams.
For the first time NBCOlympics.com live-streamed every competition as well as the closing ceremony. Its NBC Olympics Live Extra and NBC Olympics mobile and tablet apps were downloaded some eight million times.
In Canada, the closing ceremony was the most-watched summer Olympics broadcast on record with an audience of some 7.5 million Canadians tuning in.
In total, 31.9 million Canadians – 95% of the population – tuned in at some point to watch Olympics coverage. The games were shared by a consortium of channels including CTV, RDS and TSN.