The VPM Blog

Recap: The London (Social) Olympics

Posted by admin on Aug 15, 2012 11:52:19 AM

We told you so. London 2012 is being called the "Digital Olympics", smashing viewership records across all media platforms. Here are some fantastic stats, courtesy of the BBC and NBC (via C21 Media):

  • BBC Daily Average, Browsers: 9.5 million
  • BBC Total Global, Browsers: 92 million
  • BBC, Television: 51.9 million (90% population) tuning into at least 15 minutes of coverage
  • NBC, Television: 219 million people watched the games (215 million for Beijing)
  • NBC, Online Video: 159.3 million (75.5 million for Beijing)

Amongst technophiles and social media evangelists, NBC's record-setting numbers for prime-time television coverage was a head-scratcher. Sometimes, as a collective, we can be a touch insulated in our tablet-friendly bubble / cloud / Twittersphere.

But, really these numbers shouldn't be surprising... the Summer Olympics are a once-every-four-years global event. By nature, the Games are an outlier.

My take: the stats don't, necessarily, support definitive "state of the media" claims but they do, very clearly, support the migration to mobile-friendly systems.

When it comes to television, several factors were at play for London 2012: there was an awkward time delay and NBC's coverage was condensed. In effect, NBC's viewers were funneled into one time slot.

From a producer's stand-point, pre-production also allowed NBC to cherry pick stories and build mythologies around feature athletes. In recent years, coverage has migrated away from athletic play-by-play to a full-on narrative, only accented by performance. Gabby Douglas, the "Flying Squirrel" who Sacrificed Her Home & Family for A Dream... let's watch her now on uneven bars. Michael Phelps, the "Most Decorated Athlete of All Time" with Questionable Work Ethic... here he is now, getting set to race "It's My Time" Ryan Lochte. Oscar Pistorius, the "Double Amputee who Inspired Us All"... will he have the chance to run in the finals of the Men's 4 x 100M Relay?!

(Sidenote + definitely NSFW nor for those with sensitivity to language: Comedian Katt Williams flagged Pistorius as an amazing story way back in 2008. The bit now has over 10.4 million views alone).

Combine the above ingredients with unfettered access to athletes' lives via social media, 24/7 word-of-mouth buzz, an increasingly connected generation and the global population and... boom! There are your big numbers.

Live television may not be dead yet, but mobile is certainly on the rise and social media feeds it all.

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Meredith Singer is COO & Co-Creative of Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world.

Topics: Brand Marketing, Social Media

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