Web audience for Olympics hits record high
Not surprisingly, the Beijing Games had the biggest online presence of any Olympics. Yahoo's Olympic site, for example, tripled its traffic compared with Turin in 2006.
As this New York Times piece discusses, NBC and Yahoo were the top companies to capitalize on the trend. However, web coverage was used more as a TV supplement than as a primary source, according to Nielsen ratings.
Regardless, the web is playing a big role in how we watch the Games, meaning digital rights for Olympics may one day be a commodity as profitable as TV.
The ratings for NBC’s television coverage of the Games were record-breaking this month. But the extent to which the Internet served as a supplement to television was unprecedented, and there were two clear winners: NBC’s own Web site and Yahoo’s Olympics section.
Benefiting from the growth in broadband Internet access, NBCOlympics.com served up more than 1.2 billion pages and 72 million video streams through Saturday, more than doubling the combined traffic to its site during the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2006 Games in Turin. The popularity of the site will very likely make digital rights more significant in next year’s bidding for the 2014 and 2016 Games.
As this Olympics demonstrated, the Internet turns the action into a digital version of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” children’s books, where every sport can receive its time in the spotlight. Enjoy cycling? NBC had 90 videos of the competitions by Sunday. Prefer softball? Yahoo had 186 photos. The Internet is “allowing people to create their own broader Olympics experience,” said Jon Gibs, the vice president for media analytics at Nielsen Online.