Over three-quarters of US viewers following Olympics over various media

Joseph O’Halloran | 07-08-2012

The Olympics is setting new standards for multiscreen viewing in the US according to study data from the Pew Research Center which has found large majorities of following coverage of the London Games.

Pew calculated that 78% of people have watched or followed coverage either on TV, online or on social networks, with, and accounting for overlaps, 73% watching on TV, 17% watching online or digitally and 12% over social media.

Following Olympic coverage online and on social networks appears to be a supplement rather than a replacement for television viewing. Among those following the Olympics online or on social networks, most (79%) say they are also watching Olympic coverage on television.

The research also found that just less than a quarter (23%) of people watched events live and 68% watched in early evenings after events had occurred. However such a question needs the caveat that host broadcaster NBC has deliberately delayed coverage of live action in order to transmit the events In a more primetime slot, not even showing Usain Bolt winning the men’s 100m final games as it happened. NBC also delayed coverage of Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed opening ceremony.

That said, the International Olympic committee has supported NBC’s decision to attract more marketing dollars and in any case according to Pew viewers have on the whole rated TV coverage highly. Pew found that 29% regarded NBC’s offerings as excellent, 47% good, 13% only fair and just 5% poor.

For digital media users, 70% of those watching online and following on social networks rated coverage as excellent or good. In addition, 85% of those watching events live regarded coverage as excellent/good), compared with 75% of those watching in the evening after the events had occurred.