Over two million viewers logged on to NBC’s Olympic site on Monday alone, showing that people must not have been too upset with the delay fiasco on opening night. The main reason for the surge in unique visitors was the fact that everyone was logging in from work to sneak a peak while on the job.
While numbers were up for people accessing the website, numbers for mobile viewers were slightly down, according to the Associated Press. 476,062 people logged in via a mobile device, which was down from 494,506 on Sunday. Still, TV is the obvious winner when it comes to the way people are watching the Olympics. Of the estimated 107 million people to experience at least a few minutes of the Olympics on Sunday, 95 percent watched it on TV, NBC said.
A huge reason people were streaming video from work was the excitement surrounding Michael Phelps, and his race for Olympic dominance. Americans downloaded some 1.7 million video streams of Monday’s swimming relay where the American team came from behind to beat France and keep Michael Phelps’ gold medal streak alive. On top of that, an estimated 1.5 million video streams were e-mailed from one person to another. The viral effect that’s rampant on the Internet should have a huge impact on viewership as well.
Being NBC is the only place to find any coverage, the numbers don’t really say much about NBC’s performance. Overall, this year’s coverage has seen more viewers overall than any past Olympics, mainly because NBC decided to show it during prime time instead of on its sister networks CNBC and MSNBC like it has in years past. NBC’s prime-time ratings are running well ahead of the Athens games in 2004. Through five days, the average prime-time viewership for NBC is 31.3 million, the network said. Interest in Athens started slowly but heated up with gymnastics, while the Beijing games have been a draw from the start.
It’s smart for NBC to cover all bases; while people are at work sitting at their desks, they can access the mobile site and live streams- and while at home, they can watch it in HD over the air in prime time. It looks like the mobile and streaming aspects were more or less a test this year to see how popular they can be, but I bet NBC is surprised overall.