NBC may be generating controversy as well as high ratings for its TV coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but the network’s digital coverage also is attracting unprecedented traffic across NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Olympics Live Extra and NBC Olympics apps. The network claims that there have been 75 million total video streams, 34 million live streams (and counting — more than the entire Beijing Olympics), 744 million page views, and 31.5 million unique users (web only). NBC also reported more than 6 million downloads of its pair of apps. Cable, satellite and telephone TV customers have verified 6.2 million devices either on NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Olympics Live Extra app — believed to be the most device verifications ever for a single event in TV Everywhere history. There are approximately 100 million multi-channel homes in the U.S.
Olympics streaming has also cut into Netflix’s traffic, as CEO Reed Hastings predicted it would. Web services provider Procera Networks reported that Netflix streaming was down 25% in the U.S. on Sunday. Procera’s VP of global marketing also noted that media companies covering the Olympics on digital platforms, such as Comcast/NBCUniversal and Yahoo are seeing big usage spikes. Cullen said “In the U.S., several networks peaked as high as 34% of overall bandwidth and increased volume by over 100% over the initial two days of events”.
For NBC’s digital coverage, five events so far have surpassed 1 million live streams led by Tuesday’s women’s gymnastics team gold medal final (1,462,834) that saw Team USA win gold. Thursday produced two events over 1 million when Michael Phelps defeated the field, including Ryan Lochte, to win gold in the men’s 200 IM (1,192,812), and Gabby Douglas won the women’s All-Around gold medal (1,096,319). The top five is rounded out by Monday’s men’s gymnastics team gold medal final (1,067,679) and Tuesday’s swimming gold medal final in which Phelps became the most-decorated Olympian of all time (1,010,416). Four of the five (yesterday’s swimming final being the exception) were streamed only to cable, satellite and telco customers who verified their accounts.
“We believed heading into these Games that if we could surround the consumer with as many touch points as possible — such as live streaming every athletic competition online, on mobile and on tablet — then we could increase consumption and engagement, not only on digital, but on television as well,” said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics. “The result has been record-setting viewership, traffic and engagement on all of our platforms. Users are averaging 85 streaming minutes on the web and 58 minutes on the app.
Through August 2 NBC reported that the 75 million total video streams were up 182% over Beijing (26.5 million) through the same period. The Beijing Games in their entirety generated 75.5 million total streams. The 34.0 million live streams were 333% more than Beijing’s 7.9 million streams at the same time. Beijing’s total for the whole event was 14 million streams.