Despite The Social Media Outrage, The Majority Of Americans Think The Olympic Coverage Has Been ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’

It seems like the underlying social media chatter of the 2012 Olympics has revolved around NBC’s tape-delayed coverage. With the broadcasting giant saving the highest rated programming for primetime, many folks are downright outraged that they can’t watch live on their televisions. So just what effect has this had on the ratings and sentiment around the games? Well, not much actually. In a recent poll by Pew Research Center, 76% of Olympic watchers labeled the Olympic coverage either ‘good’ (47%) or ‘excellent’ (29%.)

Overall the 2012 Olympics have been the most watched summer games since the Atlanta games in 1996, and the highest non-U.S. based Olympics since Montreal in 1975. The report shows that 78% of all Americans are watching the games by traditional or streaming methods. For all of the social media outcry, only 17% of those polled had streamed the Olympics live. Of the live-streamers 79% also tuned into the prime-time coverage.

Given this year’s strong Facebook and Twitter integration, a rather disappointing 12% of respondents followed the games via social networking sites. The numbers nearly tripled for the 30 years and under audience (31%.)

The sentiment between those watching the broadcast and those streaming the coverage was nearly equal. A whopping 77% of television watchers gave the coverage ‘good/excellent’ and the coverage received 70% ‘good/excellent’ rating from those streaming or following on social media.

As for that whole social outrage against NBC? NBC won the bid rights from the IOC, beating out ESPN who would have brodcast live (but had a lower bid.) Technically, the IOC can set the rules for brodcasting and could have required NBC to air more live coverage over the air. Instead they defended the coverage, joining the majority who are more than content with NBC’s 2012 coverage.

For more information, see the full Pew Research Center study.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Social Media Marketing | Statistics | Statistics: Social Media | Top News


About The Author: is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • MichelleRobbins

    I think more than anything, this shows the disconnect between “the average person” and people on Twitter. We get tunnel vision and forget that all that noise being generated by the Twitterverse (which is still a tiny minority compared to the population at large) only seems loud because we’re in that fishbowl. It still represents a fishbowl however, and not the sea.

  • 8womendream

    Just because we are watching it doesn’t mean we like NBC’s coverage.  We watched it for Michael Phelps and the U.S. women’s soccer & volleyball.  Saying NBC is doing a great job because people are watching it is like saying the only girl in a town is popular.

  • MichelleRobbins

    @twitter-17570941:disqus that may be true as a ratings argument, but as for the survey, it went specifically to whether or not people do like/have been happy with the coverage – not whether or not they are watching. And people overwhelming said ‘yes’ as to the actual coverage. From the article - ”A whopping 77% of television watchers gave the coverage ‘good/excellent’ and the coverage received 70% ‘good/excellent’ rating from those streaming or following on social media.”The link to the complete survey data is included at the bottom of the post.

  • Joel R

    NBC locked online streaming to cable subscribers only.  NBC only showed about 5% of all Olympic matches. 

    There were so many events I wanted to watch that I just couldn’t. 

  • Mike Williams

    The American Media has trained America to feast on soundbites and commercials. It has nothing to do with journalism anymore, or even presenting a true image of an event. It is all about maximizing the earning potential of any situation and milking it for every possible penny.

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