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%.)
You can’t transmit the Olympics live, but NASA can transmit a feed from Mars with only a 14 minute delay? NBC, you have been owned.
— Kelkulus (@kelkulus) August 6, 2012
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.