SBD/April 25, 2014/Media

NBC Says Second-Screen Experience Played Significant Role In Olympic Viewership

NBC studies how Americans follow the action to see how media habits change
NBC on Wednesday said that slightly more than half of the people who watched the Sochi Games on the net "also used a computer, tablet or smartphone to get information about the games while the TV was on," according to David Bauder of the AP. NBC "closely studies how Americans follow the action partly because the Olympics are a huge investment, but also to get a peek at how media habits are changing." NBC's takeaway this year is that the multiscreen experience is "rapidly taking hold and is doing so across all age groups." NBC and its cable networks "televised 541 hours of Sochi action," and the "flood of material only increased the appetite." NBC said that 49% of viewers claimed that they "watched more Olympics action simply because it was more available, and that number shot to nearly two-thirds among viewers aged 18 to 34." Although Olympic fans of all ages "used these devices to follow the games, it was dramatically more so among the young, many of whom followed the Olympics more on their phones than they did on TV." That is a "concern for NBC." Television networks "still have no reliable way of measuring -- and monetizing -- viewing of video on smartphones, and that represents a lot of potentially lost revenue if smartphones become the viewing habit of choice for many in a new generation." Meanwhile, NBCUniversal President of Research & Media Development Alan Wurtzel said that he was "surprised that social media use surrounding the Olympics was not more widespread." An estimated 3 million people said that they "sent at least one Olympic-related message on Twitter during the 17-day event, a relatively small number considering NBC averaged more than 21 million viewers each night in prime time" (AP, 4/23).
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