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SBD Global/August 2, 2012/Media

Phelps' Historic Swim Attracts TV Audience Of 10 Million

BBC drew a big audience for the historic swim by Michael Phelps, right.
More than 10 million viewers in the U.K. watched U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps become the "most-decorated Olympian in history" on Tuesday evening, according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. Phelps won a Gold Medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay, marking his 19th Olympic Medal and drawing a five-minute peak of 9.7 million viewers on BBC1 at 9pm London time with another 470,000 on BBC Olympics 1. BBC1's evening Olympics 2012 program had an average of 7 million viewers, a 29.7% share, between 7pm and 10pm. Earlier, BBC1's Olympics shows averaged 2.3 million viewers (24.9%) between 2pm and 4pm, and 4.8 million viewers (35.3%) between 4pm and 6pm. Phelps' historic medal win just "narrowly missed out on being the most-watched sporting action" of the London Games, which remains Rebecca Adlington's Bronze Medal in the women's 400m freestyle final, watched by 10.7 million viewers on Sunday night. BBC3's evening Olympics program, which also included volleyball highlights, averaged 1.6 million viewers, a 7.2% share, between 7pm and 11pm (GUARDIAN, 8/1).

GERMANY: QUOTENMETER.de's Manuel Weis reported that German public broadcaster ARD "showed the Olympic equestrian tournament" throughout most of the day during its London Games coverage on Tuesday. The first time it showed the horse riding competition was at 12:05pm CEST, and it returned later when Germany could win two Gold Medals. An average of 2.7 million viewers or 28.8% watched ARD's equestrian coverage. In the marketing relevant age group of 14-49, the channel still attained a market share of 21.4%. In addition, judo attracted 2.79 million viewers or 29.9%. The Olympic tennis tournament did not receive a lot of air time on Tuesday, but ARD's five-minute-long summary of the day's action at 7:40pm was still watched by 4.28 million. ARD's prime-time coverage of the Olympic swimming events gained Tuesday's top ratings with 6.81 million viewers overall and 2.56 million in the target group. Those numbers translate into a market share of 23.1% and 22.3%, respectively. Overall, ARD's coverage of day four of the Olympic Games also received high ratings. Its day-long broadcast attained a market share of 21.2% overall, and 17.8% in the 14-49 age group (QUOTENMETER.de, 8/1).

FRANCE: NOUVELOBS.com reported that broadcaster France Televisions "registered new audience records" on Tuesday with its coverage of the London Games. Channel France 2 had "its best audience on the day since July '05" with a 26.7% market share. At 8:55pm Paris time, during the 200m butterfly final, 9.1 million people were tuned in. In the beginning of the afternoon, France 3 had 2.4 million people watching its coverage and a 19.6% share (NOUVELOBS.com, 8/1).

SPAIN: FEB.es reported that La1's broadcast of Spain vs. Australia in men's basketball had 1.161 million people watching and a "spectacular" share of 19.5%. That number was very close to the 20.8% market share the broadcaster received Saturday when the Spanish men's basketball team played their opener against China (FEB.es, 8/1).

AUSTRALIA: In Sydney, Michael Bodey wrote Australia's Olympic athletes "may be inconsistent," but Nine network's broadcast of the Games is "banking consistent results." Nine recorded another 40% network share. Nine beat out other networks with a 36.7% channel share, ahead of Seven's 17.9% and Ten's 13.1%. The early evening session of the London Games "again topped the night" as 1.79 million watched the swimming qualifying and the equestrian event. OzTAM figures reported the evening session averaged 1.539 million viewers (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/1). In Sydney, Clare Kermond wrote Nine has had to "defend its Olympics coverage in the face of a social media storm of criticism, with the network's 3D channel coming in for special criticism." A comment on Nine's Facebook page asked for the network to show sports other than "swimming, repeats of swimming, interviews of swimming, analysis of swimming, previews of swimming," posted by Matthew Taylor and signed by "the rest of Australia," received more than 105,000 "likes." Nine's 3D coverage of the Games has attracted "particular criticism with comments on Facebook and Twitter attacking the repeated screening of a package of highlights from the Opening Ceremony" and how few sports are being shown. A Nine spokesperson defended its coverage and said that Nine was "permitted to broadcast only the 3D package supplied to it by the host broadcaster, and could not choose sports covered or edit the content" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/2). In Sydney Julie Power wrote "Sydneysiders snuggle up in front of the TV or computer" to watch the Games, opting out of live venues offering viewings. At Customs House at Circular Quay, the city's public viewing site, "crowds have been thin." Only one person stopped long enough early on Tuesday morning to watch Australian swimmers Stephanie Rice and Alicia Coutts compete. The "lack of public enthusiasm" is reflected in a survey by McCrindle Research, where 90% thought Australians were not at their best during these Olympics. When asked why Australia "may be performing worse than in the past," about 34% said that it was "just the cycle of things," while 35% said that other countries were "more committed" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/2).

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