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The Closing Ceremony of the London Games proved to be an even bigger hit than the Opening Ceremony "with more than 23 million viewers" tuning in, according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. The Olympics "bowed out with a total average audience of 23.2 million viewers" between 9pm BST on Sunday and the early hours of Monday morning. This includes 22.9 million viewers, "a huge" 80.7% share, who were watching on BBC, with another 202,000 glued to one of the BBC's dedicated Olympics channels, BBC Olympics 1, and 83,000 watching in 3D on BBC HD. It was a sign of the appeal of the Olympics' final act that some 18.5 million viewers were still tuned in at midnight. Sunday's Closing Ceremony "delivered to BBC1 a huge" 51.9% share of the all-day audience between 6am on Sunday and 2am on Monday, more than double its typical share of viewing. ITV1's biggest audience of the day was its live coverage of Man City's 3-2 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield. The traditional opener of the football season "had an average of 1.73 million viewers, a 14.2% share, between 1pm and 3:50pm, with a five-minute peak of 3.07 million" (GUARDIAN, 8/13).
RATINGS SPLASH: In London, Plunkett also reported that nearly 16 million viewers watched Great Britain diver Tom Daley clinch an Olympics Bronze Medal, on Saturday including 6.6 million on BBC3, "the channel's biggest-ever audience." Daley's third-place finish in the men's 10m platform diving final had a five-minute peak of 7.7 million viewers on BBC1, 6.6 million on BBC3 and another 1.6 million viewers on BBC Olympics 1 at 9:50pm on Saturday, a total of 15.9 million. BBC3's evening Olympics program "averaged 3.6 million viewers, a 16.1% share" between 8pm and 11pm (GUARDIAN, 8/13). The PA's Anthony Barnes reported that "the figures crown a series of huge audience figures achieved during the Games." The biggest "blockbuster among the sporting events" during the London Games fortnight was Usain Bolt's triumph in the 100m final a week ago with 20 million tuning in, while 17.1 million watched Mo Farah take the 10,000m Gold. BBC1 Controller Danny Cohen said, "It's been a phenomenal Games and Team GB's amazing achievements have helped draw huge audiences to BBC1 and put the channel right at the heart of the action" (PA, 8/13).
A POPULAR CHOICE: Also in London, Plunkett reported the BBC's coverage "was watched by 90% of the U.K. population," delivering what Cohen described as the "largest TV audiences since the pre-digital age." A total of 51.9 million people watched at least 15 minutes of the London games on BBC TV. The Games reached "90% of the population," which topped the 81% who watched at least 15 minutes of the 2002 World Cup, the 69% who watched the Queen's diamond jubilee earlier this year, and the 61% who watched last year's royal wedding (GUARDIAN, 8/13).
GERMANY: The VOLKSSTIMME reported that "ARD's broadcast of the London Games Closing Ceremony attained a 33.7% market share." The coverage, which started at 10pm CEST was watched by 5.76 million viewers (VOLKSSTIMME, 8/13).
FRANCE: FASHIONS-ADDICT.com reported that TF1's broadcast of the Closing Ceremony "was largely ahead" in terms of audience. A total of 5.1 million viewers tuned in for a 40% share. The peak audience even reached 6.5 million at one point (FASHIONS-ADDICT.com, 8/13).
SPAIN: The EFE reported that the men's basketball final between Spain and the U.S. was the "most-watched event in the history of the sport" in Spain with an average of 5.4 million viewers and a 44.9% share. It was also the most-watched London Olympics sporting event. The "golden minute" occurred at 6:01pm local time when 6.5 million people were tuned in for a 52.7% share (EFE, 8/13).
BBC Olympics host Clare Balding "will be the face of Channel 4 horse racing after the broadcaster announced details of its coverage of the Grand National, Derby and Cheltenham Festival" for '13, according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. IMG Sports Media "has won the contract to produce Channel 4's coverage," which will begin in January. The deal with Channel 4 is non-exclusive so Balding, who "has been linked with a presenting role for a new sporting chat show on the BBC," will be able to work for the corporation. IMG Sports Media, part of IMG Worldwide, "will produce around 90 days a year of live terrestrial horse racing coverage." Channel 4's racing coverage will be headed up behind the scenes by BBC Sport Senior Program Editor Carl Hicks, "a key figure in the corporation's Olympics coverage," who will join IMG Sports Media as an exec producer (GUARDIAN, 8/13).
The "nature of Olympic broadcasting rights is set to change fundamentally after the success of Foxtel's multi-channel and tablet app and consumer frustration at parts of Nine's delayed London 2012 coverage," according to Davidson & Canning of THE AUSTRALIAN. The London Games provided strong ratings for Nine, but Foxtel's strategy of offering eight TV channels and streaming events to mobile devices "will put pressure on the next free-to-air broadcaster to offer a better multi-channel experience." A commentator close to Fox Sports said that free-to-air networks will be forced to "re-examine how they used their digital multi-channels," as consumers will "expect multi-channel coverage as a minimum for the next Winter and Summer Games." Australian media execs believe the IOC asking price "will be too high and will seek to emulate a deal similar to that achieved by CBC in Canada, which regained rights to broadcast the Games, apparently at a reduced cost compared with the previous deal for the London Games won by a private consortium." Foxtel's sales house Multi Channel Network has already "reaped the benefits of the pay-TV network's multi-channel broadcast," which had led to advertisers reappraising the medium. MCN CEO Anthony Fitzgerald said the ratings far surpassed expectations and the response from advertisers and sponsors was "glowing" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/13).
Broadcaster France Televisions "beat audience records thanks to the Games" but in terms of advertising revenue, the results are disappointing, according to Marion-Jeanne Lefebvre of LES ECHOS. Even though large sporting events are never paid back immediately, France Televisions Sports Dir Daniel Bilalian said that he hoped to reimburse "45% of the €65M ($80.3M) invested for the broadcasting and production rights of the Games." Advertising revenue from the Games, "which is negotiated at a 60% higher clip than normally," brought in €6M ($7.4M). The '04 Athens Games brought in €16M. France Televisions Marketing Dir Bruno Belliat said: "The objective was ambitious, knowing that the 2004 Athens Games, comparable since they were aired on the same time frames, only brought in about €20M in gross advertising but it is true that, considering the time period of the year, we could have hoped for more significant results." The reasons for such low returns include the financial crisis that has "slowed down investing" but also the end of advertising after 8pm. Belliat added: "The most watched events, like the 100m and 200m track and field events, all take place in 'prime time,' so after 8pm" (LES ECHOS, 8/13). SPORTUNE.fr's Marcelo Martins noted that in '09, "advertising after 8pm on public channels was banned." This was a big blow to France Televisions and kept it from "shining in terms of advertising revenue" during the London Games (SPORTUNE.fr, 8/13).
German pay-TV channel Sky Deutschland "generated revenue of more than" €20M ($24.7M) during the second quarter of '12, according to Fabian Riedner of QUOTENMETER.de. In comparison, over the same period in '11 Sky Deutschland reported a €78.4M ($96.7M) "loss before taxes, interest and write-offs." On June 30, 2011, Sky "had about 2.7 million subscribers." This year, investors "expect that the pay-TV channel increased its number of subscriptions to 3.4 million." Soon, Sky will "most likely return to numbers in the red because the current profit directly correlates with the Bundesliga's summer break" (QUOTENMETER.de, 8/12).
The SID reported that free-to-air sports channel Eurosport "acquired the broadcasting rights for int'l games of Germany's junior national football teams." Eurosport and the German Football Federation "agreed to a three-year deal that provides the sports channel with the exclusive rights to the German Under-21, Under-20 and Under-19 national teams" (SID, 8/13).
LISTEN UP: German football radio station 90elf extended its contract with the German Football Federation, and will continue to broadcast the German Cup for another four years. 90efl acquired the right to audio broadcast all games of the German Cup via Internet and digital radio live and free of charge until '16 (90elf).