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Volume 10 No. 24
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Bolt's 100m Dash Turns Into TV Ratings Gold Worldwide

Usain Bolt's 100m final win was watched by more than 20 million BBC viewers on Sunday night -- the London Games' "biggest U.K. audience to date outside of the Opening Ceremony," according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. A total of 19.4 million viewers watched Bolt win his second 100m Gold on BBC1 on Sunday, a 64.5% share of the audience. Another 628,000 viewers watched on BBC Olympics 3, while a further 66,000 watched in 3D on the BBC HD channel. Overall, BBC1's Olympics 2012 program, which included the 100m final, averaged 17.3 million viewers and a 61.5% audience share between 9:45pm and 10:15pm London time, a 61.5% share of the audience. Earlier, Andy Murray's Gold Medal men's tennis win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon was watched by a peak of 10.7 million viewers at 4:30pm, with 10.1 million viewers on BBC1 and another 643,000 on BBC Olympics 1. The early evening program between 6:45pm and 9:45pm, which included Christine Ohuruogu's Silver in the women's 400m, averaged 13.6 million viewers, a 52% share (GUARDIAN, 8/6).

GOING ONLINE: The PA's Robert Dex reported that figures released by the BBC also show "record numbers watching the coverage online." BBC's website recorded a peak audience of 8 million -- above the previous record of 5.7 million. More than 1.5 million people have downloaded the BBC's Olympics app for their phone and around 17 million people have used one of the 24 red button streams. The website has seen 29 million requests for its interactive video streams with video of cyclist Bradley Wiggins' Gold Medal win being "the single most popular," with 729,000 requests (PA, 8/6). In London, Josh Halliday reported that the BBC Sport website reported "a record 24.5 million unique browsers in the U.K." in the first week of the Games. A further 10.5 million people visited the website from outside the U.K., to give a total of 35 million weekly browsers. BBC Sport online has seen an 80% "uplift in daily traffic" (GUARDIAN, 8/6).

ITV1 SINKS: Also in London, Plunkett reported that Bolt's Gold Medal 100m final run helped "condemn ITV1 to its worst-ever single day ratings performance," beaten for the first time in the all-day share by BBC3. ITV1's share of the audience sank to just 4.8% between 6am Sunday and 2am Monday. It increased slightly to 5% "when timeshifted channel ITV1+1 is taken into account." ITV1 is also understood "to have suffered its worst week on record, both in terms of all-day and peaktime viewing" (GUARDIAN, 8/6).

PRIME UNDER FIRE: In Auckland, Harry Pearl wrote that Kiwi fans watching the "tense women's hockey match" between New Zealand and Germany were "left hanging after Prime switched its coverage from the live game to the canoe sprint in its final minute." Many "disgruntled viewers took to Twitter to vent their frustration" at not being able to see New Zealand qualify through to the medal round for the first time in history (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 8/6).

GERMANY BOLTS TO TV: The VOLKSSTIMME reported that Bolt's win in Sunday's 100m dash "gained the day's top rating." According to marketing research company Media Control, 7.6 million viewers, or 30.2%, watched ZDF's broadcast of the day's track and field highlights between 10:20-11pm CEST. Only slightly fewer tuned in to watch the mixed doubles tennis Bronze Medal match at 9:10pm. A total of 6.5 million viewers or 21.2% watched the German duo lose to U.S. in fencing, which aired at 8pm (VOLKSSTIMME, 8/6).

FRANCE TUNES IN: LE FIGARO reported that an average of 5.4 million people, or a 35% share, were tuned in to France 2's broadcast of the Games on Sunday night. At 11pm Paris time, 10 million people were in front of their TV to see Bolt's victory in the 100m final (, 8/6).

SPAIN SWIMS: reported that La 1's Sunday coverage of Olympics synchronized swimming "achieved an extraordinary" 17.5% along with an average audience of 1.84 million. The interest in Spain "logically" came from the presence of Ona Carbonell and Andrea Fuentes in the event. La 1's sister channel, Teledeporte, brought in 3.4 million people and a 23.6% share with its coverage of the men's 100m final. The channel also had "the golden minute" at 10:52pm when 3.6 million people were tuned in for a 25.1% share (, 8/6).

CANADIAN PRIDE: Canadian audiences for the London Games continue to grow, with viewership up 89% over the '08 Games during days 4-6 compared to a 74% lead for days 1-3. An average audience 1.9 million viewers tuned in throughout Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium’s 22 hours of daily coverage from July 31-Aug. 2, with an average audience of 3 million viewers in primetime alone. Daytime has received 2 million viewers tuning in on average between 6am-6pm on Consortium channels (Bell Media). In Toronto, Bruce Dowbiggin wrote the Consortium's coverage has been "mixed" so far. The decision “to go live has been a boon, but it has a downside,” as there is “nothing more difficult in television than riding the tiger of live TV.” Many of the consortium’s on-air talents -- particularly the analysts -- “are attractive former Canadian athletic heroes parachuted into their chairs instead of the veteran voices that typified CBC coverage.” Dowbiggin: “Growing your own timber is fine, but don’t ask your pitchers to start their careers in the World Series.” The inexperienced analysts “have filled the air with overheated prose.” But all things considered, the consortium “gets a 6.5 out of 10 for its start” (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/6).