Slightly more than half-way through NBC's coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games, more than half of all Americans -- 171 million of them -- have tuned in.
And while TV is still by far the dominant vehicle for watching the Games -- 93 percent of all viewing takes places via national broadcasts -- consumers are also using online channels and mobile devices to access coverage in new and different ways.
Roughly 32 million viewers have watched some programming online, roughly double the number of people that went online two years ago to view Beijing Summer Olympics activity.
Often, the online usage has served as a means to help folks catch up on action they previously missed. The network noted, for example, that over 90 percent of the Internet users that watched Apolo Ohno's silver-medal speed-skating performance had missed it on TV. But in other cases, people have wanted to view a performance again, as did 44 percent of the Internet users who saw figure skater Johnny Weir's short routine.
Through the first 11 days, NBC's mobile platforms (consisting of its Web site and iTunes App) have generated 58.2 million page views, a 68 percent increase over the entire 17-day page-view total for the Beijing Games (34.7 million).
Additionally, users have streamed over 1.4 million videos on their mobile devices, more than four times the 17-day total for Beijing (301,000).
Alan Wurtzel, president of research at NBC, also pointed out in a Tuesday briefing with reporters a surge of interest by the youth demographic. Viewing by adults 18-24 is up 57 percent compared to the Torino Winter Games four years ago, while viewing among older teens (15-17) has risen almost 40 percent.
Wurtzel also noted that the network is seeing a huge amount of "simultaneous, synchronous" cross-platform viewing. Over half of the users turning to NBC.com for Olympic coverage also watched some portion of the Games simultaneously on TV, Wurtzel said. And about 50 percent of mobile users did so, he said.
That's a boon for advertisers, Wurtzel asserted, because multi-screen users are more engaged in the content.
"Big-event programming remains huge and it is probably more successful than it has ever been," he said. "TV is still king ... and we think digital and mobile platforms are really important for the future."
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