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Internet Users Tune In to Olympics Coverage Via Mobile

Respondents believe mobile provides better content than watching the games on TV

August 10, 2016 | Advertising & Marketing | Mobile

Traditional televisions and desktop PCs are no longer the primary ways internet users watch the Olympic Games. In fact, many are streaming the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio on their mobile devices, mainly because there’s better content available and it’s convenient.

Reasons that US Internet Users Plan to Access Summer-Olympics-Related Content via Mobile Device, July 2016 (% of respondents)

Mobile platform provider Phunware found that only 14% of US internet users cited a preference for pre-taped, primetime coverage. Many respondents were not pleased with the lack of live event coverage during past games, and more than two-thirds said the ability to watch more events live would make the experience more enjoyable.

Convenience is a big reason why internet users plan to access Olympics-related content via their mobile devices. More than half of respondents said it’s because it allows them to watch the events live when they happen, and another 50% said it lets them watch events and view content on demand. And since most of the events happen throughout the day while many are at work, their mobile device is a lot more accessible than a TV.

In addition to convenience, many respondents believe they’re getting better content on their mobile device. Roughly a quarter of internet users agreed, saying mobile provides better content than watching it on TV. And 10% said it provides better content than web viewing on their desktop or laptop.

Overall, many people are watching the Rio games digitally. eMarketer estimates at least 150% growth in total video streams worldwide for the 2016 Rio Olympics compared to the London 2012 games, which would work out to at least 2.85 billion total video streams worldwide.

Though users are also tuning in to traditional TV for this year’s summer events, viewership is low compared to past years. According to Ad Age, with an average delivery of 26.5 million viewers, the opening ceremony in Rio was the least-watched opening ceremony since Athens in 2004, which attracted 25.9 million viewers.

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