Final TV Tally for 2010 Olympics: 190 Million Viewers in the U.S., 3.5 Billion Viewers Worldwide

Mike Reynolds’ article in Multichannel News reports 190 million US viewers for the full 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. This is 3 million more than watched the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, 6 million more than watched the Torino Olympics in 2006. This year’s Winter Olympics was second only to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer – which had 204 million US viewers, in part because of the attention drawn by the Nancy Kerrigan/Tanya Harding incident.

According the Vancouver Olympics website, 3.5 billion viewers worldwide watched this years’ events. That’s billion, with a b.

This kind of viewership flies in the face of claims by emerging media that TV is growing irrelevant. This kind of massive simultaneous experience is in the middle of the TV’s wheelhouse, and the smaller screens seem to play a more of supporting role in them. TV is best at the while-its-happening experience where you want to see every detail and experience it all as if you were sitting in the crowd, but were somehow omniscient and capable of flying to whatever angle showed the action best. This strength is leveraged to best effect when there is a live broadcast such as the final Sunday night when the US v. Canada hockey final was battled to an overtime Canada victory. People watched on their TVs, and used their computers and smartphones to tweet about it.

Did You Play With Your TV? (a shameless plug for my #1 client, Ensequence)
If you saw the Olympics via Dish Networks or Verizon FiOS, then you could access weblike interactive content on your TV screen alongside your favorite Olympics events on MSNBC, CNBC, or USA – if you clicked and interacted, leave a comment and tell me about it. What did you like about it? What did you hate about it?

Opening Weekend for 2010 Winter Olympics: 117 Million US Viewers

Check out this article by Robert Seidman on TVbytheNumbers.com In it, he cites Nielsen ratings indicating this year’s opening ceremonies beat the Torino Olympics’ opening weekend by 5 million viewers. The average of 28.6 million viewers over the first weekend beat Torino’s first weekend by 25%.

This beats the 106.5 million viewers last weekend for the Super Bowl (see the prior post in this blog), but that was much more concentrated in time. The Super Bowl got a 68 share while the Olympics first weekend got a 26.

The Olympics also did well on the smaller screens. Three Olympics apps are currently in the top 10 on iTunes, and NBCOlympics.com traffic is 250% higher than it was for Torino. It has only been a few days, but there have already been more unique viewers for NBCOlympics.com during the Vancouver Olympics than than there were for the whole Torino Olympics.

Play With Your TV! (a shameless plug for my #1 client, Ensequence)
If you are watching the Olympics via Dish Networks or Verizon FiOS, then you can access weblike interactive content right on your TV screen alongside your favorite Olympics events. Once you tune to MSNBC, CNBC, or USA, a prompt will pop up (nothing on NBC itself, as far as I know). Clicking the “Select” button on your remote starts an interactive experience that includes Top Stories, Medal Counts, Athlete Bios, and more. Real interactive TV in the wild. Check it out!

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