During day one of NBC’s Olympics coverage, I caught myself being critical on Twitter (@renzistone33) of the scripted primetime narrative fed to Americans hours after Olympic champions were made. But then I saw the ratings! An average of 32.8 million Americans tuned in during primetime, the best since the 1976 games.
According to a Pew Research Study conducted last week of 1,000 Americans and reported by Mashable, 78 percent of Americans have followed the Olympics online, on TV or via social media. TV still dominates for Olympic consumption, though; seventy-three percent say they’ve watched coverage there, while 17 percent say they’ve watched digitally and 12 percent say they’ve followed the games using Twitter, Facebook or other social platforms. That last figure rises to 31 percent among the 18-29 age group.
So, how is it a tie?
The takeaway is this; in past Olympics, the drama unfolded live before our eyes, and our pre-DVR selves made time to watch, even in the middle of the night. Not anymore. The beauty of NBC’s primetime coverage was the storytelling, even when we knew the outcome. I got to know more athletes, more intimately before their heroics. Primetime is for beauty. Real-time drama is for Twitter, Facebook and the capable NBC app.
The major advertisers who get it (P&G Moms, anyone?) marketed across all channels, both free and promoted, which made enjoying this year’s games feel platform agnostic. I remember the spots on NBC, but the campaigns reached me on my phone, iPad and on social media. I was given the freedom to enjoy the Olympics in a way that fit my lifestyle – very cool.