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Jim Williams: Ratings not hurt by delay

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Sports,Jim Williams,Olympics

NBC has used the 2012 London Olympics to gather data about how viewers watch the games and where they watch them. NBC research president Alan Wurtzel discussed the viewing figures on a conference call from London. The network's offering of live coverage at NBCOlympics.com has been a game-changer.

So many people nationwide are watching the Olympics online while at work that Los Angeles chief technology officer, Randi Levin, sent an email to thousands of city employees Tuesday morning saying, "We are experiencing such a high volume of traffic due to people watching the Olympics online," and it is affecting city operations.

Nearly 1.3 million viewers streamed the live showdown of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the men's 200-meter individual medley. Meanwhile, the women's gymnastic team championship was seen online by over 1.5 million viewers live. While the gymnastics event ended around 3 p.m., it did not take away from a prime-time audience of 31.6 million people who watched NBC broadcast on tape delay.

Clearly, the 2012 London Olympics are the coming out party for streaming video on laptops, tablets and smartphones -- making watching sports more portable.

Ratings in the District
Washington is clearly an Olympic city. Over the first week of the 2012 London Olympics, viewers in the District have pushed the ratings high enough to keep the region consistently in the top 15 in national viewing markets.

How has viewers watching broadband helped the prime-time broadcast ratings?

Wurtzel » "We know the people who are watching the streaming are more likely to watch in primetime. Some viewers want to see the movie again. In an interesting way, streaming has served as a barker. They watch and tell their friends, 'I can't believe what I just saw.' Basically, it's 1 + 1 = 3."

How many women are drawn to the games?

Wurtzel » "An average of 17.5 million women tune in per night, almost half of the overall audience. That's nearly triple the number of women who watch NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' games."

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!

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