BBC Sport breaks online records with first truly digital Olympics
Our aspiration was that just as the Coronation did for TV in 1953, the Olympics would do for digital in 2012.Phil Fearnley, BBC Future Media
This has mirrored the BBC’s record Olympic TV reach, across both linear TV channels and Red Button, with over 51.9m viewers in the UK - the largest TV audience reach for a major event for at least 10 years.
- Record breaking browsers to BBC Sport online – with 55m (global) and 37m (UK) browsers to the BBC Sport site in total across the Games, and an average of 9.5m (global) and 7.1m (UK) browsers per day, easily breaking all previous records (previous record for a single day was 7.4m global and 5.7m UK)
- Video drives viewing across all online platforms – with 106m requests for BBC Olympic video content across all online platforms, more than double seen for any previous events
- First truly mobile games – with 9.2m UK mobile browsers to the BBC’s Olympics coverage, making up 34% of all daily browsers to BBC’s Olympic coverage, and 12m requests from mobiles for video throughout the Games
- Opening up the breadth of the Games via BBC Red Button – with 23.7m viewers to the 24 SD, HD and Freeview streams throughout the Games, and every single stream seeing at least 100,000 viewers
- Over a 24 hour period on the busiest Olympic days, total traffic to bbc.co.uk exceeded that for the entire BBC coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010 (matches) – on the busiest day, the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won Gold with over 700 Gb/s
BBC Sport online delivered comprehensive, quality coverage including a page for every athlete, country, sport and venue; 2,500 hours of coverage; and up to 24 HD live streams, ensuring audiences never missed a moment of the action. And, by making every sport available across PC, mobile, tablet and connected TV, viewers could keep up to date with the action, whenever and wherever they were.
Putting live and catch-up video at the heart of the BBC’s online coverage, BBC Sport launched its new live interactive video player. This enabled viewers to watch and switch between live HD video coverage, navigate to key moments within a session, and discover more with live data, statistics and information, while watching the action.
And video proved hugely popular, with 106m requests for video throughout the Games (62m for live streams, 8m for on-demand streams and 35m for clips), smashing the previous highs of 32m for the Beijing Games and 38m for the 2010 World Cup. New features such as chapter markings received an average 1.5 million clicks per day, with people using them to navigate instantly to key moments.
The top five most-requested events from Olympic live video streams on BBC Sport online included: Andy Murray and Serena Williams winning the Tennis Singles Finals, Bradley Wiggins winning the Men’s Cycling Time-Trial and Athletics Heats including Jessica Ennis in the Heptathlon. And the Opening Ceremony has continued to be one of the most popular programmes on BBC Online, with 3.9 million requests to view on either BBC iPlayer or the BBC Sport website to date.
Popular video clips included German diver, Steven Feck’s nightmare ‘zero point’ dive with over 830,000 requests, Cuban pole vaulter, Lazaro Borges’ pole snapping mid-vault with 420,000 requests, and Usain Bolt storming to victory in the 100m final with over 429,000 requests.
The London 2012 Olympics were the first truly mobile Games. Audiences accessed BBC’s content in ground-breaking numbers on mobile devices, continuing the trend to watch video on-the-go with:
- 1.9m download of BBC’s Olympics mobile app for iOS and Android smartphones
- 40% of browsers accessing BBC’s Olympics coverage were from a mobile at weekends (30% during the week) – averaging 34% per day
- 9.2m UK mobile browsers throughout the Games, with 2.8m UK mobile browsers on the peak day
- On TV, the BBC’s Red-Button service opened up the breadth of Olympic content to audiences with the simple press of a button.
- 23.7m people viewed the 24 live SD, HD & Freeview streams throughout the Games for at least 15 minutes
- Audiences viewed specialist sports such as Judo and Weightlifting in considerable numbers
- Every single Red Button stream received 100,000 viewers at some point during the Games
Phil Fearnley, General Manager - News and Knowledge, BBC Future Media, said: “Our aspiration was that just as the Coronation did for TV in 1953, the Olympics would do for digital in 2012. The demand and astonishing feedback we’ve seen from audiences accessing our Olympics content online, whenever they want, on the devices they choose, has exceeded our expectations and helped fulfil this aspiration. We promised audiences would never miss a moment of the Games. We delivered on our promise and will build on this to leave a lasting digital legacy for audiences in years to come.”
Ben Gallop, Head of Interactive for BBC Sport, said: “Our home Olympics was a special time for the whole UK and it’s been really pleasing for BBC Sport to have given our audience the chance to enjoy all that amazing action. There have been some great stories of people following Team GB’s rowing success at the shopping centre or watching Usain Bolt when they’re on the beach. We like to think it was the ultimate Olympic choice: on-demand and on-the-move.”
Traffic to bbc.co.uk rocketed throughout the Games, with the BBC delivering 2.8 petabytes on the busiest day. Streaming quality was the highest the BBC has ever delivered online, averaging over 1 megabit per second. The peak traffic moment was on 1 August 2012, at over 700 gigabits per second – the day Bradley Wiggins stormed to victory.
Please note: Stats are up to and including Saturday 11 August 2012
More information on the trends for BBC’s Olympic content across all online platforms, including daily peaks in video consumption around specific events can be found here.
The top ten most-requested events from Olympic live video streams on BBC Sport online:
Live stream day requests
1. Tennis Singles Finals - Serena Williams and Andy Murray golds, Sun 05 Aug - 820,000
2. Bradley Wiggins winning gold in the Men’s Cycling Road Time-Trial, Wed 01 Aug - 729,000
3. Tennis Singles Semi-Finals - Serena Williams and Andy Murray, Fri 03 Aug - 610,000
4. Mark Cavendish competing in the Men's Cycling Road Race, Sat 28 Jul - 531,000
5. Athletics Heats including Jessica Ennis in the Heptathlon, Fri 03 Aug - 468,000
6. Rowing gold for Glover and Stanning in Women’s Quadruple Sculls, Wed 01 Aug - 411,000
7. Team GB winning gold in the Men's Team Pursuit and Victoria Pendleton winning the Women's Keirin Cycling Final, Fri 03 Aug - 407,000
8. Cycling golds for Chris Hoy (Keirin) and Laura Trott (Onmium), Tue 07 Aug - 348,000
9. Athletics Heats including Usain Bolt winning the Men's 100m Final, Sun 05 Aug - 344,000
10. The Brownlee Brothers winning gold and bronze in the Men's Triathlon, Tue 07 Aug - 336,000
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