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First Online Olympics Sets New Media Precedent
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First Online Olympics Sets New Media Precedent

Olympic athletes broke 132 Olympics records and set 43 new world records during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Olympics fans who logged on to the Internet to follow the events around the clock set a new online precedent during the Games,  Nielsen Online reported Wednesday.

Olympics Web Portals

In the U.S., NBC, an official broadcast partner for the event, drew an average of 18 million (week one) to 18.9 million unique visitors (week two) to its Olympics website during the Games.

Yahoo’s Olympics section drove more traffic than NBC’s site, but visitors to NBCOlympics.com spent twice as much time on the site and looked at three times more content than visitors to Yahoo’s Olympics site, according to Nielsen.

Website Unique Audience:

Aug. 11-17

(in 000’s)

Pages Per Person:

Aug. 11-17

Minutes Per Person:

Aug. 11-17

Unique Audience:

Aug. 18-24

(in 000’s)

Pages Per Person:

Aug. 18-24

Minutes Per Person:

Aug. 18-24

Yahoo Olympics 18,057 7.3 8:41 18,974 8.4 9:01
NBC Olympics 17,925 25.5 17:34 15,938 24.1 15:24
AOL Olympics 6,225 3.2 3:16 4,169 3.0 3:01
Source: The Nielsen Company, Custom Analysis (August 11 – August 24, 2008)

In China, approximately 85% of all Internet users who went online during the Games viewed Olympics content, according to ChinaRank, a website ranking platform hosted by the Internet Society of China and a Nielsen Online partner.

On average, 62 million unique browsers viewed Olympics content each day, and during the course of the Games, Chinese Internet users viewed more than 11.4 billion pages of content across 200 Olympics-related sites tracked by ChinaRank.

Sina Olympics was easily the most popular Olympics Web portal among Chinese Internet users, drawing an average of 30.9 million unique browsers each day.  Tencent Olympics (17.9 million average daily browsers) and Sohu Olympics (12.5 million average daily browers) were, respectively, the second- and third-ranked Chinese Olympics Web portals.

Online Video

NBC’s Olympics video site drew more than 1.2 million unique visitors per day, with dramatic traffic spikes around noon on work days.  Online video use was significant during the Beijing Games, but it did not appear to negatively affect TV viewing in the U.S., which remained at record levels during the Games.

Olympics Buzz

U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps’ dramatic gold-medal winning streak triggered a barrage blog chatter.  Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt also wowed Olympics fans, but Phelps, who received five times more online buzz than Bolt, proved unbeatable in the blogsphere.

Athlete Sport Country Index
Michael Phelps Swimming USA 100
Usain Bolt Track & Field Jamaica 20
Shawn Johnson Gymnastics USA 10
Nastia Liukin Gymnastics USA 8
Kobe Bryant Basketball USA 8
Roger Federer Tennis Switzerland 7
LeBron James Basketball USA 6
Jason Lezak Swimming USA 6
Rafael Nadal Tennis Spain 6
Alain Bernard Swimming France 5
Kerri Walsh Beach Volleyball USA 4
Ryan Lochte Swimming USA 4
Abhinav Bindra Shooting India 3
He Kexin Gymnastics China 3
Misty May-Treanor Beach Volleyball USA 3
Source: The Nielsen Company (August 8, 2008 – August 24, 2008)
Athletes are ranked by online buzz, with the top athlete indexed at 100.

Online Advertising

U.S. Olympics team sponsors drove 9.9 billion online ad impressions before and during the Beijing Games (August 4 – 24).  AT&T, General Motors, and Bank of America were the top three advertisers, accounting for a combined total of more than 1 billion impressions.

Sponsor Ad Impressions

(in 000’s)

AT&T Corporation 2,428,308
General Motors 1,906,210
Bank of America 1,027,458
Nike 846,083
General Electric 823,878
McDonald’s 718,692
Johnson & Johnson 382,295
Coca-Cola 375,055
Visa International 311,062
Hilton Hotels 309,222
Source: The Nielsen Company (August 4, 2008 – August 24, 2008)

View Nielsen’s complete Olympics online findings.