The Olympics might be one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world, but it seems the number of Aussie viewers tuning into the various events has fallen this year. And it’s not just Australia, either.
The 2016 Olympics have so far seen the lowest OzTAM figures since the system kicked off back in 2001, with the opening ceremony broadcast at 9am on Saturday pulling an average 1.61 million metropolitan viewers, 2.25 million when you count regional viewers.
This figure is lower than the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, which snagged 1.7 million (2.41 million including regional viewers) when it aired on Channel Nine.
These figures are also down on the 2008 and Sydney’s own 2000 Olympic opening ceremonies, which nabbed average audiences of 2.83 million and 6.5 million (under the old Nielsen ratings), respectively, per a Fairfax report.
But naturally, it’s difficult to compare these Games to others, given there is a 13-hour timezone difference between Sydney and Rio, which means events are live here at different times. On top of that, all coverage across on Seven, 7TWO and 7mate is being streamed, accounting for much of the viewings not seen in preliminary OzTAM ratings.
Daily, Seven is hitting figures over one million for its various events and coverage, such as last night’s initial 1.027 million viewers in the metro region, per OzTAM, for the evening coverage of the Olympics, making it a hotly coveted event for the network.
Speaking to B&T, Seven said, “One cannot compare single channel TV coverage four years ago with three channel broadcast TV coverage and live streaming on devices today. We are on every single digital and social platform with our coverage.
“The data we are seeing reveals that Australians are engaging with the Olympic Games in massive numbers – more than one in two Australians – have now watched all or part of our broadcast television coverage and we are creating new records every day on online stream starts since the Opening Ceremony. That is an extraordinary delivery.
“The Olympic Games are a signpost to the future. It is now: people are consuming and engaging in massive numbers on broadcast television and massive numbers on their devices.”
Over in the States, figures on broadcaster NBC aren’t looking too crash hot either, largely in response to the network’s decision to delay events in order to screen them during prime time.
Many American sports media analysts were predicting some of the biggest TV audience figures in history, and yet it seems much the opposite has occurred, with The Independent reporting NBC’s decision to delay the opening ceremony by one hour resulted in just 30 million people tuning in. This marks a 20-year low for the US, down from 40.7 million in London in 2012.
“The network also managed to enrage viewers with its ‘sexist’ remarks about women sports fans and by cramming four advert breaks into the first 39 minutes,” The Independent wrote. “It insisted a time-delay does not matter since women don’t care as much about the results, hence the decision to air key events like athletics and swimming one hour later too.”
Seven has received more than four million streams on the Seven app since the Games began, and while some might only stream for a few seconds, others are streaming for hours at a time, albeit with the odd app kerfuffle.
But even though Seven is broadcasting events live, some Aussies still aren’t all that impressed with the coverage. Seven has copped a bunch of criticism over their coverage of the Olympics:
— Brett McFarlane (@Bert_Mac) August 7, 2016
@7olympics you do realise this equestrian Cross country happened during the night. Put some live sport on
— DAMIAN CHANDLER (@damochandler) August 9, 2016
— DAMIAN CHANDLER (@damochandler) August 8, 2016
— DAMIAN CHANDLER (@damochandler) August 7, 2016
HEY @Channel7 WHY NOT TRY AND INTERVIEW OUR OLYMPIANS WITHOUT A VACUUM CLEANER BEING USED IN THE BACKGROUND?
— The NT News (@TheNTNews) August 8, 2016
WHILE WE’RE ON IT @channel7 WHY DOES IT SAY “LIVE & FREE” ON THE DJOKOVIC TENNIS MATCH ON 7TWO WHEN IT FINISHED ABOUT 9 HOURS AGO
— The NT News (@TheNTNews) August 8, 2016