Emerging Platforms Opinions Research Social Media

Olympics Coverage on Social Media and New Media

Posted by Jennifer Okula on July 31st, 2012 at 5:33 pm
A lot has certainly changed in four years. According to stats compiled by iProspect, the number of Facebook accounts has grown 901% from 90 million in 2008 to 901 million today. The number of Twitter accounts has grown from under 1 million to 300 million. Wow!

In a blog post I wrote recently, I discussed the role of smartphones in this year's Olympics. Smartphones have grown 456% in the last four years.  When Safecount surveyed panelists (US internet users 18-44), 74% of smartphone owners say they actively participate in social media on their phones. 34% say they will follow Olympics coverage on Facebook and 17% will follow on Twitter. I find these numbers amazing since the last summer Olympics probably had far less activity on social platforms. I wonder if viewers will be following specific fan pages on Facebook, specific athletes pages, or just simply interacting with friends about the Olympics. Michael Phelps has close to 5.5 million likes. The US Olympic Team page itself has about half that at 2.2 million likes.

Regardless of how Olympic fans will be interacting with content on Facebook and Twitter, they will certainly be multi-tasking. While watching coverage on TV, 43% say they are also likely to follow coverage on Facebook at the same time (18% on Twitter).

87% of these smartphone users say they occasionally or actively watch videos on their phones. 29% say they will specifically follow Olympic coverage on YouTube.  NBC Olympics is hoping to maintain a lot of the video activity control as they have live streaming coverage of the events this year both on their own site as well as their own page on YouTube.

And of course there is a ton of activity on Twitter this year. Twitter recently launched its new events pages and there is a #Olympics page up. If you've watched some of the TV coverage, they have been heavily mentioning Twitter handles and showcasing tweets. @NBCOlympics already has over 400K followers and @Olympics has close to 1.4 million followers. Check out some of the top Olympians to follow on Twitter. Michael Phelps has over 585K followers and is actively tweeting. But the athletes have been warned about social media etiquette since a Greek triple jumper was kicked off the team for an inappropriate tweet.

Lastly, I have Verizon Fios and I've noticed a little ITV icon on the upper right of my screen when I'm watching Olympics on TV. When I use my remote to navigate to the menu, there is some interesting content including videos, a schedule, a medal count and athlete profiles.
This seems to be something experimental and new for Fios. I'm not sure if other cable providers are also offering similar content but it doesn't seem to me like something that will be used a great deal given all the other mobile, tablet and social media coverage people can follow this year.


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