A new report from eMarketer projects that the audience for the upcoming London Olympics will hit 4 billion - at least a quarter of whom will access coverage from PCs and mobile devices. Other research from Deloitte suggests that between 15% and 26% of Internet users in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany will watch at least some of the London Olympics on a PC or tablet. The Deloitte study found that in Germany, almost half of Internet users will watch online video of the games via the mobile web. In the U.S., 20% indicated that they will watch some or all of the games on a PC, laptop, or tablet, 15% indicated they were likely to watch some or all of coverage on smartphones, and 28% indicated they planned to discuss the Olympic Games on social media.
This interest in accessing coverage online arguably contributed to the interest of major broadcast rights holders for the games to invest heavily in providing online and mobile access to their Olympic coverage, as did the online success of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. During the Vancouver games, more than 100 Olympics-related Websites drew an estimated audience of 1.3 billion. Specific Olympics content attracted 74 million unique visitors who combined for a total of 1.2 billion page views and watched 272 million online videos (for a total of 28 million hours of online video viewing).
NBC, who holds the 2012 Olympics rights for the U.S., has announced that it plans to offer live streaming coverage of every event (that's 302 events in 32 sports, amounting to more than 3500 hours of online video) and a variety of apps offering live streaming, replays, customized feeds and updates. The BBC has indicated that it will also cover every event (live, on-demand, and interactive feeds), with up to 24 live feeds in HD, and web pages for every athlete, sport, venue, and country. And the International Olympic Committee has created the Olympic Athletes' Hub, a site with information on how to join and follow the social media sites of teams and athletes.
With the wider range of sports and competition in the summer games, and the increased focus of rights holders in providing online and mobile coverage, it's likely that the London Olympics will see even greater consumption of online content. Between the rise of social media, the growing diffusion of mobile and connected devices, and the huge upsurge in content and availability
Sources - Olympic Mobile Audience to Hit 1 Bil, Coverage Expands, OnlineMediaDaily
The Olympics in the Social/Mobile Age, socialmedia today