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NBC #didnotfail | Live Mobile Apps Pay Off

August 14, 2012

It was a lot of fun to follow the #NBCFail hashtag on Twitter during the London2012 Games.  Of course, you can please some of the people some of the time, but…

However, other than the Opening and Closing (No Who?! WTF!?) ceremonies which were not available live, the #NBCfail bitch session was quite puzzling to us.  The reality is that if you were fortunate enough to have web access and a cable subscription (100 million of us did, see below), NBC made every single event available live both via desktop and mobile (iOS, Android and iPad).  The selection of live and on-demand events was nothing short of ‘sports porn’.

NBC took a huge risk making these events available live, on average a half day prior to the primetime viewing period that’s most monetizable for them.  Did that risk pay off?   Well, word is it did.  From a nice wrap-up in Mobile Sports Report derived from a stats-fest on NBC.com here:

NBC “killed it,” as the kids would say, but just barely — up to 219 million viewers, just surpassing Beijing totals of 215 million. What matters to us here at MSR, of course, are the digital numbers, and there was a mild surprise in that unique visitors to the NBCOlympics.com website increased only slightly from the Beijing Games, with 57.1 million uniques this year compared to 51.8 in 2008 (see chart we screen-grabbed below). Mobile unique users, however, rocketed off the charts — 10.1 million uniques for the NBCOlympics mobile web site (compared to 6.5 million in 2008) and another 11.2 million downloads of the Olympics Live Extra app.

It’s clear from the above stats hat the mobile device viewing audience has eclipsed web-viewing despite mobile being still in its infancy.  All these numbers could also conceivably be much bigger when you understand that because of the necessity of having a cable contract to view online, NBC limited itself to a potential audience pool of 100 million, which is the number of cable customers NBC said was eligible to watch the games online via its sites.

Some more tidbits: When it came to live streams, 63% of live streams were viewed on the web, 37% in the Live Extra App; and our favorite stat: “Users are averaging 111.4 live streaming minutes per viewer on the web and 94.3 live streaming minutes per viewer on the app.” So, that means that having a mobile app isn’t keeping people from watching for long periods of time. You’re welcome, Verizon and AT&T.  Read more

We believe NBC’s mobile offerings, while setting a new standard, are only just the beginning.  As we have blogged and tweeted many times, we are now in the middle of a collision of all things mobile, social and sport.

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