London 2012 – a more mobile and interactive Games
The eyes of the world will be on London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
An estimated worldwide audience of over 4 billion is expected to tune in during the course of the Games, making it one of the most viewed sporting events in history.
But while the global popularity of the Games is nothing new, how we follow them has changed significantly since Bejing in 2008.
The rapid take-up of smartphones and tablet computers – as well as the growing popularity of social media sites – are set to make London 2012 a more mobile and interactive Games than ever before.
Ofcom’s recent Communications Market Report for 2012 included an in-depth look at how people will follow the Games.
It revealed that more than half (53%) of UK adults think new technology will make accessing Games coverage easier, while around one fifth (19%) said they are likely to follow developments on many different devices.
One in five adults (19%) said they intend to follow the Games online, whether through a computer (12%), tablet (6%) or a mobile phone (8%).
Online use is anticipated to be higher among younger people, with 32% of 16-24 year olds intending to follow coverage of the Games online.
Social networking has also grown substantially since Beijing – 50% of UK adults now access social networking sites at home compared to just 20% in 2008.
Around a quarter of UK adults (26%), think that “social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are going to make following the Olympic and/or Paralympic Games easier”, rising to 48% of 16-24s.
The Olympics have a track record of drawing in large numbers of television viewers.
Forty-one million watched coverage of the 2008 Olympics and almost 46 million tuned in the last time the Games were held in Europe, in Athens in 2004.
In both years the most-viewed events were athletics and the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.
In 2004 three of the five most popular events were those in which the UK won gold medals: the men’s 4×100 relay, the women’s 1500m final and the women’s 800m final.
In 2008 the UK’s gold medal in the men’s cycling was also among the top five most popular events.
But the rise of new technology doesn’t mean that consumers will turn their back on traditional media.
Around three-quarters (74%) of UK adults say they intend to follow coverage on TV, 16% say they will use newspapers and magazines, whereas 12% say they will listen on the radio.
What will we be following?
The athletics look like being the biggest draw.
Forty per cent of adults in Ofcom’s research said that they are interested in following the Olympics athletics events.
Some 27% of adults said they were interested in following the Opening Ceremony, while the same proportion said they were interested in following coverage of Olympic swimming, the 100m sprint men’s final and Olympic football.
However, there are differences between the sexes.
Four in ten (41%) men have an interest in following coverage of the Olympic football, compared to just 13% of women. And while 27% of women are interested in following coverage of the Olympic gymnastics events, only 16% of men are interested.
Finally, most people say that they intend to follow the Games at home.
But around one in four people in full-time employment say that they are likely to watch or listen to the Games coverage at work.
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