Well, it's unanimous. Viewing of the 2016 Olympics this past summer on TV was pitiful
but online streaming of the Olympics was amazing. More proof that TV is dead.
"Through Sunday, online users have streamed 1.86 billion minutes of NBC’s Rio 2016 coverage"
said the LA Times. Wow. 1.86 billion minutes!
Just for curiosity sake, how many minutes of the Olympics do you think were watched on television during that same period? We'll get back to that in a minute.
I'm sure by now you've guessed that all this breathless media coverage of online viewing of the Olympics was complete nonsense. Otherwise why would I be writing about it?
The relentless hyping of online video has reached such a point of ridiculousness that even the TV networks are now complicit in the denigration of their own products.
Why, you may ask, would NBC disparage its own major asset to hype online streaming? We'll get to that one in a minute, too.
First the facts.
According to Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics, streaming accounting for 3% of Olympics viewing in the US. That's not a typo. All this hyperventilating over streaming was about 3% of the viewership. 97% of the viewing was on television.
If you think 3% is a substantial number let's give it some context -- 2% of American women smoke cigars. I wonder if the LA Times thinks this is a "cultural shift?"
Now let's get to that amazing 1.86 billion minutes of streaming. It is the usual context-free bullshit we get about online video. I guess they forgot to report that TV viewing during that same period was about 60 billion minutes.
But that still leaves the question of why NBC would join in the hype-fest for streaming? I think a little algebra would explain that nicely. According to NBC, 10% of their ad revenue from the Olympics came from advertising on their online assets, including streaming -- 10% of the revenue and 3% of the viewing. Do the math.
(This piece was inspired by this and this from the great Mark Ritson.)