By: Paul Bond
Survey Predicts 73% With Internet Access Want Olympic News Online
by Paul Bond
(The Hollywood Reporter) The Olympics, always a television ratings
hit in the United States, are expected to garner a mass cyberspace
audience this year for the first time.
According to a study by Digital Marketing Services, 73% of the
nation’s 88 million households with Internet access will log on
for Olympics coverage at least once before or during the 2000
Summer Games in Sydney. That’s up from 33% before and during all
previous Olympics combined, when not nearly as many people were
The NBCOlympics.com Web site boasted 168,000 unique visitors in
July, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
So prevalent are Olympics-based Web sites that NetRatings is building
an Olympics index to compare traffic at the myriad Web sites offering
‘We expect traffic to totally correlate with TV viewership,’ NetRatings
analyst Jarvis Mak said. ‘Just as the ‘Survivor’ Web site became more
popular as the show became more popular, so will Olympics sites.’
The bad news, at least for TV executives, is that at least a small
portion of Internet surfers might be siphoned away from their
television screens. The Digital Marketing Services survey indicated
that 81% of those who will go online for Olympics news also will
tune in to the TV coverage, leaving 19% who will not or have not
America Online plans to capitalize on one statistic revealed by the
survey: 75% of Internet surfers who will visit Olympics-themed Web
sites do not want to know the results of not-yet-televised events.
AOL has built two sites for its members, one in real time and one
delayed, so visitors need not learn results of events that have
not aired on television.
‘With Sydney half a world away from the U.S., most Olympic events
will be tape-delayed 18-24 hours,’ AOL director of sports programming
Jim Brady said. ‘In the past, sports fans faced the dilemma of either
getting information online and possibly spoiling the suspense of the
televised event or avoiding news programs and their favorite Web
In fact, Olympics-themed Web sites are expected to grow so popular
that one analyst predicted that this will be the last ‘traditionally
Giga Information Group analyst James Grady said that in the future,
TV and Internet broadcast rights to the Olympics will be sold
separately, and third-party sites might find it more difficult or
expensive to access photos.
‘Media organizations will be compelled to rethink global strategies
in light of the Internet’s ability to instantly feed video to users
worldwide,’ Grady said.
(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher