Rio Olympics: At 191 million viewers, eyeball count at record high

Badminton women’s singles final between P.V. Sindhu and Carolina Marin pulled in 17.2mn impressions, making it the highest viewed TV programme on that day


According to a statement issued by the company, two out of every three viewers tuned in to watch the event on the Star Sports network, which had dedicated all the channels in its network to cover the Games. Photo: Reuters
According to a statement issued by the company, two out of every three viewers tuned in to watch the event on the Star Sports network, which had dedicated all the channels in its network to cover the Games. Photo: Reuters

Mumbai: India’s largest Olympic contingent may have failed to score big at the Rio Olympic 2016, but it was clear that a number of viewers tuned in to cheer them on.

The Olympic games pulled in an unprecedented number of viewers, as 191 million people (audiences four years of age and above, watching in cable and satellite homes, in urban markets) tuned in to watch the Games according to BARC data provided by Star India, the official broadcaster for the Games in the Indian subcontinent.

The numbers for the 2012 London Olympics, viewed by 90 million Indians, paled in comparison to this.

According to a statement issued by the company, two out of every three viewers tuned in to watch the event on the Star Sports network, which had dedicated all the channels in its network to cover the Games.

The feeds provided by the International Olympic Committee were shared by Star India with public service broadcaster Doordarshan. Star Sports put out more than 3,000 hours of sporting action on television and its digital platform Hotstar, making Rio the most watched Olympic Games in India.

While Star India simulcast the games on all eight Star Sports channels (four in standard definition and four in high definition), Hotstar simultaneously made available 14 live feeds and 36 concurrent feeds from Rio on its Olympics video player.

Hotstar, the exclusive digital streaming partner in India for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, delivered an incremental reach of almost 10 million viewers in India with viewers streaming almost an hour of the Games during the two weeks, propelling Olympics into the top brackets of sporting events covered online, according to a statement from the company.

The highlight of the tournament was the badminton women’s singles final between P.V. Sindhu and Spain’s Carolina Marin.

The gruelling encounter pulled in 17.2 million impressions (the number people watching the event for a period of at least one minute), making it the highest viewed television programme on that day.

It was also the highest rated non-cricket game on any sports network since the inception of BARC.

On Hotstar, more than 5 million viewers tuned in to watch the match live, unprecedented for any event outside of international cricket.

“Our endeavour to build a multi-sports ecosystem is being rewarded with audience interest and attention not just in cricket but even in other sports. We expect this to further gather momentum with the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup in Ahmedabad, the forthcoming season of the Indian Super League and the home cricket season for team India. Catering to the ever growing demands of the television viewers and new-age digital sports fans, Star India’s unprecedented reach made the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the most epic sporting event in the history of viewing sports in India,” said Nitin Kukreja, chief executive officer, Star Sports, in a statement.

Even social media was a whirl of activity during the Games. The games generated 75 billion tweets on Twitter; there were 1.5 billion interactions on the Games by 277 million unique users on Facebook and 916 million interactions by 131 million Instagram users over 5-21 August, according to the companies’ blog posts.

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