Thursday

8th Dec 2016

Olympics: European viewers more interested in London than Beijing

Figures show that European viewers were more interested in watching the London Olympic Games than the previous ones, held in Beijing in 2008.

The Geneva-based trade body, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which looks after 74 national broadcasters from 56 mostly European countries, said in a flash report on Wednesday (15 August) the London event was "the most watched Olympic Games in history."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • EBU: London event was 'the most watched Olympic Games in history' (Photo: Athens 2004)

It noted that the BBC got 20 million British viewers for the men's 100 metres sprint final with superstar Usain Bolt compared to its top figure of 7.5 million viewers during its 2008 output.

It did not show any Olympic content on its international channels due to a straitjacket of licencing agreements.

In Germany, the state-owend ZDF network got a daily average of 3.6 million viewers for the 2012 games overall and 1.8 million in 2008.

The EBU's Olympic webstreaming site - eurovisionsports.tv - also sent out 34 million streams, a figure which "more than doubled since Beijing." The licencing regime again meant that only people in Europe and some north African countries could log on to the site.

EBU spokesman Ben Steward told EUobserver that the time difference - Beijing is seven hours ahead of Central European Time - made a big difference.

He added that Europeans felt a sense of ownership because London is physically closer to home: "It's European, so Europeans obviously tuned in to it more."

The EBU published its update to highlight the importance of state-run TV networks - its members - in covering major world events.

Each country had its own commentators and little touches for showing the games.

But EBU companies divided up the basic audiovisual content so that, for example, the BBC filmed boxing, rowing and sprinting, while Greek broadcaster ERT did weightlifting and Slovakia's STV did hockey.

"Evrybody knows their national broadcaster, like the BBC, and they just assume that they cover the games. But if you take hockey, it would have been the BBC editing the show and adding commentary, while STV provided the basic content," Steward said.

The EBU is not alone in trying to give a European flavour to London 2012.

German PR firm Euro-Informationen also published an online "EU Medal Tracker" showing that if you add up the 27 EU countries, they got 92 golds and 306 medals in total, beating the US or China by miles.

Meanwhile, Presseurop, an EU-funded news site in Paris, ran an online survey in which 42 percent of people said EU countries should compete under one flag.

"Are our readers being ironic?" it tweeted on 13 August.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  2. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  3. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  5. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  7. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  8. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  9. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  10. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  11. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  12. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children