This year's Olympics were the most tech-savvy and social to date. Whether people were watching live (or delayed), online or checking in via Twitter, people stayed connected to the world-wide competitive games to the tune of more than 500 million people.
And since this was the first Olympic games that offered streaming coverage as well as broadcast it was interesting to find that across the US and 64 countries in Africa and Asia 231 million streams were viewed online. Of those streams, 72 million came from the official Olympics YouTube channel.
The "Team USA” U.S. Olympic Committee Channel also registered more than 6.75 million views.
According to YouTube, the quality of the live video was also better than ever before," with a 7X improvement in quality based on low buffering and high frame rates.”
At its peak, YouTube delivered video for more than half a million livestreams at the same time -- that equates to more than 5X the capacity of Wembley Stadium.
In the US alone, online coverage from NBCOlympics.com was also viewed more than 159 million total streams. It is also worth noting that 37% of views for NBC online coverage came from mobile devices, and more than half were in HD.
The U.S. Olympic Committee YouTube Channel shared behind the scenes video with more than 6.75 million views, and 50 YouTube Creators “Invaded” London to show the full experience through their eyes.
It can only be expected that in future Olympic coverage, the online streaming component will be even better leveraged and partnered with more advertisers, hosts and streaming services.
Athletes around the globe garnered worldwide followings and social services like Facebook and Twitter allowed viewers to voice their excitement, shock and anger about the games and the old media ways it was being covered.
Since the last summer games in Beijing four years ago, social media has gone from a youthful outlet in first-world nations to the voice of hundreds of millions of people globally. In 2008, there were just six million people tweeting and now more than 600 million people have Twitter handles.
Over the last two years, Facebook has also allowed public figures to create fan pages to communicate with and share personal pictures, achievements and details with fans globally.
When looking at just how social these Olympics were, it is clear that athletes and broadcast media will have to approach things a great deal differently for the next set of games where, I am guessing, several billion people will be voicing their cheers and gripes in real time.