Many and varied media viewing figures are thrown around for sport, with careful choice of facts and figures achieving the result required.
This was very apparent at the latest Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where the BBC, the British broadcaster, had its usual money-no-object coverage clipped by economic reality, which caused some upset when live highlights were missed, and local home garden celebrations rerun multiple times.
While the BBC Sport production teams based in Salford, UK, at times appeared to be broadcasting through gritted teeth in front of the glamourous skyline projection.
On the release of viewing figures, the media made its choice . . .
Industry source – Broadcastnow.co.uk
Tokyo Olympics: BBC reveals ‘record-breaking’ online viewing
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Most popular events
The men’s 100m final was the most watched event on TV with 5 million viewers tuning in to watch on BBC1, followed by the women’s 100m final, which saw 4.5 million viewers.
BBC’s Olympic peak viewing figures fall by half when compared to Rio 2016
The BBC saw their peak television audience drop by more than half during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with the men’s 100m final watched by just 5 million viewers.
In concrete proof of the growing profile of women’s sport, 4.5m viewers tuned into the women’s 100m final won by Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, despite there being no British representation in the event.
In total, 36.4m people watched Tokyo 2020 on BBC TV, which was a little down on the 37.5m who watched Beijing 2008 on the BBC.
Meanwhile, 27.5 million accessed the BBC Sport website for news and analysis from Tokyo, including 41.3 million online requests for highlights clips.
Only 36.4m tuned in to watch coverage over the course of the last three weeks, making it the least watched Olympics compared with the previous three.
It was also marginally down on the 37.5m people who watched the Beijing Games in 2008 and considerably lower than the 51.9m who tuned into at least 15 minutes of the 2012 London Olympics.
The cause of all this angst was the International Olympic Committee selling most UK television rights to the American media company Discovery.
The BBC sublicensed coverage from Discovery which only allowed the BBC to show two streams of coverage at one time, rather than their usual blanket red button coverage.
This meant UK viewers had to watch the majority of live action on subscription channel Eurosport – which is not free-to-air in the UK – or on Eurosport Discovery+ . . . Discovery’s streaming service.
But even that limited BBC coverage did allow some slight relief from the 90% repeat programme output of the last 18 months . . . perhaps the BBC will accept my last years License fee if I just add an (R) ?
Image © BBC 2021