Winter Olympics Knocks Off American Idol As Most Watched TV Programme

by Tanya Thomas on  February 25, 2010 at 8:16 AM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
Half the global population is expected to tune into the Winter Olympics with coverage worldwide due to exceed 50,000 hours amid the explosion of digital media, organisers said Tuesday.
  • Visitors attend a medal ceremony at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics
  • A US supporter is seen before a medal ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

The Vancouver Games have already set new records, with Canada's shock Olympic ice hockey loss to the United States on Sunday the most viewed sports program in Canadian television history.

And last week American Idol, the runaway television success that has enjoyed a US ratings stranglehold for almost six years, was knocked off top spot by the Olympics.

"I feel that we're well on track to providing the most extensive broadcast coverage of any Winter Olympic Games in history," said International Olympic Committee director of television and marketing Timo Lumme.

"We have over 300 broadcasters or television stations showing coverage, over 100 websites worldwide in over 200 territories.

"If we look at that we have -- from the broadcast-only side -- around 24,000 hours of coverage. That's around 47 percent more than Torino," he added.

"The total amount of coverage we expect, adding up all the coverage throughout the world, should exceed around 50,000 hours by the end of the Games.

"We would expect around 3.5 billion people, over half the population of the world, will have watched some coverage of the Games."

Keith Pelley, president of Canada's Olympic broadcast media consortium, said the coverage was unprecedented.

"Television, radio, print, digital -- every single second of the Games is being streamed online. The other day we had 14 streams going at one time," he said.

"97.8 percent of Canadians have experienced these Games on one of our multiple platforms, which is astonishing, and the ratings continue to soar beyond our expectation."

The official website of the Vancouver Games, for which AFP exclusively supplies content in English and French, has beaten all previous Olympic records for Internet traffic.

Source: AFP

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