The Digital Olympics? Satellite and Cable Television Will Be Most Popular Way to Follow the Olympics, According to a Study by Research Now

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Despite the explosion of digital services offered to viewers of the Olympic Games, satellite and cable television will be the most popular medium, according to a multi-national survey carried out by digital data provider Research Now.

52% of survey respondents overall say they are going to utilize social media to like or follow a team.

Despite the explosion of digital services being offered to viewers of the Olympic Games, satellite and cable television will be the most popular medium, according to a multi-national survey carried out by digital data collection provider Research Now. The company surveyed 7,200 respondents in six countries (UK, US, Canada, Australia, France and Germany), to determine how audiences are planning to follow the London Olympics. When asked about which medium would be used to track coverage of this year’s events, the majority of respondents across all six countries, reported satellite and cable TV as their method of choice. The survey results also showed that 16- to 34-year-olds are planning to engage with the Olympics via news websites and social media more than older age groups, and that they are least likely to watch the events on television (whether via satellite or cable).

Digital and social media
According to Wikipedia, Facebook had a total of 100 million active users during the 2008 Olympics. For the 2012 Olympics, recently being deemed as the ‘first social Games,’ Facebook will have over 900 million active users, with more than half of their users accessing Facebook on a mobile device. Thus, it is no surprise that, over 4300 survey respondents plan to use some form of online media to follow the Olympics – whether it be via websites, social media sites, or mobile sites/apps for coverage on the go. Services offered through digital media will be most popular among younger demographics that reported their likelihood to access content, and engage with fans and events, far more through websites. As for social media specifically, more than one-third of those who plan on using Facebook, and nearly a quarter using Twitter, are between the ages of 16 and 34. Men are also planning to utilize digital platforms much more than women. Twice as many men (31%) as women (15%) will watch live coverage and updates via sports websites. Men are also more likely to use phone apps (11%) than women (7%) and to use Twitter (7%).

Over half of those 4300 respondents surveyed say they will ‘like’ or follow a team on Facebook or Twitter; of this, the French are most likely (65% of all French respondents surveyed) and Germans are least likely (33% of all German respondents surveyed). Furthermore, the French are most likely to like or follow a competitor (53%), followed by Australians (42%), Brits (37%), Americans and Canadians (34%) and Germans (30%). 26% of survey respondents overall plan on sharing results and engaging with other fans through social media. Americans are the most likely to like or follow sponsors (20%), which is almost double the number of Brits and Australians. According to the survey, respondents from the UK will tweet about the Olympics the most (20%), with an overall average of 13% of respondents sharing updates on Twitter from the additional five countries. Interestingly, across all six countries, more Germans reported sharing video coverage as a form of engagement (18%); twice the proportion of Australians.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 52% of survey respondents overall say they are going to utilize social media to like or follow a team.
  • Sports websites (23%) and the official London Olympics website (22%) are the most popular digital channels among respondents who will be following the Olympics.
  • Men are more likely to follow the Games on sports websites, mobile phone apps and Twitter than women, who are more likely to turn to Facebook and family for updates.
  • Facebook is twice as popular as Twitter for keeping up to date: 21% vs. 11%.
  • Among each of the national groups surveyed, Brits (28%) are more likely to watch or attend over 30 hours of live events throughout the duration of the Olympic Games.

Levels of engagement by country
Whilst no surprise here, being the host country increases public engagement. According to the survey, 12% more Brits will watch the Games this year than in 2008 and, of these, the number watching more than 30 hours of coverage will be almost double what it was with the Beijing Games.

Across the six countries surveyed, Americans and Australians enjoy watching live sporting events the most (76% and 70%, respectively). And when asked about their interest in sports, two-thirds of respondents reported that their inclination to engage (whether watching or participating) in sports was not dependent on the coverage of a major, global sporting event. Germans are most likely to play or participate in sports regularly (56%), in contrast to Australians (39%) and Americans (39%).

To see the infographic for Research Now's Olympic study, click here.

About the methodology
Research Now surveyed 7,200 consumers aged 16 and over who acknowledged that they would be watching at least some of the Olympic Games this year. The survey was conducted online via Research Now’s proprietary Valued Opinions™ Panel and social media sample. The 7,200 interviews were conducted globally between 7th June and 18th June 2012 – 1,200 interviews per the following six markets: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. To ensure a safe and robust sample, quotas were set to population statistics across all six markets. Incidence was roughly 78%, with slight fluctuations among France and Germany.

About Research Now
Research Now, the leading digital data collection provider, powers market research insights. we enable companies to listen to and interact with the world's consumers and business professionals through online panels, as well as mobile and social media technologies. Our team operates in 24 offices globally and is recognised as the market research industry's leader in client satisfaction. We foser a socially responsible culture by empowering our employees to give back. To find out more or begin a conversation with us, visit

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