London 2012 Opening Ceremony Attracts Record Audience

Can’t say I’m all that surprised. The Opening Ceremony was on during prime evening viewing in the east, at times when many regularly tune into local CTV News, SportsCentre or Connected anyway. I am a bit surprised by the number though, 6.4 million viewers. That’s double the number CBC recorded for the Atlanta Opening Ceremony in 1996. These numbers might make Canadian networks think twice about not bidding on the 2014/2016 Olympics.

Live coverage of the LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES OPENING CEREMONY Friday night by Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium has broken records as the most-watched Summer Olympic Games broadcast on record in Canada. On average, 6.4 million Canadians watched the late-afternoon, 3.5- hour-plus ceremony from 4-7:30 p.m. ET, making it the second most-watched Opening Ceremony on record in Canada behind Vancouver 2010 (13.5 million).

The audience eclipsed the previous Summer Olympic record-holder, the ATLANTA 1996 OPENING CEREMONY (4.3 million), by 49%, and delivered nearly four times the audience of BEIJING 2008 OPENING CEREMONY (1.6 million) and more than four times the audience of ATHENS 2004 OPENING CEREMONY (1.4 million). Last night’s prime time encore broadcast of the OPENING CEREMONY attracted 3 million viewers from 7:45 – 11 p.m. ET, while earlier in the day 1.6 million Canadians watched the Consortium’s OPENING CEREMONY PRE-SHOW from 2-4 p.m. ET.

Airing live across Consortium networks in six languages (English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, Punjabi), an astonishing 16.6 million viewers, or nearly one in every two Canadians, tuned in to some part of the ceremony. Overall, 64% of Canadians watched some Olympic Games coverage on the Consortium’s channels yesterday. The television coverage peaked at 8.1 million viewers at 7:36 p.m. ET when the Olympic Cauldron was lit.

Meanwhile, nearly 1.5 million Canadians watched CTV NATIONAL NEWS WITH LISA LaFLAMME live from London, an increase of 36% compared to its summer average.

Directed by two-time Academy Award®-winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), the Opening Ceremony took viewers on a whirlwind visual and musical ride through London’s rich history, from Shakespeare to the industrial revolution to present day. Appearances were made by Daniel Craig as the iconic character James Bond, alongside Queen Elizabeth II, soccer star David Beckham, beloved Harry Potter author J.K Rowling, Mr. Bean star Rowan Atkinson, and a stellar closing performance of “Hey Jude” by the legendary Paul McCartney.

Showing a possible change in trends of how people will consume London 2012, more than half the traffic (54%) to CTVOlympics.ca and RDSolympiques.ca yesterday was from a mobile device.

2 thoughts on “London 2012 Opening Ceremony Attracts Record Audience

  1. Who is the boxing commentator? I don’t think I’ve heard his voice before, what is his history? Same question for the tennis duo. It’s too bad Chris Cuthbert isn’t there. Couldn’t someone else have done play by play for the CFL? I would rather see some no name doing the CFL instead of not having Cuthbert in London. Also what did you think of day 1 of coverage? Any comments on the play by play crews?

    • It is Eric Smith. He is a hoops analyst for The Fan 590. I thought he was surprisingly good for such and odd choice. Has no boxing background as far as I know. I was hoping for Joe Bowen though.

      The tennis commentators are from NBC. Justin Gimmelstob is one of the analysts (he did the Federer match today). He did Rogers Cup on CBC last year and does the Grand Slams for Tennis Channel too, I believe. I’m not sure who the rest are (NBC has two teams I think).

      As far as Cuthbert goes, they already had to find someone to replace Rod Black (Matt Devlin). Would’ve been hard to find two replacement commentators. Rob Faulds is pretty good on rowing anyway.

      I plan to write a bit about the commentators tomorrow, but I really liked Faulds/Williams on rowing. Smith was great, Malar terrible. I did find it funny how NBC’s cycling commentators couldn’t mention the sponsored names of any pro teams during the road race.

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