Fans Will Follow London Olympics With Multiple Devices

Olympics Fans Will Follow Games With Multiple Devices, Poll Says
Almost half of the adults aged 18 to 44 plan to use smartphones or tablets to follow the 2012 Olympics. Photographer: Edwin Chang

Olympics fans keen to watch athletes getting draped in medals will be fidgeting with hardware of their own as the games get under way in London.

Almost half, or 44 percent, of U.S. adults aged 18 to 44 plan to use two or more devices -- such as smartphones or tablets -- to follow the 2012 Olympics, according to a Harris Interactive Inc. survey. More men than women will use multiple gadgets, according to the poll.

Audiences are taking advantage of the proliferation of tablet computers and handsets that surf the Web to complement their experience of televised sports and other programming. That is influencing how companies tailor the marketing messages as more consumers use social-media tools such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to interact while they watch.

“For brands that want to reach Olympic viewers, this is an important finding as it highlights the ability to look beyond TV and focus on secondary devices such as smartphones and tablets,” Krishna Subramanian, chief marketing officer at Velti Plc, the mobile-marketing technology provider that sponsored the survey, said in a statement.

As many as 4 billion people worldwide could watch the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games on television, according to a guide produced by the organizers.

The survey also showed that about one-third of adults ages 55 and older will follow the Olympics on two or more devices. Among respondents, 14 percent will juggle three or more devices.

“This survey reveals that a significant number of Americans are choosing to get their Olympic updates on the go, and while doing so, they’re overwhelmingly turning to mobile browsers,” Subramanian said.

Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal is providing live online coverage of every Olympics event for the first time this year. NBC is offering an initial four hours of access for anyone seeking content -- with a temporary login -- per device. After that, only pay-TV subscribers will be able to watch with their tablets, PCs or mobile phones.

The poll was conducted during June and July, according to Velti. The Olympics opening ceremony is scheduled for July 27.

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