Pew says 78 percent are following Olympics -- and 76 percent like NBC coverage

Results at odds with highly-publicized social media complaints

  • American women celebrate goal in overtime Monday
American women celebrate goal in overtime Monday (Getty Images )
August 07, 2012|By David Zurawik | The Baltimore Sun

Pew reports that "large majorities of Americans" are following the Olympics on TV, online and on social networks in a new survey released today.

Among the most compelling findings is that 76 percent of those surveyed believe NBC is doing an "excellent" or "good" job in coverage. That is certainly at odds with perception of widespread criticism in social media, with some analysts saying there are "millions" of disgruntled audience members.

Also of note, the finding that 68 percent "say they are watching events in the evening after they have occurred."

This is clearly the most definitive non-commercial audience data to date on the Olympics and media.

Here's some of the overview from Pew:

Large majorities of Americans are following coverage of the Olympic Games in London. Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) say they have watched or followed Olympic coverage either on television, online or on social networks.

Television remains far-and-away the leading platform for Olympic coverage; 73% say they have watched coverage on television. Still, 17% say they have watched online or digitally and 12% report they have followed Olympic coverage on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Most Olympic followers (68%) say they are watching events in the evening after they have already occurred. At the same time, almost a quarter (23%) say they are watching live during the day.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Internet & American Life Project, conducted August 2-5, 2012 among 1,005 adults, finds that NBC’s coverage of the Olympics receives high marks from the public. Overall, 76% of Olympic watchers describe the coverage as excellent (29%) or good (47%); 18% describe it as only fair (13%) or poor (5%).

Although there has been criticism of NBC’s coverage expressed online on social media sites like Twitter, the coverage is rated about equally well by those who are watching online and following on social networks (70% excellent/good) and those watching on television (77%). There is also little difference in the ratings given by those watching events live (85% excellent/good) and those watching in the evening after the events have occurred (75%).

For more of the survey, click here.


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