Athens Olympics TV viewership in India has been in sync with the global pattern. While International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has announced that 3.9 billion people watched the 2004 Olympics (up from 3.6 billion in 2000) all over the world, the TV reach in India increased 300% from Sydney to Athens. According to Tam India, which monitors TV viewership in the country, “reach” refers to the number of people who watched Athens Games for at least a minute.
In India, Sydney Olympics in 2000 was watched by 5.6 million people on national channel Doordarshan, as per Tam. Athens action was however seen by 18.8 million people on DD. “India figures are in tune with international data,” said a Tam India official.
“Despite unfavourable time zones, Asia was the continent that registered the most significant increases in coverage and viewer hours,” an IOC report said. It added that “China celebrated its best-ever medal haul in the Athens Games.
There were nine billion viewer hours, as each individual watched over eight hours of Olympic coverage, reflecting the nation’s greater viewing choice from dedicated around the clock Olympic coverage”.
India got a solitary medal. Yet, the TV viewership of the Games saw a big jump. Out of the 18.8 million who watched the Athens Games, 52% were from the six big cities. Around 31% of this population were from .1 to 1 million towns. The remaining 17% belonged to 1 million towns. The Tam India figures are based on cable and satellite homes in the 4 years plus category.
Over 300 channels telecast the Athens Olympic Games to 220 countries and territories. There were 35,000 hours of dedicated coverage this time, compared with 20,000 hours for Barcelona 1992, 25,000 hours for Atlanta 1996 and 29,600 hours for Sydney 2000, representing an increase of 27%.
According to IOC, every individual viewer watched over 12 hours of Olympic Games coverage globally. Also, significant increases in coverage and viewer hours were recorded in Central and South America and Asia, despite unfavourable time zones. Incidentally, India was no different.
The IOC president said recently that “Athens has set a new benchmark with the highest audience, images of spectacular quality, expanded coverage of sport and new technologies.”