Behind the numbers: Rai Sport director Gabriele Romagnoli discusses Rio viewing habits

Within the first week of the 2016 Olympic Games, it was clear that Italian spectators had an incredible interest in viewing the landmark sports event. An audience of 37 million (different) viewers represented about 80% of those in Italy with access to a television.

Gabriele Romagnoli, Rai Sport director, commented: “In particular, the younger public – the so-called ‘millennials’ – [representing] 14.8 million under 44 years of age, followed the events on tv and showed an enormous interest on social media too. They were looking for original content and commenting on everything, multiplying traffic as ever. Millions of videos were watched on Facebook, while Twitter interactions were monopolised by discussions about Italian athletes; in total, 76% of all Twitter interactions involved the Rio Olympics.

“Nielsen Social Content ratings registered over 3million unique surfers commenting and sharing Olympics-related content, producing over 8 million ‘likes’, comments or shares. The Rai broadcast and social group made available an enormous quantity of images of the several disciplines, through [platforms such as the] web and a dedicated mobile app that was downloaded over 500,000 times.”

With Rio 2016 – and for the first time in Italy – the digital offer by Rai made it possible to view live content from every aspect of the Games. Meanwhile, the Facebook comments reveal a large share of viewers between 18 and 34 years (48%) and a female presence of 55%.

Viewing peaks

Rai 2 was the most viewed Italian channel during the Olympics, especially for week one (6 out of 7 days). Skeet shooting reached the highest peak (over 6 million viewers) – a share of 32.4% – during the Giovanni Paiello race on Rai 2. During the whole day Rai 2 reached an average viewing of 1.2 million (14.8% share), but the highest peaks were recorded during prime-time with an average over 2.9 million and 16.5% share, peaking at over 20% for viewers aged between 15 and 24 years. Rai Sport 1 and 2, the dedicated sports channels, also in HD, reached an average of 700,000 viewers for an 8,7% share across the whole day and 9.4% during prime time.

Romagnoli adds: “As per the social platforms, the profiles of RaiSport, RaiDue and Radio1Rai were constantly updating all results, with image collections, comments, video excerpts, and live stories from Rio journalists. On dedicated graphic platforms constant updates guided all viewers through the several lineups available on TV channels. On Instagram and Snapchat we [portrayed] the backstage areas of several competitions.”

For the Olympic Games Rai also developed a dedicated website, RaiRio2016, and a dedicated app, ensuring viewers don’t miss a single second of each competition, from every court and arena and for all disciplines. Updates encompassed medal ceremonies, highlights, and relevant news.

Unique viewiers for Rio 2016 from PCs and mobiles amounted to 1.7 million, including watches of On connected TVs, through the blue button, spectators could find all content not covered by the live broadcasts (370,000 unique viewers accessed via connected TVs).

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