Even though large sporting events such as the Super Bowl have seen their share of mobile traffic, the current Olympic Games are the first truly multi-platform global sporting event. During the first two days of the Olympics, smartphone and tablet searches approached 50 percent of overall search query volume according to Google. In one case, Japan, it exceeded it (55 percent).
Australia, the UK and US all saw mobile (tablet + smartphones) query volumes reaching into the high 40s: 45 percent, 46 percent and 47 percent respectively of total search queries.
Google said, “at some moments during the Games, there have been more searches performed on tablets and smartphones than on computers.” Some of this activity is in the context of the so-called “second screen” phenomenon of people watching TV and using smartphone or tablet devices to gather more information about what they’re watching or to avoid commercials.
In particular Google documented this during the Paul McCartney performance of the Beatles’ classic song Hey Jude during the opening ceremony.
Just as American Idol “taught America to text,” these Olympics are establishing new — or new levels of — mobile usage and viewing behavior among US and global audiences.
While NBC has been roundly criticized by many pundits and bloggers for its coverage of the Games, the BBC’s multi-screen coverage, as the NY Times pointed out, has given the world (those who can watch) a glimpse into the future of TV coverage.