#NBCFail Fails: Less Than 0.5% of the 150 Million Olympic Related Tweets Included Hashtag

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

August 14th, 2012

via press release:

8/14/2012 05:32

Olympics Coverage More Social than Super Bowl, Grammys, Oscars, Golden Globes and all 7 games of World Series Combined

99% of All Social TV Buzz between 7pm-Midnight Attributed to Primetime Olympics Coverage

NEW YORK – August 14, 2012 – The London 2012 Olympic Games not only generated record television viewership (219.4 million viewers) and digital traffic (nearly two billion page views and 159.3 million video streams), but also unprecedented social media chatter, making them the most social Games ever for NBC Olympics. According to social media research company Bluefin Labs, NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Games were more social than the 2012 Super Bowl, the 2012 Grammys, 2012 Oscars, 2012 Golden Globes and all seven games of the 2011 World Series combined. Bluefin also concluded that 99% of all social TV buzz between the hours of 7 p.m. through midnight was attributable to NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage of the Games.

NBC Olympics partnered with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Shazam to promote its coverage of the Games onto these popular social media platforms. It also populated Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, and GetGlue with Olympic content. These social media partnerships and efforts allowed NBC Olympics to communicate directly with fans of the Olympics and celebrate the Games with viewers in new and unique ways.

“Actively joining the social conversation through our partnerships with these platforms, as well as calling out Olympic social trends and highlights in our linear television coverage, aided us in reassembling the ever fragmenting media audience, most notably among that elusive younger demographic,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “Going into the Games, our social media goal was to be the life of the big Olympic viewing parties thrown by Facebook and Twitter over the 17 days of the Games…it appears we succeeded.”

Following are social media research highlights for the 2012 London Olympics as provided by NBCUniversal, Facebook, Twitter and Shazam as well as social media research companies Bluefin Labs, uSamp, Insight Express and Social Q:

From Bluefin Labs

  • Over the 17 days of the Games, there were nearly 83M social comments in total, 36M of which were driven by NBCU telecasts.
  • The Olympics telecasts were more social than the 2012 Super Bowl, 2012 Grammys, 2012 Oscars, 2012 Golden Globes, and all seven games of the 2011 World Series combined (36.0M vs. 32.7M).
  • The Olympics completely dominated the primetime social TV conversation. Over the 17 days of the Games between the hours of 7pm and midnight, 99% of all social TV buzz was attributed to the primetime Olympics telecasts.
  • The 17 days of the Olympics drove 2.4M new people to join in the social TV conversation, making the Olympics the single-largest driver of social TV conversation of all time, more than 2x the Super Bowl, which drove approximately 1M new people to join in the social TV conversation). Note: this is normalized for the baseline organic growth over that period.
  • Highest Daily 24-7 Olympics buzz: Sunday August 12, 11.4M comments Opening Ceremony telecast, with 5M total comments, was the most social Friday TV event of all time.
  • In total, there were more than 82M comments on Twitter and public Facebook about the Olympics from July 27 through Aug 12. To equate this figure to other major multi-day social TV events, this is:
    • More than 10x the social buzz for the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV (7.69M across 67 telecasts)
    • More than 4x the social telecast buzz for the 2012 NBA Finals on ABC (19.1M across five telecasts)


According to Facebook, there are more than 101M fans on Olympics-related pages. During the Games, those pages increased by 12.2M fans.

  • Facebook also saw over 100M Olympic-related posts or comments during the course of the Games.
  • According to Twitter, there were more than 150M Olympic-related tweets.
  • Less than 0.5% of those included #NBCFail
  • According to Shazam, there were several million interactions with their app and the Shazam-enabled NBC Olympics broadcast.



86% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games agree that “There was a lot of buzz about these Olympics”

  • ·  75% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games say they read comments about the Olympics
  • ·  54% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games say they read comments from friends and family about the Olympics
  • ·  The vast majority of social media comments posted by friends/family or by the respondents were positive

9 in 10 reported that friends/family comments on social media were mostly positive (vs. 2% mostly negative)

  • ·  9 in 10 reported that their own comments on social media about the Olympics were mostly positive (vs. 2% mostly negative)
  • ·  Comments by friends/family members about the Olympics on social media was the top source of social media Olympic buzz, followed by posts by Olympic athletes and news/media organizations.

74% Agree “Seeing Olympic athletes post on social media makes the Olympics feel more personal”

  • ·  67% Agree “Posts about the Olympics on social media get me excited about Olympic sporting events”
  • ·  36% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games reported that they used social media more often during these Olympics than they normally do (only 7% reported using social media less often as a result of the Olympics)
  • ·  66% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games this Summer report, “I am following these Summer Olympics on social media more often than I did for prior Olympic Games”

Note: Online survey conducted on Saturday, August 11, 2012 among 1,204 A13-54 social media users, who watched NBCU’s coverage of the Olympics

Insight Express:


48% engaged with social networking about the Olympics during an event, 28% before and 68% after the event took place.

  • ·  All devices were used to engage with social media around the London 2012 Games

36% Desktop/PC

  • ·  40% Laptop
  • ·  27% Mobile phone
  • ·  12% iPad or Tablet
  • ·  2% Gaming Console
  • ·  Which of the following sites have you visited or do you plan to visit for Olympics information or to talk about the Olympics?

30% visited Facebook for Olympics information or to talk about the Olympics (up from 11% in Vancouver)

  • ·  12% visited Twitter for Olympics information or to talk about the Olympics (up from 4% in Vancouver
  • ·  NBCOlymipcs.com users interacted with the London 2012 Olympics via a variety of social networking methods.

36% Visit on Facebook

  • ·  24% Follow on Twitter
  • ·  27% Texting on a mobile device
  • ·  21% Tweet, post or share content while watching the Games
  • ·  21% Tweet, post or share content related to the Games but not when watching
  • ·  20% Check-in while watching (i.e. Get Glue, Foursquare)
  • ·  14% Earn social rewards related to the Olympics (i.e. badges, points, levels)
  • ·  7% Use the Shazam app for a custom NBC Olympics Shazam experience
  • ·  App and WAP site users were socially engaged with 4% of actively sharing content via email, Facebook, Twitter.

Source: NBCOlymipcs.com, Live Extra, Uber and WAP Exploratories; 07/27-08/12/12; Insight Express

Social Q

  • Visitors to NBCOlympics.com were seven times more likely to have been a fan of the NBC Olympics on Facebook than an average person on Facebook.
  • More than 70% of the fans of NBC Olympics on Facebook visit NBCOlymics.com once or more a day.

Source: NBCOlympics.com Site Exploratory; 07/27-8/12/12; Social Q integration



  • hope

    #NBCFail — maybe failed

    #NBCFall — failed

  • Mega64

    150 million * 0.5% = 750k tweets with the hash tag.

    Not sure if that’s a significant number, just putting things into perspective.

  • hope

    actually with the voice and football…

    #NBCFall — successful

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Mega: less than 750,000 and that seems pretty insignificant to me over a two week period, especially if you consider there were multiple tweets w/it from the same people (eg if 75,000 people used it 10x). Compared to the overall number of Olympic-related tweets, it doesn’t seem that big. And it seems even smaller when you consider that there were 50 million fewer tweets about the Olympics (according to Twitter) than there were viewers who watched some of NBC’s Olympic coverage (according to Nielsen).

  • Oliver

    Such a weird spin. The Olympics are a global event and Twitter is a global website. You’d expect only a tiny minority of people tweeting about the Olympics to be watching on NBC.

  • Jason

    Not every tweet about how poorly Olympic coverage was going was ever going to include #NBCFail. For example, NBC was allowed to trend by Twitter, but if you looked into the trend, many of those people were tweeting negative things.

    Plus, were the number of Tweets worldwide or just in the U.S.? In other words, why would someone in Russia or India be tweeting about NBC?

    Finally, considering that NBC and Twitter entered into a “partnership” with these games, how can we truly take Twitter at its word that it is reporting these numbers accurately?

  • Oliver

    @Robert Seidman

    Two things.

    First, the minority of people watching the Olympics are watching on NBC. It’s the biggest event in the world. Do people from Britain care about the #nbcfail? I suspect not.

    Secondly, all social networks have fewer contributors than readers. Look towards TVBTN’s analytics and compare it to the number of commenters.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Oliver: all true and there is no doubt that of the less than 750,000 tweets, more than 750,000 people saw those tweets. But tempests in teapots still spring to mind.

  • Derrick


    ” Plus, were the number of Tweets worldwide or just in the U.S.? In other words, why would someone in Russia or India be tweeting about NBC? ”

    I saw about 10 tweets from British people attacking NBC for not covering the Olympics live.

  • koah

    I think it’s important to note that NBC censored a lot of the posts/comments about how horrible they were doing. I watched their Facebook page for a while and would notice a post about their terrible coverage, then it would be gone a few minutes later. How skewed are the numbers in light of this?

  • Flame

    They actually compare a 16 week event with several single day ones, and pride themselves that they actually generate 4 million more comments than the world series, which ran 9 days shorter?

  • Flame

    Make that 16 day. ;)

  • Simon Jester

    Yeah, a lot of people watched the Olympics on NBC — that’s what having a monopoly on the broadcast does — and discussed it on-line. Doesn’t that mean the network should be somehow absolved from all faults? That they should make an effort to improve their coverage for 2016? Not remotely.

  • Chana

    Considering that NBC did make subtle changes in their Olympic coverage as the event progressed, I’d say the campaign was more effective than NBC wants to admit.

  • Tim

    Let me get get this straight. So… What NBC seems to be saying via a very long winded press release is: Na Na Nuh Na Na!

  • Dave

    Considering they will be in Rio on 2016, it will hopefully be less #NBCFail and more #NBCFTW since they are just 1 hour ahead of Eastern time.

    West coast folks will still get a tape delay :(

    That should allow them to air more events closer to real time than before without affecting their advertising dollars.

  • Chris

    Say what you want about how NBC covered these Olympics, but I feel like NBC did a smart thing in tape delaying big events to primetime. Live or not, it’s when most people are going to be home to watch. You see, a lot of events took place while here in the States, people were at work and thus couldn’t really watch because it would distract them from work. Also, the younger generation is accustomed to being spoiled because that generation is used to using the internet and looking on many sites at once, and I’m among that group since I’m 23. At least I was able to take comfort in watching the events having already known the outcome. I hope you get used to tape delay, because the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will take place NINE hours ahead of New York, and a whopping TWELVE hours ahead of Los Angeles.

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