The Olympics proved to be ratings gold for Prime TV, with an extraordinary 83% of New Zealanders over the age of 5 tuning into the free-to-air channel’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.
That equates to 3,382,000 Kiwis glued to their screens throughout the 17-day sporting spectacle.
“In total, Prime aired 374 hours of Olympics coverage throughout the Games – 70% more than TV One’s 218 hours for the 2008 Beijing Olympics,” says John Fellet, chief executive of SKY TV, which owns Prime.
The highest one-off ratings came during our “golden hour” on Friday, 3 August, when rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray and single sculler Mahe Drysdale won their events.
“At 10.45pm on that Friday night, 534,300 viewers aged 5+ stopped whatever else they were doing to watch our athletes get gold,” says Fellet.
During the Olympics, Prime’s average audience overall was 4.5 times higher than in the four week period prior to the Games.
Prime News increased its audience by 60% (while both ONE News and 3 News suffered audience and share losses) and The Crowd Goes Wild attracted record viewers during the Games, averaging a 360% increase.
Fellet says SKY is also thrilled that its SportConnect athletes did so well in London. SKY works with former gold medallist Hamish Carter and his wife Marisa to run the SportConnect programme which links major SKY advertisers with athletes of their choice. SKY donates $20,000 a year per athlete to help them pursue their sporting careers.
“In particular, Lisa Carrington’s gold in the K1 200 had SKY staff, Hamish and Marisa leaping for joy.”
Fellet says SportConnect funding will be even more important now, given the limited government funding available to athletes.
“If we want New Zealand to equal or better our record 13 medal haul in four years’ time in Rio, we need to support our up-and-coming athletes via programmes like SportConnect.”