Rio 2016: Swimming, archery get high viewership in opening week

NEW DELHI: India may not have a Michael Phelps, rather one doesn’t remember if an Indian swimmer even participated in Rio, but surprisingly swimming garnered maximum viewership of 30.8 (000) Impressions in the initial days of Olympics 2016.

According to BARC data for the period of August 6-12, 2016, swimming topped the list of Top 10 watched events/disciplines (basis sum of normalized impressions across 30 min) across the nine SD and HD TV channels of Star Sports and Doordrashan (TG: All India, 4+).

The swimming discipline was followed by archery in the second spot as the most watched sports/discipline in India, though this could be understood as the Indian women’s team, lead by world champ Deepika Kumari, was expected to win a medal in the team and individual sections at Rio.

Despite the fact the Indian men and women archers failed to shoot themselves to the medal podium, but viewership was an impressive 24.2 (000) Impressions; probably because in the land of Arjun and Karna, master mythological archers, archery is an attractive sport. 000 is the number of individuals (in 000s) of a target audience who viewed an "event", averaged across minutes. This is what is also known as TVT (Television Viewership in Thousands), according to BARC responsible for TV audience measurement in India.

Though PV Sindhu (silver medalist in the women’s section at Rio) was probably just starting her campaign at the Olympics during the period under review, but the presence of bigger stars like Saina Nehawal, Jwala Gutta, K. Srikanth, etc gave badminton the No. 3 spot in terms of viewership with 9.3 (000) Impressions.

It would be worthwhile to see the viewership figures for the women’s final match played on August 19, 2016 as and when BARC comes out with its data as facing a dismal Olympics 2016 campaign, the whole of India was rooting for the lanky Sindhu to win the yellow metal. Ditto for Sakshi Malik’s wrestling matches where India finally ended up getting a bronze medal courtesy a 23-year-old woman hailing from a patriarchal State of Haryana.  

Interestingly, the Indian men’s hockey match against Canada, which ended in a draw, pulled in 9.1 Impressions in terms of viewership. But when before this match, India had played Ireland in the opener and won, the audience was a low 5.7 Impressions.

BARC’s Week 32 data on Rio 2016 telecast also highlights that telecast across nine channels for a cumulative 950 hours in the period 6-12 August garnered 210.9 million Impressions.

The opening ceremony garnered 0.5 million Impressions across all the 9 channels.

(Note: The viewership data corresponds to specific duration of the event/discipline and not a particular time band.)

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