Discovery Nets 212 Million European Viewers for Winter Olympics

Olympics Skiing

Opening-weekend events from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have been viewed by 212 million people across Europe, according to figures released Wednesday by Discovery Networks International. The media giant, which nabbed European broadcast rights to the Olympics in a $1.4 billion deal in 2015, announced its first set of Total Video metrics, which capture audience engagement across all platforms including Discovery’s pan-European sports network Eurosport and its Eurosport Player app.

The results show a total of 373 million hours of video was watched across Europe during the first weekend of coverage from Pyeongchang. This was consumed by an average free-to-air and pay-TV audience of 186 million, with another 26 million users engaging via social and digital platforms. Nearly 88 million people across Europe watched the opening ceremony last Friday (Feb. 9) across all platforms.

“From the beginning, Discovery set an ambitious vision to bring the Olympic Games to more people across more screens in Europe than ever before,” said Jean-Briac Perrette, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International, in a statement. “This new approach required a new way of capturing a more accurate picture of fan engagement and we are excited to announce our first set of Total Video metrics.”

Discovery’s Total Video system is similar to NBC’s Total Audience Delivery metric used to capture a complete view of the U.S. audience for the Games, whether viewing via television, online, social platforms or connected devices.

Among individual territory viewing Discovery saw its Kanal 5 in Sweden claim a 73% audience share on Saturday (Feb. 10) – the highest ever achieved by the 30-year-old channel – as Swedish cross-country skier Charlotte Skalla claimed the Games’ first gold medal in the women’s skiathlon.

Norway, which claimed nine medals in the first weekend of competition, saw more than 3 million of its citizens tune in via Eurosport and other Discovery carriers on Sunday (Feb. 11). The company’s TVNorge saw its highest-ever audience share, hitting 90%, for the men’s 10 km sprint biathlon final.

Discovery Germany also hit an all-time best as nearly 2 million users tuned in across all platforms, aided by Andreas Wellinger’s gold medal triumph in the men’s ski jump final on Saturday.

“We are very encouraged by the early results and are finding great value in this new and more comprehensive way to capture Total Video consumption and engagement,” added Perrette.