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Tokyo Olympics Drive Surge in Downloads of Streaming Apps

Jul 30 2021

2020 tokyo olympic


Video dominates the internet, so much so that Cisco has predicted that 82% of all IP traffic will be video by 2022. COVID-19 has goosed that growth. Streaming video, especially to mobile, is globally essential for work, entertainment, and health. 

At the peak of the lockdown, mobile networks held up remarkably well to the strain of additional data traffic, as work-from-home data usage spiked dramatically. For instance, AT&T reported a 22% increase in its core network traffic and a 30% increase in wireless voice minutes. The new combined T-Mobile/Sprint saw mobile hotspot usage spike 60%, while tethering was up 57% for T-Mobile and 70% for Sprint. 

Executives in the booming streaming media business expect strong growth again in 2021 and are looking to make changes to attract additional viewers and make more money, according to a new report from ASO World.

Sports streaming apps

Over the last decade, the consumption of streaming content worldwide has increased. However, the global lockdown forced people to stay indoors, which resulted in a sudden spike in their TV screen time. In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic in late 2019 people are glued to their TV and mobile devices more than ever, consuming streaming content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO MAX, Disney+, etc.

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Olympic-related apps have seen significant bumps in downloads

The Olympics have traditionally drawn large crowds of spectators. The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro drew over 500,000 in-person spectators and an average of 27.5 million primetime viewers in the United States alone. Since no fans are allowed in the stadiums this year, we expect usage on Olympic-related apps, like the official IOC Olympics app and Peacock (with exclusive streaming rights in the U.S.) to be on the rise. 

Growth in downloads

Which fans were the most enthusiastic during the first 3 days of the 2020 Olympics? We took a look at the percentage growth in downloads during these first few days compared to the lead up to the event. Gold goes to China, with a growth of 2270% in downloads, followed by South Korea for Silver and India for Bronze.

Over the last 2 months, the IOC 2020 Olympics app has seen a steady rise up the downloads rankings as the world gears up for the games, with the biggest surge to date on Sunday July 25, 2021 at 325,000 daily downloads. 

Since the opening ceremony, downloads of the Eurosport app in Europe increased 1040%, while in the United Kingdom, the BBC Sport saw a 100% jump in new downloads. In Russia, downloads of Olympic related apps launched on July 16, 2021 and peak daily downloads from July 23 - 25, 2021 grew 1305% compared to the daily average of its first week on the app stores. In Japan, where the Games are hosted, the NHK app ranked #11 on the most downloaded apps during July 23 - 25, 2021, up 79 ranks from the aggregate of 3 days prior.

Mautilus, a Czech program development company, together with Slovak Telekom, the largest Slovak telecom operator, launched the first commercial 4K streaming app in Central and Eastern Europe, an app with Olympic product content.

This APP offers live channels from the Rio Olympics and since it has a bandwidth requirement of 10 Mbps, it uses an internet speed detection device to modulate the streaming quality (HD or 4k) for the user.

The streams of this new APP are produced using the MPEG-DASH standard of HEVC video codec, being single bit rate and single resolution. All users in Slovakia will be able to use this APP to watch the Olympic Games on their Samsung Tizen TVs.

Petr Mazanec, CTO of Mautilus, commented on the project saying, "We always want to create something new and push the limits of technology, so we created 4k streaming of the Olympic content."

Tomas Sustr, Senior Designer at Slovak Telekom, said, "Producing the Olympic project in 4K streaming was actually quite challenging, but Mautilus managed to handle everything well and now this app is exactly what we wanted."

COVID-19 restrictions

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are games like no other. With Covid restrictions in place and fans barred from the stadiums, the need for mobile apps to stay connected with favorite athletes and watch competitions has skyrocketed. 

Since the opening ceremony on July 23, Olympic-related apps have seen significant bumps in downloads as fans from around the world tune in to cheer on their home country.

As millions of Americans adjusted to working from home and distance learning due to COVID-19, in-home data usage spiked. We can see from Comscore’s Total Home Panel that average in-home data consumption was up 33 percent over the first ten days of May 2020 vs. the same amount of time in May 2019 (May 1-10, 2020 vs. May 1-10, 2019). And this comes after 36 percent and 28 percent year over year jumps in April and March 2020, respectively. 

The devices driving this growth from a year on year change perspective have been smart TVs, mobile phones, streaming boxes/sticks, and smart speakers.

Average data usage by device

We were already seeing double digit year over year growth in february and early march 2020, but once states began issuing stay-at-home orders, in-home consumption saw rapid growth. Usage remained strong through the week of april 20, but we have since witnessed a decline in data consumption over the past couple weeks, possibly due to some states easing their social distancing protocols.

Daily in-home data usage

When it comes to viewing entertainment through devices like streaming boxes/sticks and smart t vs, the “big 5” streaming services still account for the majority of total ott hours streamed at home – upwards of 80 percent. 

However, the last two months saw shifts in how much services engaged their viewers. Netflix, amazon prime video, and disney+ saw growth in share of streaming hours between the week of may 11 vs. february 3. and, while disney+ currently holds a smaller share of streaming hours among the "big 5", it is worthwhile to note that it is nearly two times larger than the next largest video-oriented ott app offering in terms of streaming hours.

Consumers choose mobile over tv


40% more hours streamed on mobile

Time spent in streaming apps peaked in q2 2020 in the west as the first wave of covid-19 forced people inside.

Even while at home, consumers turned to the small screens -- to stream content or engage in second-screening.

By 2021 and in the new normal, the average mobile streamer in the us, south korea and the uk will download 85%, 80% and 60% more video streaming apps, respectively, compared to pre-pandemic levels.


Streaming apps with exclusive rights

On a global scale, streaming apps with exclusive rights to the olympics have seen significant traction during the games’ first week. Sony liv in india saw the most downloads followed by peacock tv in the us.

Per capita watch the olympic games live and video up to 45 minutes per day

Different from previous years, the olympic games met the "first year of live", and mobile live broadcast became the most important part of olympic media coverage with a new news carrier identity.

As the first big event live test after the release of news live strategy, during the rio olympics, news olympic related live broadcast totaled 1143 hours, and users watched olympic live broadcast and video up to 45 minutes per day per capita, and the user stickiness was superior in the industry.

In addition to the live broadcast of the event, many channels of entertainment, fashion, finance and tourism jointly invited celebrities from various fields to sit in and interpret the olympics from different angles. Live programs such as "olympic afternoon tea" have become an indispensable content feast for netizens in between the events. In addition, a number of pgc live programs such as chat ball bar also shone during the olympic games, combining hot topics and exploding chat rooms many times.


Post-90s users have the highest loyalty


The study shows that among active users of mainstream news and information apps, streaming app has the highest user preference rate, with 75% of users taking netease news as their first choice for olympic information. The satisfaction rate of post-90s users with streaming app is 8.34, the highest in the industry, and most post-90s users think streaming app is an "influential" news and information app.

The young users favor streaming app not only because of the innovative reading attempt to break the traditional olympic coverage framework, but also because of the "gamer" culture of the new generation of netizens. As the olympic games entered the era of mobile interaction, the demand for event guessing and competitive games exploded among young users.

The total pv of interactive games during the news olympic games reached 283 million, and the user participation of the game "king of movers and shakers" reached 12.17 million.

U.S. TV viewers watch olympics opening ceremony at 33-year low streaming audience grows

Reference news service reported on july 25 that preliminary data released by nbc universal media, a subsidiary of comcast corporation, showed that the opening ceremony of the tokyo olympics broadcast by nbc attracted 16.7 million u.s. television viewers, the smallest number of u.s. television viewers to watch the event in the past 33 years, according to reuters.

The tokyo olympics opening ceremony reportedly drew 37 percent fewer tv viewers than in 2016, when 26.5 million people watched the opening ceremony of the rio games, and 59 percent fewer than in 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the opening ceremony of the london games.

The company said in an email that a total of 17 million people watched the opening ceremony on various platforms, including nbc olympics.Com and the nbc sports application, the report added. 

The number of viewers streaming on these platforms increased 76 percent over the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and 72 percent over the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics, reflecting changing viewing habits.



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