Let the Net Games begin

After a slow start, New Zealand Web surfers are flocking to sites on the Olympic Games, according to the Nielsen//NetRatings Web Olympics Index.

After a slow start, New Zealand Web surfers are flocking to sites on the Olympic Games, according to the Nielsen//NetRatings Web Olympics Index.

Covering 15 countries, The Nielsen//NetRatings Web Olympics Index provides a daily snapshot of Web traffic to Olympics and related sites every 24 hours. The service is provided by ACNielsen eRatings.com, Nielsen Media

Research and NetRatings.

Brian Milnes, managing director of ACNielsen eRatings.com Pacific says three weeks ago, the official games site olympics.com did not register among the top New Zealand domains but in the week ending September 17, it drew an audience of more than 20,000 people. This was after the opening ceremony and two days of competition.

Other sites offering news of the games are enjoying a similar response. In the week ending September 3, the One olympics site on the nzoom domain generated 2% of total traffic in the week, but a week later that figure was up to 24%. By the start of the games on September 17, Olympic pages were not only generating 43% of the domain's traffic but also contributing to a total growth in the unique audience going to nzoom of almost 50% in three weeks.

The same growth was shown on the New Zealand Herald site, www.nzherald.co.nz. In the week up to September 3 the site's Olympics pages generated just 2.5% of the audience. A week later that had grown to 9.5%, and by September 17 was attracting 16% of the site's audience, Milnes says. The total site audience was up 25% over the three week period.

Milnes says in the United States Internet audiences have had some wins over television viewers on account of the delayed telecast due to the time difference.

Reflecting prevailing Internet use patterns the Olympics sites show a slight skew towards males, and towards people with higher educational and occupational status and to full time students.

"Specifically, when examining the demographics of olympics.com the single biggest group has been aged 35-49, accounting for 29% of the site's audience. But kids aged under 11 ran a good second, with 19% of the audience.

"The numbers of children are significantly higher than I would have expected, but that may be because there are some very good games pages inside the olympics.com site," Milnes says.

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