Heavy Use of Social Media Seen for Olympics: Survey

Expectations that the 2012 London Olympics will be the first big social media Olympic Games were highlighted Monday with the release of a new survey from TechBargains.com that found 87% of respondents were planning to use social media or text friends about the Games.

The heaviest social media usage was expected to be on Facebook, where 77% said they would interact with Facebook the most while watching the Olympics, followed by Twitter (31%), texting friends (29%), YouTube (28%), Google+ (20%) and Pinterest (6%).

About 57% of people said they would be using their laptop to interact with social media while watching the Olympics Games.

The survey also found that more people are planning to buy electronic devices in the run-up to the Games, with 16% reporting that they planned to buy a device to watch the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, up from 13% for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

While only 9% of respondents plan to buy TVs for the Olympic Games, higher rates were found for people under 30- years-old. Those over 60-years-old were least likely to purchase a new TV for the Olympics this year.

In terms of viewing the Games, the survey found that 94% plan to watch the Games on TV, while 46% will watch on laptops, 39% on desktops, 31% on tablets and 27% on smartphones. About 38% plan to use a DVR to catch some of the action.

As in earlier years, the overwhelming majority (97%) plan to watch at home, but about one in five will be viewing at work, 28% will watch it at a restaurant or bar and 4% will watch at school. Overall, respondents said they planned to watch an average of 6.7 hours of Olympic events during the week and 5.6 hours during the weekend.

The survey also found strong interest in 3D with about half saying they would watch the Olympics in 3D if they had the right equipment, though actual viewing levels will be much lower because many don't have 3D sets.

"The 2012 Summer London Olympics are introducing the 3D TV experience to sporting events, something that has yet to be done on such a large scale," said Yung Trang, president and editor in chief of TechBargains.com in a statement. "While the results indicate that not many people will actually be watching the events via a 3D TV, it's simply because they don't have access to the proper entertainment system and not because of a lack of interest. This is also the first Olympic games since social media use has become widespread. Both factors have serious implications for all national and international sports organizations and will dramatically affect the viewer experience."

The survey was conducted on TechBargains.com and results were based on 1,330 respondents.