Transnational comparisons can be dicey, and Web metrics are a mess in China. Still, one thing seems certain: China’s state television, CCTV, racked up more Web traffic during the games than anyone else.
Analytics firm Webtrends estimates that CCTV.com averaged 6 million unique visitors a day during the games, compared to 4.7 million to Yahoo’s Olympic channel and 4.3 million to NBCOlympics.com, according to Nielsen Online.
That’s not too big a surprise: the Chinese were pretty proud of their first Olympics, and China has four times the population of the U.S. China’s Internet population, however, (250 million), is comparable to the U.S. (223 million).
It should also be noted that CCTV’s video feed was widely pirated, and those viewers aren’t included in Webtrends’ stats.
What’s more suprising: the state-run TV network actually aired more live coverage of the Olympics online than NBC. CCTV.com aired 3,800 hours of live Olympics coverage online, compared to NBCU’s 2,200 hours of live streaming. Visitors to CCTV.com spent an average of 11.5 minutes there during the games.