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Rio Was All Digital, All the Time

From Simone Biles's incredible routines to Usain Bolt's lightning sprints to Michael Phelps's record-shattering gold medal performances, Rio was packed with excitement. Yet there's been a lot of press coverage highlighting how the number of people watching the games on linear TV declined vs. prior years, typically by a 10-20% average.

In reality, what we experienced is the new viewing model that's taking hold. For Rio, it was immersive digital experiences, all the time. That's particularly true in high-viewing regions, like the U.S., where just a week into the action, viewers had streamed over 2 billion minutes of video. To be sure, that doesn't make any statement about the linear TV experience, but it does suggest something more fundamental in how the games will be viewed going forward.

These past few years have witnessed the explosion of connected TV and mobile devices along with the proliferation of high-quality video available online. As a result, linear TV viewing for all types of content has shifted to on-demand consumption. This is especially true for millennials and younger viewers. 

While the summer games are still the greatest quadrennial sports spectacle, what we're witnessing is that even they are not immune to the underlying behavioral changes that are occurring. When so many of us have a multitude of options to catch that amazing moment wherever we are, it's no surprise we may stray from the living room with the confidence that we won't miss a thing. We still get to cheer on our favorite athletes; and now we have even more control over how, where and when we do.

Here at Akamai, we're excited about the shifts in viewership and the role we're playing in supporting them. We know that fans won't settle for lower quality on whatever device they've chosen. So we've invested heavily in ensuring that HD-quality streams are delivered beautifully by the 50+ global broadcasters and partners we worked with. With the record-breaking streaming we saw over our network during the games, we're confident we're on the right track.

Visit www.akamai.com/everysecondcounts for more Brazil Games related content.

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