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BBC hails golden Olympics as half of UK hits its website

More than half the country checked out the BBC's online Olympic coverage, with over 100 million videos watched during the Games.

The BBC is rejoicing in a magnificent Olympics for its online services, with a staggering 37 million people looking at the BBC Sports page during the Games -- more than half of the population of the UK. A whopping 23.8m watched digitally via the Red Button in the first week alone.

For the first time it was a real multi-screen Olympics, with the cool chart below showing how fans watching their heroes almost equally across computer, smart TV, mobile phone and tablet.

BBC Olympics device chart

Computer use peaked during the day, while people skived off work to check out some horse dancing or sword fighting, with tablets taking off at bed time so outrageous feats of gymnastics could be enjoyed under the duvet.

The first big Saturday of the Games, when Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah were doing their golden thing, was huge for phone and tablet users, with over 3.5m mobile devices browsing the BBC. Murray's shining moment was the most watched single stream of the Games, with 820,000 requests, out of 106m in total.

"On the busiest day, the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won Gold and we shifted 700Gbps," boasts Cait O'Riordan, the BBC's head of product for sport and 2012 (not the one from The Pogues). Nearly 2m people downloaded the BBC Olympics app on Android and iOS.

It's fair to note that traditional TV dwarfed these figures, with 51.9m people watching at least 15 minutes of Olympics coverage -- 90 per cent of the population.

The BBC took pride in delivering all 24 streams of the Olympic Broadcasting Service's official coverage, and audiences made the most of them online, on the app and on Sky.

"The BBC's promise was to deliver coverage of every sport from every venue, and we certainly achieved this with our digital coverage," writes O'Riordan. "From the blue ribbon events like the 100m final all the way to the first taekwondo heats, the multi-faceted entirety of the Olympics was available to watch throughout the day across online and Red Button."

Footage of the Olympics will remain on the BBC website until January, when the International Olympic Committee, which owns the rights, says it must come down, according to O'Riordan. The BBC owns the footage of the torch relay that wended its cheery way around the country before the Games, so that will stay up permanently.

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