IBM heads Olympic hit list

Despite the attraction of live TV Olympic coverage, the internet is still grabbing Australian viewers' attention in a big way, with the IBM-hosted official site, olympics.com, quadrupling its monthly traffic over the previous four months from 36,000 to 180,000 unique visitors.

In fact, Australian web traffic to the official Olympics website has almost doubled since the start of the Games on Friday night.

In the days since the opening ceremony, the IBM-hosted site has continued to increase its dominance as the key "go to" site for Australians looking for Olympic information and content, Nielsen//NetRatings monitoring has shown.

By Monday, the site had increased its page view numbers by 45 per cent to 1.069 million and had increased the time spent online per person from 8.5 minutes to 9.3 minutes, Nielsen//NetRatings reported.

Total page views for the top 10 Olympic sites for global users in the 24 hours to midnight Sydney time on the evening of the opening ceremony ranged from 3200 pages at the Japanese site sydney2k.lycos.co.jp to 964,000 pages for olympics.com, said Brian Milnes, managing director of ACNielsen eRatings.com Pacific.

"Time spent online per person ranged from just under one minute at some sites to more than eight minutes at the BBC's site. Page views per person topped out at 20 pages for olympic.org," Milnes said.

The global monitoring showed that the "stickiest" site for Australian web users was fanmail.olympic.ibm.com, which allows users to send good luck messages to athletes. Users remained on this site -- which ranked number three in total page views -- for an average of 11.2 minutes.

Before the Sydney Games even started they were expected to be the "Internet Olympics". Pre-Games surveys by America Online subsidiary Digital Marketing Services showed that almost 73 per cent of internet users planned to go online to obtain information about the Games, even though only 33 per cent of them had previously used the internet for such purposes.

And those early forecasts have proved to be correct, except for an initial dip in activity during the opening ceremony as Australian viewers turned off their browsers and switched on their television sets, according to figures released by Nielsen//NetRatings.

The internet measuring company has been monitoring Olympics traffic in 14 countries worldwide. The Nielsen//NetRatings Web Olympics Index is measuring online user activity across more than 250 Olympics and related sites in Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US.

Figures from Nielsen//NetRatings for September 17 show that the top six sites visited by Australian web users for Olympics information are:

1. olympics.com with 1.069 million total page views.

2. olympics.com.au with 194,250 total page views.

3. fanmail.olympic.ibm.com with 27,450 total page views.

4. gamesinfo.com.au with 25,100 total page views.

5. espn.go.com with 11,100 total page views.

6. olympics.sportsline.com with 10,530 total page views.

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