Measuring viewer behaviour during the Paralympics 2012

By Max Willey

During the course of the 2012 Paralympics, Channel 4 broadcast over 500 hours of footage and widely promoted the coverage on all their channels. Channel 4 were keen to know how their Paralympic coverage was being received by viewers as it was broadcast.

To measure this audience response while the coverage was ongoing, BVA BDRC fed results back to Channel 4 on a daily basis. The study focussed on viewer perceptions of Paralympics and people with disabilities, viewing behaviour, perceptions of presenters and the extent to which the LEXI system was understood. Altogether, the study interviewed 1833 UK adults who watched at least 20 minutes of coverage, and the sample was carefully monitored to ensure a mix of daytime and evening coverage viewers.

The study found that for half of viewers this was the first Paralympics they had ever watched and over half watched more than they had originally intended to. The vast majority enjoyed the fact there were disabled presenters and Channel 4 was able to use this information to further develop opportunities for disabled talent across its channels. Overall, BVA BDRC’s research showed that the UK had never been so interested in the Paralympics before, and that Channel 4’s coverage had vastly improved perceptions of disabled sport and people with disabilities.

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