Cape Town - As the world prepares for the London 2012 Olympics, about one third of Europeans will watch the showcase event online, a survey has found.
According to Riverbed Technology, the company that commissioned the research, the Men's 100m sprint final is most likely to be watched online according to 51% of respondents, followed by the Men's 100m freestyle swimming event and Men's Football Final.
With costs for high-speed broadband decreasing in developed markets, more users are turning to online platforms for video content and about 3 500 people were surveyed in the research.
"Europeans are changing their viewing habits. And global sporting events like Olympic Games often create traffic spikes as people use their PCs, laptops or mobile devices to watch their favourite athletes, get real-time updates on events, and purchase event-related merchandise," said Apurva Davé, vice president of products, Stingray Business Unit at Riverbed.
The company warned that streaming websites such YouTube should be prepared for the demand.
"Organisations must take extra measures to meet the demand spike created by the Olympics. If they do not, and their websites are not responsive at peak times, then they could see their viewers giving up and choosing to watch the Games through other means instead," said Davé.
A Pew Research Centre's Project for Excellence in Journalism study found in July that viewers are increasingly turning to YouTube as a source for news.
In particular, the study highlighted that citizens contributed significantly to news content.
Google-owned YouTube has been on a drive to create channels aligned to broadcasters and deliver premium content as it extends its reach and share of advertising revenue.
The Riverbed survey found that online viewers were unable to tolerate more than two minutes of streaming delays before moving to a different source.
The research was conducted in April 2012 and with respondents in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands.