The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games produced a strong set of viewing figures for Discovery, the US media giant which holds pan-European linear and streaming rights to the games.

Over 156 million European viewers visited Discovery’s various online platforms during the games, for a total of over 1 billion streaming minutes consumed, the company reported today (February 23).

The Discovery+ and Eurosport streaming services, both of which covered the games live on the continent, secured eight times more viewers on average during Beijing 2022 than during the last Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang in 2018, while average consumption levels per individual viewer also rose significantly, doubling to more than seven hours per viewer.

Discovery holds rights in 50 European countries for four editions of the Olympics (both winter and summer) running from 2018 to 2024 through a €1.3-billion ($1.5-billion) deal struck in 2015.

On linear TV, meanwhile, viewers also watched longer stints, by 24%, than for Pyeongchang 2018, as the Beijing games ran between February 4 and 20.

In terms of specific countries, high audience shares for specific events for Discovery’s free-to-air networks came in Norway (88%), Sweden (83%), and Finland (82%). 

Eurosport also secured significant audience growth in markets such as Italy (250%), Poland (36%), and Romania (23%).

Jean-Briac Perrette, Discovery Streaming and International’s president and chief executive, said: “The Winter Olympics has proven to be a terrific success for discovery+ and all our channels and platforms across Europe. Discovery is leading the way in building global scale in streaming whilst also maintaining strength in traditional television viewership, significantly outperforming the market across both.”

Andrew Georgiou, Discovery’s president of sports, added: “It is a winning formula as we utilize our unrivaled scale across every platform, maximizing reach and giving consumers the ability to watch wherever they choose.”

Meanwhile, CBC, the Canadian public service broadcaster, also secured strong ratings for its coverage of the games.

The network has claimed that over 70% of Canadians at some point tuned in to its coverage of the Beijing event, with CBC reporting that it delivered the “highest all-day audience share” of any English-language network across all 16 days of the games.

Across all the broadcaster’s digital platforms, Canadians streamed around 468 million minutes of video content, up 11% from Pyeonchang 2018.

The network’s CBC Gem streaming service, meanwhile, secured 276 million minutes in total of viewers’ time through its Olympics coverage up 19% from Tokyo 2020.

Live viewing made up 64% of all video views, through CBC Gem and the other online and digital platforms.

Chris Wilson, executive director of sport and the Olympics at CBC, said: “We’re proud that millions of Canadians united around our coverage from early in the morning to very late at night. Despite everything going on in the world, these numbers represent the enduring appeal and relevance of the Olympics in Canada.”

CBC’s current rights deal for the Olympics – both summer and winter editions – was struck in 2015 and is set to expire after the Paris 2024 edition, and covers all platforms, including both linear and digital coverage.