Mega events, such as the Olympics, provide a unique context and valuable opportunity to study changing media use patterns in today’s convergent environment. This study examined how and why audiences watched the 2016 Rio Olympics across media, and found that while TV was still the dominant platform for mega-event viewing, audiences tended to seek alternative content and niche sports on computers, and primarily used mobile devices to get a second-screen experience during the Rio Games. In addition, findings suggest that multiscreen Olympics viewing was not exclusively determined by individual characteristics and psychological needs. Structures, media use routine, and social contexts played a big (though maybe less obvious) role in driving screen choice.
Tang is with the School of Communication, The University of Akron, Akron, OH. Cooper is with the School of Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH.