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Olympic review - The economic effects

Olympic review - The economic effects

Olympic review - The economic effects

The Olympics are over for another four years and the Great Britain has returned with the best haul of medals in a century. The feel good factor that generates cannot easily calculated. What we can calculate though is how much time people have spent watching the Olympics. There has been more Olympic coverage than ever before, more hours of TV and from our perspective plenty of online coverage. The BBC in the UK have had a significant amount of coverage available via their website with thousands of hours being available to stream live or catch up later. We've posted a couple of blogs about the effect the Olympics has had, the first one covered the opening ceremony, the second the effect of the first week and the third how much a single event, in this case Usain Bolt's 200m final win caused a spike in traffic. What's really interesting though is looking at the breakdown of the usage by product. As we suspected the majority of the weekday daytime streamimg/iPlayer usage came from business accounts. The following graph shows streaming usage during August just for business accounts. Each line represents an hour of the day throughout the month and how many GBs were used each day during that hour. The normal volume is around 50GB per hour during working hours (9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) but during the Olympics there were a number of hours that hit more than 200GB per hour and even one hour above 300GB (Thursday 21st August between 2pm and 3pm). In total during the Olympics we saw an extra 10.3TB of streaming usage coming from our business customers over what we would normally expect to see and a total of 16TB (normal volume is around 2.7TB per week). That extra 10.3TB represents somewhere in the region of 50,000 extra hours of streaming usage (and a total around 80,000 hours assuming it's video streaming of a similar bitrate and quality to iPlayer). Of course some people would have been working at the same time as they were watching the Olympics, but how much of that 50,000 extra hours actually resulted in a decrease in productivity? Calculating the GDP (PPP) per capita per hour, gives the UK economy a GDP figure of approximately US$42 per worker per hour (or approximately £24 in English money). So with an assumption that half the extra hours saw zero productivity that's an approximate £600,000 lost to the UK economy just from Plusnet business customers watching the Olympics (£1.2m if all the hours saw zero productivity). Imagine how much that could be if you scaled it across all ISPs. Dave Tomlinson Plusnet Product Team

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