In a great step for fans of the Olympic Games, NBCOlympics.com will be streaming all 32 sports live on the web. For folks that dive into the Olympics and have been frustrated with the primetimeization of the games, this is great news. The only catch to the live streaming online is that major events covered in primetime won’t be archived online until after the primetime broadcast. Other events will be archived almost immediately. The live streaming is a major step forward in a new direction for NBC as told by Richard Sandomir of the New York Times…
The live streaming of every event is a major shift at the NBC Sports Group, which was formed after Comcast acquired control of NBC Universal. Under General Electric, its former owner, NBC Sports did not stream live events that would be featured in prime time, lest they diminish ratings.
Two years ago, at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, only hockey and curling were streamed live in order to protect prime time. At the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, 25 sports were streamed live but none of them were important to the evening broadcast, which is usually at least four hours long.
“The way consumers consume video has changed over the years,” Mr. Cordella said. “We can’t go back with hindsight and say we were wrong.”
He said that NBC had data to show that live streaming could increase viewership of a event shown hours later on delay. “We’re not scared of cannibalization,” Mr. Cordella said, adding, “Anytime you have a great event that happens before it shows on the air, it increases ratings and generates buzz.”
According to NBC, all you need to sign up for the live streaming is to confirm a cable or satellite service (which will hopefully be eaiser than March Madness On Demand). The potential here is huge with all 302 events from 32 sports beginning with soccer prelims on July 25th. Several events will also have multiple streaming options including tennis, track and field, and gymnastics.
This is awesome. NBC’s cable television coverage has already been announced as being expanded, but now you can pretty much watch any and every Olympic event your little heart desires. For a company that for so long held out for their primetime diamond to the detriment of live coverage, this is a sensible turn. This isn’t 1992 anymore and sports is one of the few television properties whose value drops dramatically if not shown live. With internet coverage and social media, you’d be hard pressed as a true sports fan to go through the entire day and not know the results of Michael Phelps’ race. Now, you have the ability to watch it live as it happens. And perhaps the best news about all the live sports online… you can now safely avoid Ryan Seacrest.
(via New York Times)