As recently as 2010, watching the Olympics online and accessing news via social media platforms was not as easy as today. Not all events were available live and wading through NBC’s tape delay restrictions were like trying to sail through a dense fog. But cut to 2016 and Comcast has changed that. Buying NBC, the company saw potential to make the Olympics a technological showcase and it’s hoping that the Rio Olympics will prove that Comcast is not just a cable company, but a more broader based technology and entertainment conglomerate.
For 2016, all of the events will be available live online. Some 4,500 hours of content will be made available on both the NBC Olympics website as well as the NBC Sports app which will be upgraded in time for the August Olympics and with more people watching programs on their mobiles, tablets and smartwatches, Comcast hopes to reach this audience.
The company will buffer the NBC Sports app with new features like biographic data on the athletes, real-time statistics and updated medal counts. For cable viewers, Comcast will provide a Rio Olympics guide which will have pop-up reminders for certain events, athletes and updated highlights. The Comcast Xfinity X1 platform will have cloud-based videos that subscribers can access at any time and will have a voice-activated remote.
As for social media, NBC has partnered with Buzzfeed and Snapchat to reach the younger demographics. Buzzfeed will produce behind-the-scenes videos and also publish stories that bring readers closer to the athletes. And some of that content will be shared on Snapchat.
For non-cable subscribers who won’t have access to the tonnage of content on NBCUniversal’s pay-TV networks, there will be free highlights on NBCOlympics.com plus the NBC broadcast network will air some 260½ hours on free television.
In addition to the live tonnage, Comcast is providing content in 4K on a one-day delay and there’s the Virtual Reality technology that’s being used as well. So this is not just a television event, but an online one as well and Comcast hopes that the features will attract viewers to the Olympics en masse.