Viewers of the 2018 Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea will get an opportunity to watch the events they want, when they want. As first reported by Deadline, fans who watch NBC’s Olympics coverage on Hulu will have the opportunity to select which sports they prefer to watch and the streaming service will send daily clips and highlights.
The “personalized view,” as Hulu calls it, won’t necessarily replace the live viewing experience. And that’s some of the fun of watching the Olympics, experiencing those events in real time and sharing them with fellow viewers — notably on social media. But with the time difference between the United States and PyeongChang (currently 14 hours for viewers in the Eastern time zone), live viewing is still going to be an issue (though not necessarily for west coast prime time viewers).
One of the frustrating aspects of watching Olympics coverage — especially in prime time — is having to follow the dictates of what the networks decide to show. Maybe you want to watch downhill skiing, but figure skating draws the big ratings, so that’s what NBC is devoting most of its broadcast to showing. Or perhaps you don’t like how the coverage bounces around from sport to sport, while also mixing in interview and feature pieces.
So people who don’t want to watch what NBC is showing or follow along with what storylines the network’s coverage chooses to shape and follow can presumably have their preferences delivered to them. However, the key words to highlight in this announcement might be “daily clips and highlights.” That’s not the same as watching an event in real time, live or not. Will those clips show events in their full length (or at least the edited version of what would be shown on TV)? Those paying for a Hulu subscription — and paid extra for live TV — will hopefully get more for their money.
Deadline’s report says more details about programming will become available closer to the event. We’re about a month away from the Feb. 9 opening of the Winter Games, so that information will presumably be announced soon.
On Tuesday, the streaming service announced its subscriber base had increased to 17 million in 2017, a boost of five million customers (and 42 percent increase) from the previous year.