You May Yet Get to Watch the Olympics Online… Before the TV Broadcast

There was general outrage last month (except from Dave) when word came down from NBC that it won’t show any live Olympics coverage if it’s set to be televised in the evening. That might not be a big issue if there wasn’t such a huge time delay between Beijing and the US. But as it is, we’re likely to read scores and text highlights long before we can actually see Olympic action from half way around the world.

Or so we’ve thought.

One industry insider (my own Deep Throat) says talks are ongoing at NBC about the possibility of posting teaser coverage online during the day. With the success of other sports events on the Web, NBC has to know there is huge revenue potential in making live or nearly-live highlights available for daytime viewing. The network says it’s not having any trouble selling ad spots. Why not expand the audience?

Of course the big issue here is that NBC doesn’t want to cannibalize its primetime TV viewership. I don’t know why it’s worried. Show me a clip of the latest 14-year-old phenom on the uneven bars during the day, and I’m still going to tune in at night to see her take on the balance beam.

Here’s hoping NBC’s interactive folks win the day on this debate. The summer Olympics only happen once every four years. I want all the coverage I can get. And, assuming I’m not alone, that translates into big bucks for NBC.

2 thoughts on “You May Yet Get to Watch the Olympics Online… Before the TV Broadcast”

  1. Don’t know. I’ll probably watch a reasonable amount of the TV coverage, but the amount of TV time they’ve got at night is so limited. And with all the wrapper content (“… at seven years of age, Kari was walking two miles in the cold in the middle of winter to her local pool to swim laps for two hours…”) the amount of actual live coverage is so small.

    As you’ve suggested, the internet and VOD could fix a lot of this, though I can just imagine navigating through hundreds of hours of content from todays/yesterdays events using the TV Guide “weinervision” GUI. And NBC’s servers would probably go down if they put up anything popular in real time.

    Too bad NBC didn’t think about using some kind of P2P solution a la NBC Direct or BBC iPlayer. That might actually make mass viewing of live video over the internet possible…

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