SBD/Issue 85/Sports Media

NBC Universal Plans 835 Total Hours Of Vancouver Games Coverage

 
NBC Universal Thursday announced that it will present a total of 835 hours of '10 Vancouver Games coverage across six platforms: NBC, USA Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Universal HD and NBCOlympics.com. It represents the most total hours of coverage ever for a Winter Olympics, nearly doubling NBCU's 419 hours of coverage of the '06 Turin Games. The Vancouver Games also will be the first ever presented entirely in HD. Primetime coverage will focus heavily on figure skating and alpine skiing (NBCU). MULTICHANNEL NEWS’ Mike Reynolds noted NBCU’s plans call for the “most in-depth coverage in history for a Winter Games.” While NBC’s broadcast network “sets the pace from a linear perspective with 193.5 hours,” NBCOlympics.com will feature about 400 hours of live event competition and “more than 1000 hours of on-demand access to full-event encores and host-feed coverage of all 15 Winter Olympic sports.” The Web site during the '06 Games only “streamed two hours of the men’s gold medal hockey as a test.” Powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight technology, NBCOlympics.com’s video player “will present the action in HD quality and offer DVR-style controls.” Meanwhile, NBCU will air live coverage of all Team USA hockey games -- both men’s and women’s -- with the “majority of the time on USA Network” (MULTICHANNEL.com, 1/14). Bravo, which is also part of the NBCU family, "will not be airing coverage this year despite airing it in the past" (MEDIALIFEMAGAZINE.com, 1/15).

LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN: In Seattle, Ron Judd wrote under the header, "Here We Go Again With NBC's Not-Live 'Live' Coverage." The net is "delaying broadcast of the main event for three hours" to viewers on the West Coast, as primetime coverage will begin every night between 7:00-8:00pm ET/PT. The move is the "same intentional falsehood the peacock network foisted upon the not-fooled public during the Beijing Games." Either NBC "has already reinvested some of that Conan O'Brien money in new time-shifting broadcast technology, or the 'live' designation is a lie to those of you unfortunate enough to live on the West Coast." Judd: "We can only hope the people responsible for [getting] the next Olympic TV contract take note" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 1/14). NBC Sports & Olympics VP/Communications Chris McCloskey said, "Our extensive research has clearly shown that West Coast viewers, more than any other region, wants to see the Olympics when they're available to watch, and that is when they are home, which in almost all cases means prime time." But with NBC expecting to "lose $200[M] with its Olympics coverage," the L.A. TIMES' Diane Pucin writes, "We who love the Olympics want them to be a big television event. But maybe you deserve to lose money if you feel as if live coverage isn't good for the western outposts" (L.A. TIMES, 1/15).

STREAM WEAVER: PAIDCONTENT.org’s Staci Kramer wrote the more than 400 hours of streaming event coverage is an "astonishing amount of live video" compared to the Turin Games. However, that is "far less than the 2,000 hours of live coverage of the Beijing Olympics.” Kramer: "More important, it’s a lot less than NBC has the right to deliver.” The development “isn’t surprising,” as NBCU President & CEO Jeff Zucker last summer said that live streaming “devalues top events like the Olympics or Super Bowl -- and there wasn’t a model that exists [that] could show him how to avoid that.” Given projections that NBC “may lose money on an Olympics for the first time, it’s hard to see that changing” (PAIDCONTENT.org, 1/14).

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