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SBD/November 12, 2013/Media
App Review: NBC Sports Live Extra For iPhone Loaded With VOD, But Heavy On Ads
Published November 12, 2013
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WINS: The most notable aspect of the app is the depth and quality of live video. Saturday morning there were five EPL matches being streamed simultaneously, while only one was available on live TV. This is a great example of why die-hard soccer fans should download the app. The app's simple presentation goes a long way. It is clearly built for video, while steering clear of content overload and the "be everything to everyone" strategy. Video can be shared to Facebook and Twitter.
DRAWS: There is a wide variety of archived video within the app that is quickly updated alongside live programming. VOD offerings vary by sport and include a mix of broadcast and digital-exclusive content. EPL highlights are well done. The ability to browse and select favorite content up front is nice, and the app sends a notification each time there is a live stream beginning in selected categories. Tune-in notifications can be set for game time, 15 or 30 minutes out. Score updates and must-see action alerts would be a welcome addition.
PENALTIES: While there is no question that the app provides high quality video, there is an issue with advertising oversaturation. Thirty-second commercials run before all live video regardless of time lapse or number of videos viewed. In many instances, the same ad runs. Last weekend's primary push was tequila, and I do not recall disclosing my age. Good for revenue; bad for users. Live feeds were smooth for the most part, but there were a few frozen moments. The favorites section includes a featured video feed that was not refreshed over a five-day period. The graphic showed a "live" NHL game from Wednesday night, but when clicked on Saturday, an EPL match ran. Finally, game replay sections are broken out for every sport, but there were no replay videos available during the review period. There is no live NFL video available due to rights restrictions. This does not go unnoticed, particularly on Sunday nights, making this app a potential pass-up for NFL fans.
BOTTOM LINE: Live video: check plus. Timely and relevant video-on-demand: check. Simplistic and to the point, NBC Sports Live Extra for iPhone lives up to the mobile viewer's expectations, but falters with a surplus of unchecked pre-roll advertising. A few more bells and whistles might make this experience more compelling, but for now it works. With the '14 Sochi Olympics around the corner, it will be interesting to see what changes -- if any -- are in the blueprint.
Amie Sheridan (email@example.com) is a writer in Philadelphia.