SBD/January 9, 2014/Media

NBCOlympics.com Introduces "Gold Zone" For Whip-Around Sochi Competition Coverage

NBCOlympics.com as part of its Sochi Games coverage will offer original, digital-only programming including whip-around competition coverage from "Gold Zone"; a daily figure skating news and highlights show, "Olympic Ice"; and regular news updates throughout each day of competition via the website's "Olympic News Desk" updates. Gold Zone, beginning on Feb. 8 as an exclusive video channel on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app, will offer more than 100 hours of whip-around coverage of the most popular live action from the Sochi Games. The channel will stream from 7:00am-3:00pm ET on most days. Gold Zone hosts Andrew Siciliano and Ryan Burr will provide context to what is being streamed. Olympic Ice, a studio show, will review all of the figure skating news and highlights each day during the Games. It will air at 5:30pm on most days, from Feb. 7-21. Russ Thaler will host the 30-minute show, and will be joined by analyst and former figure skater Sarah Hughes. Olympic News Desk, hosted by Julie Donaldson, will stream updates periodically throughout the day and unauthenticated on NBCOlympics.com (NBC). MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds noted Gold Zone is "redolent of the ad-hoc highlights services proffered by DirecTV and NFL Network spotlighting pro football action on Sundays." NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel said that the network had "deployed a similar service, sans hosts, during the London Games." However, viewers during the '12 Summer Games "were only alerted to what was coming next on the service by NBC staffers’ tweets." Zenkel believes Gold Zone will "hold significant appeal to Olympic fans who are more interested in lean-back experience, rather than searching across NBCOlympics’ 1,000 hours of live-stream action" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 1/8).

ON CLOUD NINE: BROADCASTING & CABLE's George Winslow noted NBC Olympics has selected Akamai Technologies to "provide a complete suite of cloud services for online video streaming delivery, site performance and security services for the company’s production" of the Sochi Games. NBC Olympics "will be using Akamai Digital Media solutions to stream all 98 events, including every medal competition, event highlights, and athlete interviews and profiles." Akamai also is "supporting DVR functions such as pause and event rewinds" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 1/8).
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