SBD/February 6, 2014/Olympics

NBC Looks For Streaming From Sochi Games To Drive Viewership Across Multiple Devices

NBC believes that its TV viewership for the Sochi Games "throughout the day and, in particular, during prime time, will be enhanced by fans who are watching live on their computers or iPads," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. NBC again this year is "live-streaming virtually every event" after doing the same during the '12 London Games. NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said of the experience in London, "I think four or five days in, we felt a degree of confidence that we had a formula that was working well." Sandomir notes research from the '12 Games "found that the more devices on which people watched the Olympics, the more they watched television." The research showed that someone watching the Olympics "only on television breathed in 4 hours 19 minutes of coverage daily." Consumption "rose to 4:28" when using a personal computer or a laptop. With a mobile phone added, TV viewing "rose to five hours, and with a tablet tossed in, the average time watching TV shot up to 6:07." Eighteen months later, tablets and smartphones are "far more prevalent, raising the likelihood that viewing on all screens will increase." Streaming technology also has "improved since the London Olympics, as has the ability of devices to show the programming." NBC is "relying on those upgrades to increase the multiple-screen viewing and the time spent watching." NBC "despite the digital revolution ... is still focused on its Olympic prime-time show." The Opening Ceremony tomorrow will not stream live, as the event to NBC is "pure entertainment, part of an expensive purchase of rights, which it can use to garner high ratings through a delayed showing" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/6). In Akron, George Thomas writes the level of streaming from Sochi "will be mammoth." "NBC Sports Live Extra" will stream "more than 1,000 hours of coverage with the promise of including 'every sport, every competition, every medal -- to verified cable, satellite and telco (telephone company) customers'" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 2/6).

GET IN THE ZONE: USA TODAY's Ed Baig wrote NBC is "producing fresh digital-only programming" in Sochi. A program that "sounds promising is called Gold Zone, in which NBC plans to whip you around from event to event showing the most popular live action" between 7:00am-3:00pm ET. The show might move "from a freestyle skiing final to the final moments of a crucial hockey match." NBC also "plans a digital-only Olympic Ice studio show with news and highlights from figure skating events" (USA TODAY, 2/5).
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