SBD/February 7, 2014/Olympics

NBC Sports' Live Streaming Capability To Be Tested As Sochi Games, EPL Overlap

NBCUniversal throughout the Sochi Games "has a delicate Web balancing act to pull off," as it plans to stream more than 1,000 hours of live Olympic action on NBCOlympics.com while keeping "its Premier League commitment," according to Mike Shields of ADWEEK. NBCU is "dialing up its streaming capacity, leaning hard on partners like Adobe, Microsoft and Akamai to make sure nobody misses a goal (either in hockey or soccer)." One thing that NBC is "less worried about this time around is piracy." NBC Sports Group Senior VP & GM for Digital Media Rick Cordella explained that the IOC has a "large task force dedicated to tackling the issue." The net also is "confident in its technology partners' ability to help fingerprint its content and keep it off the wrong sites." Cordella believes that since NBCU’s Olympic streaming "is ostensibly free, piracy temptation will be mitigated." Shields noted that is "mostly true, though users will still have to figure out how to prove they pay for cable by authenticating on NBCOlympics.com" (ADWEEK.com, 2/6). But in DC, Andrea Peterson noted for the 9% of U.S. households that "have broadband but don't subscribe to paid television, it will be nearly impossible to (legally) watch the games online this year" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/6). 

WORKING OUT THE KINKS: The AP's Anick Jesdanun reviewed NBC's streaming coverage Thursday for the first day of action at the Games and wrote NBC "comes close to gold in delivering" the Sochi Games. Coverage has "improved considerably," but it is "unfortunate that NBC doesn’t allow me to watch from the beginning." Jesdanun: "I have to catch the live stream in progress, the way television worked before digital video recorders came along. I also cannot rewind and pause video on the website, while capabilities vary on the apps." There was "a lot of down time watching events on opening day." Jesdanun: "I had to wait more than an hour between the two groups of skiers in women’s slopestyle." The live video "continued, but it was mostly a distant shot of the slope." NBC also "isn’t making replays available" until about 3:30pm ET each day. In addition, fans are "able to watch just one video at a time" (AP, 2/6). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth notes his first use of NBCOlympics.com was "navigating through buffering issues and a repetitive cycle of 15-second ads randomly jumping into the coverage of the already wacky concept of team figure skating competition" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/7).
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