Comcast’s video-on-demand to take advantage of blanket coverage

Even before the Games start, the London Olympics is being called the first digital Olympics thanks to NBC’s plan to stream every event live online.

Comcast, which owns NBC, also plans to take advantage by housing every event on its video-on-demand service. It launched Summer Olympics programming June 15 — with athlete profiles and highlights from previous Games — and has logged about 3.5 million views, according to Matt Strauss, Comcast’s senior vice president of digital and emerging platforms.
“In the few weeks that we’ve launched this content, it’s already generated more usage than the entire Vancouver Games combined,” he said. “We feel like we’re on the right trajectory, just based on the demand we’re seeing on the pre-Games content.”

Comcast’s on-demand library will grow to more than 1,100 titles during the Olympics, with plans to have every medal event ready for on-demand viewing by 6 a.m. the following morning. Comcast will use NBC’s Olympics commentator Bob Costas to host a short video each morning as a barker to promote the highlights.

“With technology the way it is, we can’t approach the Olympics like we have in the past,” Strauss said. “That’s why it starts with making everything available. Then it builds from there.”

Strauss says Comcast’s on-demand strategy represents more than just a niche play. It logs about 400 million video views each month and around 75 percent of Comcast’s customers use on-demand.

“That’s at a critical mass and continues to grow for us,” he said. “On demand for us is at a point where it is way past any novelty curve. It is integrated in how people watch TV.”

Comcast is looking to link live linear TV with broadband, mobile and on-demand content. The Olympics are a big enough event to really drive that strategy.

“We’re now at a point where the audience is large enough that we want to start bringing these things together,” Strauss said. “That was kind of the sensibility of how we approached the Olympics. We’re now in a world where everything has to be available on demand. We can essentially offer unlimited amounts of live feeds.”

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