NBC Olympics Live Online Coverage To Be Used As Research Lab For Future Multimedia Events

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NBC Olympic Online Web Video CoverageWe have already heard about NBC’s plans to show live video of the 2008 Beijing Olympics on the Web at NBCOlympics, with over 2,000 hours of coverage coming from the games being aired across the network.

But it seems this isn’t just because NBC suddenly feel charitable and want to provide us all with coverage of the games from China which start on August 8th.

Instead, according to The New York Times, NBC will be using the Olympics as a kind of research lab, in an effort to find out how people are watching the free coverage.

Maybe the test will show NBC that restricting the footage of the Olympics to Windows Vista users as well as other severe restrictions is not a viable strategy.

Olympic Research Lab

While NBC will be using Nielsen Media Research to count how many people are watching the coverage at home on their television sets, measuring viewer numbers of the online and mobile coverage is a little trickier.

In an effort to compile a TAMI (Total Audience Measurement Index), NBC has coupled with Quantcast Corp. to get detailed information about viewers, unique online users and time spent on the website.

Multiple Advantages For NBC

This has multiple advantages to NBC. For starters, it will enable the company to feature certain sports on the site if the viewer data suggests it is more popular than another.

Also, more importantly, it will give the network a better idea of which media devices people are choosing to use for the coverage, as well as whether video streaming, video on demand or downloads are the medium of choice.

Even more importantly, are the benefits this data will provde to advertisers, not only for this event, but for similar events in the future. How, and how often people watch this Olympic Games online could affect sporting events coverage online for years to come.

Give The Web Equal Footing

Chained Hands to Keyboard

This is a sensible move on the part of NBC. However, the problem is that the Web, and the opportunities that streaming video provides, aren’t being taken with this Olympic Games due to event coverage being delayed until after traditional TV has had first bite of the cherry, not to mention the unfair and unethical restrictions that outlaw Mac, Linux and Xp users.

If NBC learn one thing from this I hope it’s that the company should provide fair and open access to sports coverage online without restrictions on operating systems, software and delayed coverage. If NBC are worried about piracy surely they realize that as long as the coverage is on TV it can be streamed live across the net using software like TVUPlayer which will come with zero restrictions.

The success or failure of NBC’s 2008 Beijing Olympics coverage online will certainly help shape the future of this type of event being television on the Web. But hopefully next time, NBC will give the Web at least equal footing with television.

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