NBC Continues To Do The Exact Wrong Thing When It Comes To The Olympics Online

from the you-can't-be-serious dept

Is it any wonder that NBC Universal keeps having trouble? If you painted them a map that explained how to clearly provide people what they wanted, the company would do the exact opposite. Two years ago, during the summer Olympics, NBC Universal severely limited online offerings. It didn't let people embed videos. It only made events that people weren't as interested in available online, and even then, would delay much of the content online. The backwards thinking here was that if they blocked the "good stuff" out and made it only on TV, it would drive people to the TV. Of course, NBC's own research showed that the more people watched online, the more they watched on TV. But, of course, by limiting access, not that many people watched online through legal channels (a lot more watched elsewhere). And, at NBC, they considered this a success. Seriously.

And to prove it, NBC Universal is apparently going to make things even worse this time around. TorrentFreak points us to a MediaWeek piece that describes NBC Universal's "plan to fight piracy," that makes so little sense it makes the whole Jay Leno fiasco look well-organized.

Rather than giving people a choice, NBC is limiting its live streaming even more. There are 300 events at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and NBC is going to stream a grand total of two of them live online: curling and hockey. And, then its spending a ton of wasted effort getting lots of other sites to try to block live streams of Olympic events. You know what would have stopped those live streams in a way that NBC could have profited from? Providing those live streams directly. What sort of company sees that there's demand for a product and then purposely decides to not offer it and to actively stop others who are trying to offer it? Wow!

NBC's explanation for all this is just as bizarre:
"One of the things we learned in Beijing is that people really go to the Web for highlights," said Perkins Miller, svp, digital media at NBC
Perhaps that's because you didn't offer much live streaming last time around, and the only events you did so on were the events no one cared about.

But, of course, the best comes from Rick "oh-those -poor-corn-farmers-decimated-by-piracy" Cotton, NBC's general counsel, who seems so fixated on "stopping piracy!!!" that he seems oblivious to the concept of providing real value:
"Our aim is to make access to pirated material inconvenient, low quality and hard to find," said Rick Cotton, NBC's evp and general counsel. In terms of Web piracy, "you are never going to go to zero. But there has been a sea change in terms of recognition of the problem."
Again, you solve the problem of people going elsewhere by giving them what they want, not purposely deciding not to give them what they want and then getting upset when they go find it elsewhere.

And you wonder why, for the first time ever, a broadcaster is expected to lose money on the Olympics?

Filed Under: olympics, streaming, web
Companies: nbc, nbc universal


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  1. identicon
    rec9140, 9 Feb 2010 @ 2:23pm

    olympics > /dev/null

    Thanks to the total IDIOT and GREED fest these have turned into to ( I am talking about you Canandian OC and ESPECIALLY YOU DOLTS from the VOC!) the point of suing people who have had a diner called the Olympic diner for 30+ years to change the name!

    OH PUHLEASE!

    I've made a choice not to support the olympics in any fashion any longer... I will actively work to get them held outside the US in the future, and end US involvement totally.

    NBC has not got it since the start.. they used crap software which is totally unuseable on Linux to start, and no Linux user would install it any way.

    There heavy handed BS with Hulu (partner or not) caused me to no longer use it as well. I've since gotten a nice little device to record to SD, uSD etc. to use with a laptop, not HD, but its better that nothing.

    So bye bye olympics, bye bye NBC... I can't tell you the last time I watched an NBC show... its been a while... last one I was interested in was Chuck... but I lost track of it...

    House, Bones, Fringe, Big Bang, Criminal Minds, Numbers, NCIS, NCIS LA (only cause theres nothing better and Daniela Ruah is a hottie..if she dies in the epi tonight... I am done! You killed off Sasha Alexander (I don't care it was her choice)... but I've grown to like Cote De Pablo and her character...)

    So see ya NBC, see ya olympics... won't miss you!

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