NBC Crows About Thwarting 45,000 'Illegal' Olympic Videos, Ignores The Fact That It Drove Users To Them

from the gold-medal-inconsistency dept

Aside from a now-traditional lack of enough live coverage, pretty awful commentary, a ridiculous over-abundance of a strangely limited rotation of ads, making Bode Miller cry and Bob Costas' double eye infection, NBC did a pretty good job covering the Winter Olympics, right? NBC certainly believes so, even though it seems that many Americans found NBC coverage so immensely annoying, they went to great lengths to install VPNs so they could watch Canada's version of the games instead.

What has NBC achingly proud, however, is the fact that the company cleverly worked with Olympics officials to prevent viewers from trying to access the games via non-sanctioned NBC streams and online outlets. According to NBC, the company worked to kill off some 45,000 videos of Olympics competition, and an estimated 5,000 live streams (they avoid showing their math or any historical context for those numbers):
"Officials estimate that 20,000 videos of Olympic competition were kept off YouTube, either through filtering technology that prevents them from being posted in the first place or locates and takes them down shortly after they are added. Another 20,000 were stopped from distribution on similar video-sharing sites popular elsewhere in the world, like Dailymotion in Europe or VK.com in Russia, NBC said."
Right, well, good job I guess. The problem is that while NBC was busy waging their proud war on Olympic videos, they were simultaneously engaged in practices that were driving users to those same viewing options. While NBC did offer some live streams on their website, they were largely restricted to customers that only pay for cable, as part of the industry's lame "TV Everywhere" mindset (a mindset that increasingly doesn't seem to be doing much of anything for anybody, including cable). Worse, even some paying TV customers, like those paying for Comcast's new HBO, basic cable and broadband bundle, weren't allowed to watch the streams because they weren't buying expensive enough TV packages.

To hear NBC tell it, this kind of absurd inconsistency in policy is all a perfect example of how when NBC and sanctioned friends work together to be inconsistent, it results in online perfection:
"When all the players in the digital ecosystem cooperate and work together, it is possible to create an online environment in which legitimate commerce thrives, jobs are created and consumers receive content how, when and where they want it," said John McKay, NBC spokesman."
A real gold medal performance all around, NBC. You really stuck the landing.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Violynne (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:21am

    To think people feel I cut the cord to get away from the cable bill.

    Surprise!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:29am

    "it is possible to create an online environment in which legitimate commerce thrives, jobs are created and consumers receive content how, when and where they want it"

    This part of the statement is true. However, these kinds of tactics achieve pretty much the opposite. Just another example of how these people really don't understand their own marketplace.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Philip Anton, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:44am

    Tried to watch legally

    We tried to get on NBCs website and see if you could subscribe to watch video or even pay to watch footage. The only option they gave was prove you had a cable subscription then you can watch all you want. Um if I had that why would I watch online. Anyway. They suck. The Olympic isn't worth Paying $960 a year in cable subscription fees. Oh well.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:51am

    It is possible to create an online environment in which legitimate commerce thrives, jobs are created and consumers receive content how, when and where they want it.

    It's sort of a given that PR releases are buzzword laden tripe, but this is Olympic quality BS. They're really going for the gold with this one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:51am

    The Olympics are just another money grab, Only those who can afford cables ridiculous prices are entitled to watch.No peasants allowed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 7:53am

    NBC and the Olympics want to think of this ‘victory’ as the Miracle on Ice.

    I think of it more along the lines of finishing last in luge because you intentionally sabotaged your own luge sled.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:02am

    The Olympics are just a huge waste of money. Why do they have 30+ gold medals to win when they never show even half of the events on TV? So much money could have been saved by cutting out events the TV stations deem 'not popular enough' to put on the air.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:05am

    Just spoof your IP and watch it on any of the legal world-around (public) TV outlets that provided live online coverage FOR FREE!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    Since when did producing a TV performance become the defining reason for any sport?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:25am

    Re:

    While some may agree that it's a waste of money, why should an international sporting event just hold what a US TV network wishes to show? Not only will those other events be shown on TV in locations other than the US, there's also such a thing as audience paying to see them in person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Pat, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:48am

    Olympics

    There are Olympic games this winter??

    WOW! When do they start??
    Can't wait to watch women's beach volleyball.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    This has been the case for most of my adult life. At least, it certainly appears that way, since they tend to alter the rules of the various games to accommodate the needs of TV broadcasts. Most of the sports world is entirely about producing a TV performance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:11am

    Aim at foot. Then fire.

    All this did was devalue the games as a TV event. This will just make the games invisible to the next generation of cord-cutters and cord-nevers. The end result will be that fewer and fewer people care about their product.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:21am

    Re: Olympics

    I'm not exactly clear on the scheduling but I think, thanks to NBC's exciting new delayed broadcasting window innovations, the London 2012 Summer games were on TV a couple weeks ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:43am

    Oddly enough

    I have Comcast and was able to watch the Canadian version over on CBC without having to buy a Canadian IP address or any other workaround whatsoever.

    One of the benefits of living in Washington State I suppose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    Ummmm, can't you get NBC over the airwaves for free?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re:

    Or from Aero? Those dirty pirates!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    meh.....capitalism at work. They paid $775 million for the rights so obviously the made efforts to keep content off youtube and funneled through their outlets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Let me give a shocker to NBC.

    I absolutely do not care about the Olympics. I haven't watched tv in over a decade. Because of that I have no interest in the Olympics. I don't care who participates, don't care who wins, don't care who looses, and don't care about the supposed events they participate in. Nor will I see the ads and commercials that come with all that crap. To me it's not worth the bother to go hunt access; crap it's not even worth the bandwidth it would take to view it. I saw exactly 0 minutes of the entire pseudo~competition simply because I had no interest in even looking for access in any manner.

    So I congratulate NBC for being so effective. That's really something to crow about isn't it? So how many people did NBC employ and how much money did it spend to ensure all this guardianship from the likes of me?

    Here's the thing. You're busy threatening people with lawsuits or whatever it takes to guard your precious. The supposed idea is to educate the public and prevent unauthorized viewing where they don't control the ads and everything. I got educated alright. The message is leave it strictly alone and never, ever, view under any circumstances. When NBC wakes up and looks around at why there are no viewers and no one willing to pay to see it, they can pat themselves on the back over accomplishing their goals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Zem, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:26am

    Gotta love the logic.

    Spend millions for the right to telecast the event. Spend a few more to stop people watching it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:46am

    Re: Aim at foot. Then fire.

    That's never an ultimate solution though. Running away from corruption will ensure it follows you (ie: to other goods and services). Pretty soon service providers will bill you each time you visit Techdirt or something. No, we must resist at the legislative level and ensure a legal structure that's intended to serve the public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Lame "article".

    I know Techdirt likes to cheerlead piracy as much as possible, but this is weak sauce.

    Read the comments from the newspaper article: it appears CBC's coverage wan't anything that spectacular either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    RoKphish (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    Shoot Yourself in the Foot Dept.

    Ironically, in a variation of the Streisand Effect, NBC's gatekeeping has actually helped educate those who desired to view the Olympics LIVE, the way they were meant to be viewed, in Virtual Private Networking, what it is, how to use it, and where to acquire a VPN provider.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Aim at foot. Then fire.

    If you're interested in sports, for example, one thing that a community might be able to do is create their own mini sports league and post it on the Internet or broadcast it even. It can start off small.

    But to do that we must first ... look into the laws governing such things and ensure that they are fair and don't prevent newcomers from entering the market and competing with existing incumbents. Examine broadcasting laws to ensure they serve the public interest in a way that allows competitors to provide consumers with affordable options.

    Everything starts with the law, running away from government corruption will ultimately get you only so far before bad law eventually catches up. We must participate in the legislative process and force our representatives to take our opinion into account.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:13am

    Re: Shoot Yourself in the Foot Dept.

    The more you tighten your grip, NBC, the more viewers will slip through your fingers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:16am

    YOU GUESS IT

    When North america gets to PAY to watch a PUBLIC exposition..
    MOST of the world got to watch it FREE..

    Thats what I READ from NBC..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:20am

    Re: Tried to watch legally

    Couldn't you just pay your cable company $50 to turn it on for one month and then cancel?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re:

    Yes. But they showed no live events. Those were all on CNBC, NBCSN and USA Network.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:22am

    Re:

    It's like the Jamaican bobsled team. They slide all around the track and practically flip over and then think they did great when they finished 34th in the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:23am

    Re:

    Different things are popular in different countries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Olympics

    At 10 to midnight. They always show the medal win at 10 to midnight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    All events in full immediately DVR-able with links to when each round started in the video?

    And pop-up full-time leaderboards that stayed in sync with where you are in the video?

    Actually, it was pretty darn innovative. Amazing, really.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:27am

    Re: YOU GUESS IT

    Actually, Canada and Mexico showed it for free. So when you say "North" America, what you really meant was "America".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Blue Sweater (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    I can't imagine how CBC could have done a better job. Any event you wanted to watch was available, if you came late you could rewind and watch from the start as the event was streaming live.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    freetard, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Re:

    and your sauce sir is weaker

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:54am

    Re: Tried to watch legally

    Even with the cable subscription, the online streaming sucked. You couldn't really choose what to watch live. Was just the one live stream of what NBC thought you should be watching.

    Maybe one day they'll wise up and make all the events live streamable via a protocal like Bittorrent Live. A man can dream.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    Correction: "Crony Capitalism" aka Fascism

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Colin, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    There's a Miracle on I.C.E. joke somewhere in there...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Tried to watch legally

    Then you did it wrong.

    If you had a cable carrier, you clicked which one and that was it. If you didn't, then you clicked 'none', and then re-clicked that option after 30 minutes of viewing. You picked from a menu of events, such as all the US hockey games, which were being streamed live.

    This article is just the standard Techdirt bullshit. This joke of a blog has been determined to drop its credibility to something even less than Fox News and that is exactly what has occurred.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Tried to watch legally

    Meanwhile, CBC was offering the "programmed" live stream, plus all the "uncut" live streams of all events, completely searchable so that you could scrub to the event/competitor you wanted to watch. All streams were left up for the duration of the games (may still be up now?).

    While the uncut streams were a little odd (the commentators were still fed in, even when they were off the air [and eating their lunches/talking amongst themselves], and when they were on, they were often commenting on a different video stream than the one that was viewable), they meant that you could see exactly what the cameras saw, and watch any part of the olympics you wanted to (even if it was sometimes with bad camera angles).

    It was actually the first time I was interested in the Olympics since around '88, because I could actually watch the events I found interesting and replay to my heart's content....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Tried to watch legally

    Couldn't you just pay your cable company $50 to turn it on for one month and then cancel?

    Have you ever tried to cancel something from the Cable Company?

    No, seriously.

    When I subscribed to cable many moons ago, I could do so from the website. They had all sorts of ways to subscribe or upgrade your subscription. When I cut the cord, I tried to cancel via the website, only to find that you had to call a phone number, and when I called that phone number, I was told I had to go to the cable company's storefront property to cancel. I went on a relatively calm day, in the middle of the week, and took a number and sat down. Three and a half hours later, they called my number. I walked up and told them I wanted to cancel my cable subscription and only have phone and internet. They had me go through a twenty minute survey on why I was cancelling my service, then spent another twenty minutes trying to persuade me to keep cable and just reduce my options. Finally, they "cancelled" my subscription. A week later, I received a bill which said I still had basic cable. I called again, only to be told to go into the store to fix the problem. Rinse, repeat.

    Seems like it isn't worth the time or the money to get NBC for a month and then cancel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Tried to watch legally

    If you're going to call the article bullshit, it might be helpful to actually indicate what is wrong with it. Otherwise, you're just another troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 4:43pm

    Re:

    average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:42pm

    "When all the players in the digital ecosystem cooperate and work together, it is possible to create an online environment in which legitimate commerce thrives, jobs are created and consumers receive content how, when and where they want it," said John McKay, NBC spokesman."

    And when the fsck did you plan on actually working together rather than just trying to dictate your terms?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Re:

    Errr.....paying $775 million for something and doing what you want with equals fascism?(english accent) I don't think I follow....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:13pm

    CBC monitored almost all of the events, it's just NBC sucks at doing live 2 week events.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:26pm

    Re:

    "obviously the made efforts to keep content off youtube and funneled through their outlets."

    Which would irritate people a lot less if their own outlets didn't suck so badly at it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 10:26pm

    Meh. VPN + BBC = Up Yours NBC!!!

    - High Def
    - No blabbing over the opening/closing ceremonies (often with inaccurate/biased (or both) information.
    - No butchering of content to cram in gratuitous commercials every 2 minutes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 5:58am

    Love the Olympics, not the Committees or the Broadcasters

    I traditionally watch hours and hours of the Olympics. I love the Olympics. This time, I bet I saw less than six hours of the Olympics. There seemed to be so little coverage on the channels to which I have access, that it was hard to find coverage. During the last summer Olympics, we had coverage on multiple channels. This time, only one channel had coverage. Everything else required some sort of special subscription. Screw that.

    I am also extremely annoyed by the Olympic Committees and their draconian approach to intellectual property. I am all in favor of intellectual property rights to protect a brand. However, to totally ban any images of any logo not an "official" sponsor is ridiculous, even dictating what athletes can wear and say. Such money-grubbing behavior, which turned me away from basketball and baseball years ago, is doing the same thing for the Olympics.

    If broadcasters and the Olympic committees keep following this path, interest in the Olympics is going to decline. Let's hope they wake up before interest declines below the level of sustainability.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Dave, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Shoot Yourself in the Foot Dept.

    No wonder NBC treats its viewership like a sponge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    James Bain, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 1:30pm

    Meh.....sports

    Seems no one here ever read "Sports in America", by Michener.
    If there ever was a shot across the bow regarding our true values in this fouled up nation, aside from Gen. Smedley Butler's diatribe about war, that is, this was it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    fairuse (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 2:50am

    Sports, even the Olympics, is all about "The Show"

    First a link to too much information on NBC Olympics:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Olympics_on_NBC&useskin=monobook

    What did NBC get for $4.38 billion? Exclusive rights to; 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020.
    NBC is here to stay so plan ahead.

    My turn. I want to give the NBC failed folks another point of view.
    I am just weary of the sniveling and I only know one way to say it. If you don't want to play within the rules that are statutory too bad.
    Thanks I needed to get that out so I can present the obvious situation.

    1. Sports is all about money and The Show in USofA
    1.1 Count the number of cable channels that are 100% sports of some kind
    1.2 How many Prime Time days of the week have NFL ?
    1.3 Every sporting event is scripted with several talking heads. And if that is not enough other talking heads talk about what the other talking heads said.


    So, 1 2 3 is the way sports yackety-yak is done and the Olympics is the big show for this kind of programming. Prime Time scripted Olympic Bull Shit. Disclaimer: I woke up at 0300 to watch live Curling but didn't watch any of the Prime Time Olympics shows.

    NBC built a marketing campaign that a bunch of folks (in this thread) dislike. Olympics should be available for everyone I read. Only the snobs who pay for the higher priced cable package get access I read. I don't hear NBC saying the cost of getting the video from Russia to USofA is free.

    This is Sports and TANSTAAFL rules. I pay and I expect a lot. During the Olympics I watched live and ondemand via android mobile, Kindle HDX and good 'ol Safari browser on the iMac. Excellent stream quality, no app crashes and no buffering freezes.

    Lastly a word about CBC, a Crown Corporation vs NBC, a commercial venture; each serves the market it is in, period. If anyone was wondering about the technical aspects of getting the video to CBC and NBC try google "iStreamPlanet Windows Azure" or http://www.streamingmedia.com

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_ain%27t_no_such_thing_as_a_free_lunch -- "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    imacland, Apr 30th, 2014 @ 11:44pm

    Get to the point, keep it short and sweet, and direct your audience to your website for more information. imacland

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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