During the London Olympics two years ago, NBC attempt to combat complaints about broadcast tape delays through its introduction of live-streaming events. While its effort was commendable, the network was met with harsh criticism from viewers complaining about the quality of the streams, which included freezing/skipping pictures, micro blocking. This discontentment quickly merged onto Twitter, where individuals experiencing difficulties with the streams voiced their opinions using the hashtag #NBCFail. The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir explained in a PBS News Hour interview that viewers have always complained about viewing quality during the Olympics. However, recent technological advances created the expectation that live-streaming should have the exact same quality as television. Check out the interview here.
NBC is hoping for a better reaction from the public during the Sochi Olympics.
NBC now has a chance to redeem itself. The network is once again partnering with Adobe to live-stream all of the events for the Sochi Olympics on the NBC Sports website. It will also be available on the NBC Sports Live Extra application which can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. Adobe’s Primetime platform will deliver the video and power NBC’s video ads, consequently creating additional revenue for NBC. It will also serve as a method of authentication; cable and ComcastX1 subscribers have access to all live-streamed events. Non-subscribers only have access to 30 minutes of streaming and five additional minutes per day.
Those with Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, and Midcontinent accounts will be authenticated automatically. According to Adobe Primetime VP Jeremy Helfand, the accounts will be recognized based on their IP addresses. This, he explained will make it extremely easy for subscribers to access content online.
Adobe, in turn, is partnering with Microsoft’s Azure Media Services on the back-end to power both the encoding and streaming. It expects to stream more than 1,000 hours of video for all of the Olympic events. The partnership between these two companies for the Olympics will actually serve as a test of their partnership; if the streams live up to viewers’ expectations, the two companies foresee a mutually beneficial future in online video-streaming for big events. The partnership’s reach would extend beyond NBC and be offered to other broadcasters looking to display large events online.
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