This summer, NBC will live-stream all Olympic sports events online for the first time ever. While in the past viewers could only watch most sports during the prime time broadcast, NBC has decided to revise their policy and offer live video on nbcolympics.com. That site will be reintroduced Wednesday morning--100 days before the Games begin.
NBC's previous policy to only offer videos of popular events online after the evening broadcast was in place to protect ratings. But today's media landscape called for a change. As Rick Cordella, vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital Media, told the New York Times, “the way consumers consume video has changed over the years.”
In 2008 and 2010 some events were streamed, but the ones that tend to draw the highest number of viewers were not. This summer, even sports like swimming and gymnastics will be streamed online and then subsequently shown during prime time. Though in the past concerns about ratings stopped the company from doing this, Cordella predicts an opposite effect. "Anytime you have a great event that happens before it shows on the air, it increases ratings and generates buzz," he said. Also, they've kept one policy in place to hold onto their precious ratings: events will not be archived online until after prime time. If you don't catch it live, you'll have to wait until the evening.
For avid sports fans who are stuck in the office when their favorite events take place, this policy shift comes as a welcome change. After all, it's a lot more fun to watch the action live than to try to piece it together using Twitter.