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If you're an avid user of popular social media sites, there's a decent chance you've been exposed to the significant criticism that's been leveled at NBC over its tape-delayed coverage of the Olympics.
While the media giant is live streaming events online, NBC's rationale for airing the biggest events on a broadcast tape delay is simple: it can earn far more advertising dollars by capturing prime time eyeballs. That's important given that NBC isn't guaranteed to make a profit from the Olympics given the costs associated with airing them.
London's 2012 Olympic Games are fast approaching, and NBC, which has television rights to the Olympics through 2020, is doing everything it can to recoup its substantial investment.
That's good news for viewers in the United States this year because NBC's strategy will make the 2012 Games coverage the most extensive yet.
Social TV is going to change the way we interact with everything. If you don’t think it’s coming, you're going to be in for a bumpy ride.
Contrary to popular opinion, NBC's Senior VP of Digital Jesse Redniss stated "GoogleTV is not social TV." He put YouTube in the same category as in his opinion they are mostly ways to highlight videos and consume content.
So what is social TV?
Along with the annual showpiece, wild card Saturday and the Pro Bowl will also be available online and from Verizon’s NFL Mobile app.
The stream will include additional camera angles, highlights and live stats.
This isn't the first time that the NFL has ventured into the world of streaming – viewers have been able to access live games via NFL.com for several years while NBC shows its ‘Sunday Night Football’ broadcasts online and to Verizon phones.
Google TV may be the search giant's most ambitious initiative yet, but its success is far from guaranteed. While the time seems right for television-internet convergence, making it happen is going to be hard work.
One of the biggest difficulties Google has with Google TV is getting content owners on board. Recently, a number of American television networks, namely ABC, CBS and NBC, blocked consumers from accessing video content on their websites through Google TV.
Do you hear that sound of ice cracking? If you're in New York, it might be on account of snowpocalypse outside. But elsewhere it's the sound of NBC warming up to live video online.
After taking a hard stance against live viewing of events out of prime time (and fumbling that strategy by hiding the America versus Canada hockey game on MSNBC earlier this week), NBC will be broadcasting the Men's Hockey Semifinal between the U.S. and Finland today online.
Attempting to control what is said about your brand in 2010 may seem like an attempt to put toothpaste back in the tube, but that isn't going to stop The Olympics organizers from trying. The Olympics have very specific rules about what can and cannot be said about the Winter Games and the athletes participating in them.
But rather than focusing on the minutia of violators, the group would do better to focus on a bigger issue — brands don't feel like advertising with NBC or with the Olympics directly is worth the money.
With the impressive dedication that NBC and its top advertisers have taken to the internet for this Olympic games, some have gone so far to dub the 2010 Winter Olympics the "Social Games." But there is one small snag in NBC's rush to move toward real-time. The network still isn't showing video of major sporting events in real time — online or often even on television.
In the 2008 games, it was hard enough to supress live commentary online. But now, with Olympians, viewers and even NBC keeping up a running Olympic commentary, it's even harder to hold onto precious video content until prime time. It also doesn't help that NBC is giving spoilers with its live blog coverage.
NBC chief Jeff Zucker has made it clear that he doesn't want to share major sporting events on the web in real time, because of the dollars that will be lost from broadcast television advertising.
But that doesn't mean the network isn't interested in seeing where its digital dimes could be going. This year for the Vancouver Winter Games, NBC plans to track consumer consumption across channels.
Late night talk show hosts are taking sides at NBC. The network announced this week that it will be moving Jay Leno's show back to 11:30P. That could have major repercussions for the rest of their lineup. And put Conan O'Brien in a weird position, with his Tonight Show technically starting tomorrow, at 12:05A.
Conan decided today that he's not going to accomodate Leno. He released a response to the internet today announcing his refusal to bend to NBC's will. Within minutes, Conan fans and supporters took to the internet to express outrage over how he is being treated. Which means that NBC may have mistakenly stepped into a (at least temporary) solution to its ratings dilemmas — angry digital consumers tuning into Conan's show.
Television networks always want a clearer picture of American consumers — when they're watching television, where they are online and what they care about. The Nielsen Company, long the arbiter of television audience ratings, has started tracking viewership online, but the networks are dissatisfied with the company's methods for TV and aren't convinced that Nielsen will be able to track audience numbers elsewhere. They're ready to go it alone.
As of this week, the major networks, together with some large advertisers and media agencies, are announcing plans to create their own measurement system.
Will that work? Probably not. But it can't hurt.
Netflix has been hard at work getting its content on as many platforms as possible. This week, they're starting to stream early seasons of ABC shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives." There are also rumors of a Netflix app that will soon stream video content to the iPhone.
This is all great news for Netflix. But is it a winning situation for the networks? Yes.