NBC Olympics will churn out an unprecedented 4,500 hours of live event coverage from Rio available across digital devices — a staggering avalanche across 34 sports that’s more than any single human being could possibly consume.
It’s the first Olympic Games that viewers be available to watch live on connected TVs, including Apple TV, Google’s Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire devices, and for the first time, NBC broadcast network content including the primetime show will be streamed digitally.
But once again, NBCUniversal will make the Olympic-size digital video buffet available only to pay-TV customers. That’s no surprise, given the Peacock’s parent company, Comcast, has an interest in ensuring people keep paying for cable TV even as the Internet explodes with other video services.
Cord-cutters — unless they subscribe to Dish’s Sling TV or Sony PlayStation Vue pay-TV OTT services — will be largely shut out from NBC’s Rio live-video lineup. At NBCOlympics.com and via the NBC Sports app, users will be able to stream 30 minutes of coverage for free on their first visit, and then must log in with credentials from a cable, satellite or telco TV provider. On subsequent visits, only 5 minutes of live Olympics video will be available before viewers will be required to sign in.
As a complement to the live-streaming, NBC is launching a free new app, NBC Olympics: Rio News & Results, which will provide the news and results, video highlights, TV listings, medal standings, dedicated sections for all 34 sports on the Rio program, bios of Team USA and international athletes, and other content. In addition, the app will serve as the “second-screen” companion viewing tool for NBC’s nightly primetime Olympics coverage.
NBC’s 4,500 hours of live video from the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, which runs Aug. 5-21, will include all competition sessions across all 34 sports on desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs. For the 2012 London Olympics, NBC streamed 3,500 hours of coverage, marking was the first time that all competitions were streamed live.
As previously announced, NBC’s digital coverage of the Rio Olympics will include 85 hours of virtual-reality programming, on a delay, available only to pay-TV subscribers and only on Samsung devices under an exclusive pact.
For the first time, NBC Olympics will stream the coverage of all nine NBCU Olympic networks: NBC, Telemundo, Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC Universo and USA Network. If a competition event is not televised by one of the nine networks, NBC Olympics will use the feeds provided by the host broadcaster, Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), with many of the feeds set to include both English- and Spanish-language commentary.
Concurrent streams will be offered for sports contested on multiple fields of play, such as all apparatuses for gymnastics, all field events for track and field, and up to five courts for tennis.
In addition to live streaming, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will provide video-on-demand programming, including athlete profiles and features, full-event replays and short-form highlights. And also for the first time, all live streaming that includes commentary as well as VOD, will be available with closed-captioning in English.
Along with the broadcast feeds, NBC will produce two digital-only Olympics programs for NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. “Gold Zone,” returning for the third Olympics as a guide to the best live action happening at a given moment, will be hosted by Andrew Siciliano of NFL Red Zone and Tanith White, a 2006 Olympic silver medalist in ice dancing. “Daily Dismount,” a new digital program, will provide live post-event coverage from each day’s gymnastics competition, hosted by Tanith White along with two-time Beijing Olympic medalist Jonathan Horton and two-time Athens Olympic medalist Courtney Kupets.
Other digital coverage is set to include a news desk hosted by Julie Donaldson and Jenna Corrado that will regularly stream Rio Olympic update segments throughout the day. And “Ever Wonder,” NBC Sports Digital’s social-focused, short-form video series, will produce 30-plus videos tied to the Olympics answering such questions as, “Ever Wonder why athletes bite their medals?”
The Peacock’s Olympics video is supported by Playmaker Media, the unit NBC Sports Digital launched in May designed to provide live streaming and VOD solutions to NBC divisions as well as outside media companies. The International Olympic Committee signed as Playmaker Media’s first client to provide live streaming video support for the IOC’s year-round Olympic Channel, now slated to launch later this year. Playmaker also will provide live streaming video support for NBC News’ coverage of the 2016 presidential election.