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Summary:

Almost half of the internet video NBC is serving this Olympics is going to mobiles and tablets. That’s a watershed for portable TV. But what happens when at-home internet TV becomes commonplace?

Olympics

Nevermind “the first social media Olympics”. What’s really true is this – London’s is the first Summer Games when online video has been consumed in such high quantities and so avidly on portable devices.

Defending itself against this week’s “#NBCFail” criticism, NBC on Thursday revealed stats from its first five days online video streaming. NBC research president Alan Wurtzel told journalists:

  • “Nearly 28 million people have visited NBCOlympics.com – eight percent higher compared to Beijing.”
  • 64 million total video streams served across all platforms – 182 percent increase over Beijing
  • Served 5.3m hours of live video – already “surpassed the total of all the games we streamed in Beijing”.

That website traffic growth is minimal for a four-year time advance. The biggest revelation is in mobile and video specifically…

  • 60 percent of video streams are happening “online” (ie. desktop web), “another 45 percent is (from) a combination of tablet and phones“, Wurtzel said.
  • “Nearly 4.6m people have gone to the mobile site – double the number from Beijing.
  • “Apps for mobile have consistently been among the top five apps in the app store since the games began, and have been downloaded more than six million times.”

Of course, not much of this is necessarily a surprise in growth terms. Some of these devices (ie. tablets) didn’t even exist four years ago; smartphones were around but are now commonplace, pushed in to many more owner’s hands by the Android boom and general adoption growth.

But the ratio of mobile viewing amongst the total is interesting.

“Sixty percent of Americans don’t even work in an office,” Wurtzel said. “A lot of those folks are going to be watching on mobile for the first time”.

That so many of the streams are viewed whilst portable – most likely during day time – may be a happy fact for NBC. A natural consequence of this may be to gather the largest audience on users’ best screen – their TV – during the evening.

There is one looming challenge. Right now, most internet streams are to dedicated mobile devices and to the web. In another four years, internet video to living room TVs will be commonplace. Internet-connected TVs present an opportunity to super-serve audiences with copious live coverage – but broadcasters may be disallowed from streaming to “TV” in this way by their cable partners.

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  1. It already is the norm for many in SW Asia and an increasing number in the UK. We have fibre optic broadband and don’t watch TV other than livestreaming or iPlayer on the internet

  2. I have been watching TV on my phone through my Sling adapter and the DISH Remote Access app for a long time now. The fact that I have been using it to watch the Olympics is only a by product of being at work at DISH during my favorite events. Given the choice I would much rather watch the games on my big screen TV but I will certainly settle for the convenience of portability. I know watching TV at work is frowned upon but that’s something we can keep under my hat (literally).

  3. Take myself as example. While the Olympics games are helding ,I’m still working in the office as a result of the differece in time. Therefore I have to learn of the Olympic Games from Internet and cell phone. And I believe all the people who do not live in Europe have the same problem with me. In this case, the increasing streams of mobile and tablet is reasonable.

  4. NBC-MS=Failure Saturday, August 11, 2012

    NBC online Olympic coverage is an absolute joke — every time! In 2008, Silverlight was full of bugs. Divesting their MSNBC agreement did not help. This time, NBC’s greedy advertising sucks up so much bandwidth that even the 240p resolution stream chokes every 30 seconds — with 3 Mb/S bandwidth. Compare with the exceptional quality of America’s Cup online coverage.

  5. Tabletpcphones Home Monday, September 3, 2012

    When the Olympics games are helding,I am also working at office, I will get the information from internet, and at metro TV will display some news,video Olympic games compitition.

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