NBC U Pieces Together Complex Olympics Coverage; Will Have Dedicated Channel On MobiTV

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: Not only will NBC Universal broadcast 418 hours of coverage across its own broadcast and cable networks, the U.S. rightsholder for the 2006 Winter Olympics has patched together an online/mobile network that may be unprecedented in terms of extending reach — teaming up with more than a dozen companies ranging from About.com to Zingy for access to Torino beyond the big screen. Among those involved: Apple, Google, ESPN.com, Intel, Lenovo, TriggerNews.com and Zap2It. Three of the sites — About.com, Google and ESPN.com — are traffic magnets — as well as traffic drivers. Highlights include:

Mobile: During the 2004 Summer Olympics, mobile video was limited to brief highlights on Edge-enabled AT&T Wireless handsets; at the time, that was the Nokia 6620. This time, anyone with a MobiTV subscription can watch highlights on a dedicated channel that will be updated daily. It’s not the same as live portability but it’s a step closer. I’m told — can’t say by whom — another mobile announcement is expected. No details but Verizon V Cast is the biggest name missing since both Sprint and Cingular offer MobiTV. Other mobile offerings include the Zingy-produced mobile edition of NBCOlympics.com a mobile storefront for Olympic-related ringtones and wallpaper.

Google Video: Another high-profile chance for Google Video. NBC will feed Google hundreds of pre-Games previews, in-Games 15-second previews of highlights that will link to NBCOlympics.com for the full clips, and post-Games highlights and highlights of individual sports for download to own. In a twist that may rile some Google purists, Google search user who type in Olympic keywords will be offered the clips and other Olympic-related content. Type in the write right words — “ice hockey” instead of “hockey,” “speed skating” instead of “speedskating” — and a blue-shaded results box at the top shows the TV schedule and links to NBC’s site.

ESPN.com: This pragmatic agreement was made before the Al Michaels’ deal that resulted in expanded cable video highlights. ESPN.com will get a daily two-minute Bob Costas video for ESPN Motion (including promotion for NBC primetime) while users who click on Olympics see a co-branded page that highlights coverage on the NBC site.

About.com: The New York Times Company unit will cross-promote with links and both will feature the “About Olympics” blog by About.com travel writer James Martin.

Intel: On-demand high-res highlights will be available to broadband users of computers with Viiv and Centrino Duo. (Rafat and I each recently acquired Viiv-powered Media Centers so I’m sure we’ll check this out.)

Apple: Bob Costas will do a daily audio podcast with highlights and a preview of the upcoming day’s events.
More details here. We’ll be watching.

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