NBC’s Wright Touts ‘Broadband Olympics’


“New for the Olympics is 2,400 hours of live coverage which includes more than 1,000 hours of live streaming media (covering 24 separate sports) over 17 days,” NBC Universal Executive Officer Bob Wright told the audience yesterday for his keynote at NXTComm in a preview of the network’s coverage of the 2008 games in China. More handball and table tennis coverage for everybody!

bob_wright.jpgPlans also include delivering content to mobile devices as well as PCs. This is in addition to NBC’s usual broadcast coverage and live events shown on cable networks like CNBC and MSNBC. The network signed a similarly cross-platform promotional deal with TV Guide earlier in the year. But how will it capitalize on all that coverage?

What Wright didn’t discuss was the advertising model. NBC could potentially charge for access, although for the 1992 games in Barcelona, NBC’s “Triplecast” experiment in charging for more Olympics coverage was a $100 million loss for them and partner Cablevision (though my family was one of the only 165,000 subscribers). The network paid $3.5 billion for the American broadcasting rights for the winter and summer events from 2000 to 2008.

Also in his keynote, Wright continued with the bellicose anti-piracy rhetoric of recent weeks. “By year end, six of the eight top ISPs will have put this programming in place,” he told the audience of telecommunication industry insiders assembled in Las Vegas, but declined to name which ones.

In a related story, a recent report from Ellacoya Networks actually shows that HTTP traffic like streamed shows, and not P2P file sharing, actually dominates web traffic, directly contradicting earlier statements by NBC executives.

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