Blog Post

NBC Didn’t Dump Silverlight for Flash

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

NBC raised eyebrows when it live-streamed its first NFL game last week using Adobe’s Flash. There was speculation that the peacock had unceremoniously dumped Microsoft Silverlight after the technology’s debut during the Olympics.

Not true, according to both Microsoft and NBC. The network had a separate deal with the NFL that was in place before the Olympics, and the two had nothing to do with each other. The NFL currently uses Flash for its own site, so extending that usage makes sense. When contacted about the story, the NFL emailed us the following response:

“This is an exciting new way for fans to watch NFL games,” said Hans Schroeder, NFL vice president of digital media. “The online broadcast will provide a new level of interactivity, with fans getting to chose how they experience NFL games. Adobe’s Flash technology will deliver an immersive, interactive and high-quality product for NFL fans across the country.”

Additionally, NBC uses Flash video for full episodes and clips of its TV programming on its site.

According to Chris Carper, director of business development for Microsoft’s Silverlight, Microsoft is in ongoing discussions with the NFL about using Silverlight, but those talks are still at a high level and haven’t gotten to any contract stage.

2 Responses to “NBC Didn’t Dump Silverlight for Flash”

  1. It would appear to me that the strategy at NBC Sports is to leverage their position in the industry to gain upfront coverage of cost/ product dev vs. long term ad revenue.

    I based this opinion on the following:
    1) Silverlight delivered <$6MM in revenue (when March Madness yielded over $20MM, so monetization was not the driver of the decision to use Silverlight).
    2) Microsoft was unable to woo (or pony up enough cash) vs. Adobe for the NFL.

    Anyone else have thoughts on the above? I give NBC credit for understanding their strength but IMO the user experience could be much better (ala Democratic Convention).