Five Ways The Olympics Risks Losing The Online Audience

Aug 6th, 2008 | By | Category: General, Internet TV, Video

The Olympics are traditionally one of the biggest events in television, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics is sure to carry on this tradition.

However, people’s attention is moving from broadcast television to on-demand Internet television. The Olympics, with all the restrictions it has placed on Internet viewers, risks losing the attention of the online audience.

Here are some of the many restrictions that you face if you want to follow the Olympics online:

  • The Olympics and its partners are restricting what you can watch online – the Olympic’s media partners, like NBC, are restricting what you can watch online, because they make more money on broadcast TV than online TV.
  • The Olympics and its partners restrict where you can watch – For example, there’s a YouTube Olympic channel, but you’re probably banned from watching it, based on where you live.
  • The Olympics and its partners restrict how you can watchNBC has a snazzy Beijing Olympics site, but it’s being used as a tool to push Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. That means you’ll probably have to install new software to be able to use the site. Otherwise, you’ll see something like this:
  • The Olympics and its partners restrict who you can watch – the BBC, CBC and others have extensive coverage, but you probably can’t watch it because of exclusive media deals.
  • The Olympics has banned new media style coverage – back in February, we reported that the Olympics had banned podcasting, video podcasting and other forms of citizen media from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I’d like to subscribe to my favorite athletes and get coverage of the event in their voices – but that’s going to have to wait for a future Olympiad.

There are ways around many of these limitations, using proxies for foreign sites, for example. Silicon Valley Insider has a good rundown of these options, which they characterize as “convoluted.” Most people will watch something else onine, instead.

This is a premier international event, but the Olympics has severely handicapped coverage on the world’s international network – the Internet.

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