Why NBC Didn’t Cash In on Olympics Video

Aug 23rd, 2008 | By | Category: Internet TV, Video

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that NBC failed to cash in on interest in the Olympics with its online presence:

NBC’s decision to limit the amount of Olympics footage on its Web site has ticked off sports fans. But that decision could also dog the network in another way: NBCOlympics.com will generate just $5.75 million in video-ad revenue from the Games, according to estimates from research firm eMarketer Inc.

At a time when video ads are starting to catch on, analysts say NBC had an opportunity to make a lot more money had it offered more online content during the Games. CBS Sports, by contrast, streamed all of the NCAA’s March Madness basketball-tournament games live earlier this year and made $23 million in ad revenue, the CBS Corp. network says. (The basketball tournament lasted three weeks, while the Olympics runs over two weeks.)

It’s pretty clear why NBC failed to wow people with it’s approach to the Olympics – it used an old media approach to new media. It frustrated fans, chased away young people, drove people to unofficial channels and, as a result, many thought NBC’s Olympic coverage was a failure.

Update: It looks like a lot of people are coming around to our viewpoint on NBC’s Olympic strategy:

  • TechCrunch says “No Matter How NBC Spins It, Olympics Web Strategy Comes Up A Loser.”
  • Gawker‘s take: “NBC Blew The Olympics Online.” That actually sounds more like the Fleshbot take….
  • BloggingStocks call’s NBC’s coverage “an online failure.”
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One Response to “Why NBC Didn’t Cash In on Olympics Video”

  1. Was the older model they used frustrating, you bet. Especially when one or two of the commercials weren’t even cute the first time through. But these broadcasts typically aired what the network wasn’t going to cover on their regular boradcasts. That left little for those who hungered to see their favorite non-profiled sport. So we watched and tremendously enjoyed the coverage.

    However, understand, this is coming from a 57-year old who remembers never being able to see anything he wanted to watch growing up and am ecstatic about the new technology.

    Market forces will get it right. NBC will adapt, more and better will be the result. Thank you NBC. I got to watch what I wanted – a huge jump from reading the results in the local paper two days after the competition ended.

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