Watch Winter Olympic Games 2014 Live
While NBC is slowly learning how to utilize the internet for their coverage, other broadcasters, have fully embraced internet broadcast for the Olympics. CTV, the Canadian broadcaster for the Vancouver games, are broadcasting all events live on their website. Unfortunately for US viewers online, the coverage is blacked out for anyone on this side of the boarder (that is NBCs doing). The same goes for the European coverage. The European Union broadcaster allows views in EU countries to watch most events live online, though they are not available for viewing in the US.
Next year, the International Olympic Committee will take bids on which United States network will provide coverage of the summer and winter Olympic Games beginning in 2014. NBC, FOX and an joint ABC/ ESPN bid are all in the running to broadcast the next four Olympic games with the winning network paying over a billion dollars for the privilege. Whether or not the next broadcaster will incorporate internet coverage into their package is yet to be seen, but chances are as the net becomes more relevant in live broadcasts, we will see more live streaming Olympic coverage in the United States.
The main U.S. streaming outlet will be NBCOlympics.com, using a video player built by YouTube. Two mobile apps will support the effort. The NBC Olympics app brings users up-to-date schedules, news and results, backstories, and video highlights. NBC Live Extra is the app that gives users full streaming coverage of all the Olympic events.
Like NBC, the BBC is streaming all the Olympic events live on the Web and through dedicated mobile apps, but will also offer UK viewers the option to view streams directly within Facebook. BBC Sport debuted its Facebook streaming with the Wimbledon championship. For the Olympics, it will offer UK Facebook users 24 simultaneous streams, and the usual options to like, share, and chat with friends, as well as see which streams friends are watching.
Going all-in on streaming is not a risk-free undertaking for NBC. In the past two games, it has limited streaming for fear of cannibalizing its broadcast audience, an understandable concern. If the network doesnt deliver the audience advertisers are expecting, its high-stakes gamble on the games through 2020 could cost a bundle.
The tidal shift toward online viewing since the most recent Olympics, though, is something NBC and the Olympic Committee could not ignore. Two years in Internet time is enough for paradigms to shift four years is a lifetime. The iPhone was barely a year old for the Beijing Olympics. And the iPad came out the month after the Olympic flame was extinguished in Vancouver. Today, video viewing on the go and second screen viewing on the sofa are well-established habits.