NBC’s online Olympic video service, NBCOlympics.com, reached a modest amount of success as the company streamed a whopping 2,200 hours of video of Olympic events over the last two weeks. As a result, NBC was able to reel in 4.3 million viewers and $5.75 million in ad revenue from the “$1 billion research lab.”
However, the real winner was Yahoo!, which topped NBC in overall traffic with 4.7 million unique visitors a day. Although Yahoo wasn’t able to compete with the live streaming, they did offer articles, photos, and a blog, which evidently linked to a BBC video of Usain Bolt’s record-breaking 200-meter-race before NBC aired it on its network or put the video online.
Viewers and researchers seem to agree that many viewers were dissuaded from using the service because of the mandatory Silverlight install and DRM issues that plagued the site. Users were also restricted from watching the streams if they selected a cable or satellite provider that wasn’t partnered with NBC. Some viewers complained about the lack of information and updates, which could have potentially contributed to the overall returning viewership.
The ratings for NBC’s television coverage of the Games were record-breaking this month. But the extent to which the Internet served as a supplement to television was unprecedented, and there were two clear winners: NBC’s own Web site and Yahoo’s Olympics section.