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The Olympics and TV – Everywhere

July 26, 2012

LondonOlympicsWith the opening ceremony only a few days away, it’s been hard to miss the increasing buzz around the start of the Summer Olympic Games. The current buzz only foreshadows the big way in which the Games will burst into America’s consciousness starting tomorrow. 

NBCUniversal owns the U.S. rights to carry content from the Games, and the company is expending every effort to extend Olympics content to every platform within its reach. More than 5,500 hours of Olympics programming will be telecast – live, via videotape, and by way of “TV Everywhere” services.  Of that total, more than 3,500 hours of streaming content will be available. This means that tens of millions of cable TV subscribers can gain access to Olympics content on their “second screens” – tablets, laptops, computers, smartphones, Internet-enabled TVs, and other devices.

This round of Olympic Games may be the biggest thing to happen to TV Everywhere since cable and content companies announced the first partnerships on multi-screen viewing a couple of years ago.  So cable operators have been working hard in recent months to ensure that when customers go online in search of Olympics content, it’s easy to get. 

To access NBCU’s digital and online Olympics material, a customer typically will have to “authenticate” or “verify” his or her identity as a cable or multichannel video customer who is entitled to access all the material. NBCU is offering help getting logged on at www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra/help. Logistically, this process should be easy:  go to a designated website; select the name of your cable, satellite, or telco video provider; and when prompted, enter the username and password that corresponds with your account. Once you are verified, Boom! – a door will open on thousands of hours of regular and special digital content from the Olympic Games.

Early internal tests by some cable companies show a success rate well above 90 percent for those customers that actually know or remember their username and password. The trick will be in helping those customers who may not have that information, to easily work their way through a short process to re-acquire that information and get logged in. While customers are advised to follow the on-screen instructions, customer care agents have received special training and will be ready to assist those that may need specific assistance.

It’s not a great leap to expect that consumers who enjoy digital and online Olympics content will be more willing to come back to TV Everywhere services to enjoy more sports, entertainment, news, or information programming. And while the spotlight will be on the Olympics over the next two weeks, that content is just a snippet of cable’s efforts to provide customers the broadest possible range of options for viewing – anywhere, any time – the award-winning cable content they’ve long enjoyed only in the living room.