NBC’s OnLine Stalking Horse – It’s All About Broadcast Not Web – A Diss on Social Media or Wait An Application of Social Media

Update: The NYTimes’ Brian Stelter has a great story on the success of NBC (he asserts the same point that I wrote over the weekend). Brian writes “NBC treated the Olympics like a research laboratory, and it says it is gleaning information about how people preferred to consume content from its combination of television, online and mobile offerings. (Critics charge that because the network did not stream the most popular sporting events live, its findings are skewed.) Regardless, the network is using the Olympics to assert that TV is the preferred medium of consumers, with the vast majority of viewing — 93 percent — done via television.” – It’s basically a great success and shows that the long tail distribution applies to this great example from NBC of converged media- As the saying goes “It’s all good”.

— my orginal post

NBC’s web site strategy for the Olympics was brilliant from a business perspective. Pump the hell out of it via promotion (like a crack dealer handing out samples) then do the “take away”. Everyone was so jacked to get online coverage – sure they did – Live Ping Pong and Fencing. The big show’s was the TV coverage.

What’s so smart about this move? NBC just followed the money. They have “scale” on the broadcast signal and advertising on TV. The Internet at best is just a social media promotional tool. Why ADVERTISING DOESN’T WORK on the Internet. Better said broadcast advertising techniques don’t work on the web. It’s a simple numbers game. NBC just could never scale up the broadcast online to get the kind of return that they can command on the TV side. An example EMarketer calculated its ad-revenue estimates based on the number of video streams that NBC said it generated during the first seven days of the Games. EMarketer estimated that NBC charged on average $50 per thousand ad impressions. This is a joke on return on the video ads.

So I say NBC was smart. On the user side they just didn’t get the coverage that they wanted, but hell NBC paid for the rights. NBC wins and users loose.

The Wall Street Journal article by Emily Steele frames NBC’s online effort as a failure. No way Emily they did fine. There is no there there online for NBC. The end game was the TV broadcast and TV advertising. The web was a promotional and fringe service.

I’m bullish on online video but the market for broadcasting online is in absolute turmoil.

Henry Blogett has a good take on his blog SAI. Of course I’m biased because he agrees with me. In fact I’m hard pressed to find someone to disagree with me on this post (except the web 2.0 echo chamber).

Digital Video Dominating the Olympics Coverage – New Paradigm in Broadcasting Live Events

The amount of coverage at the Olypmics is significant and all of the video will be in digital. I found this podcast from Cisco that talks about the challenges from a network perspective.

The podcast is here.

I’m trying to get Cisco on the phone to go into detail about the provisioning and systems level design. This could be a benchmark for all live events.

The question that I have is will this be a new model in doing massive live events or just live events. There are many companies out there now doing Live video from Lifecasting to major broadcasters.

The only issue that I have with the Olympics is that the only player is Silverlight which isn’t exactly the standard in desktops. Google is also doing some work on the mobile side and videos on YouTube.

The new broadcasting paradigm needs to connect with a new set of users. This morning I asked my 11 year old if she want to watch the Olympics (either online or on TV) – she said that she’d rather go to the movies. Very telling.