What NBC Should Do for the 2012 Olympics

Commentary and analysis from the staff of Broadcasting & Cable.

I have a suggestion for how NBC should
cover the 2012 Summer Games, an idea
reminiscent of something the network
tried in the early 1990s.
I was in Australia for the first week of the
Games, and was surprised at how the Nine
Network (a broadcaster) and Foxtel (a cable
provider) teamed up to televise them.
Nine aired many of the events live and
ran a nightly primetime special with the
highlights, just like NBC does. Foxtel subscribers
could pay an extra $65 to get access
to its Olympics package, which delivered
live and full coverage on four channels of
every medal event and every one with an
Aussie competing.

In 1992, NBC tried to do a similar Olympics
pay-per-view service
dubbed TripleCast.
It flopped. But I think
the idea needs to be resurrected.

So, here is my idea for NBC: Add a premium
product with multiple dedicated channels
offering live, around-the-clock coverage,
including events that would normally
be held for primetime. Also offer access to
every event live online, so people can watch
(ahem) at work or on the road.

Pay-per-view and cable technology have
come a long way since 1992, and by 2012
the industry should have a real handle on the
possibilities of TV Anywhere-style online authentication
plays. Such a product could drive
revenue, and because it would be largely additive
probably would not cause any real harm
to the primetime program.