As a possible precursor to live online video coverage of some events for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, NBC will stream this Sunday’s men’s hockey gold medal game live on NBCOlympics.com.
While NBC’s prime time ratings have been a disappointment, the network found a degree of success online, where its Olympic website will record upwards of 350 million page views and 8 million video streams by the end of the Games.
According to NBC, Feb. 23 set the single-day record for Web traffic for the game at 29.7 million, fueled by its best hour ever from 4-5 p.m., with 5.5 million views as surfers sought info on the ladies figure skating final.
“We wish prime time would have performed at the high end of our expectations,” says NBC Universal Television Group President and COO Randy Falco, who added NBC decided to stream the hockey final online “because we have been pleasantly surprised by the enormous appetite for video coverage of the Games online. We will likely have nearly 100,000 hours of video seen on the web by the time we leave here.”
Sunday’s hockey final between Sweden and either Russia or Finland will be the first time NBC has put live video on the site. Previously, NBC made video highlights available only after the event had aired on television.
Falco also estimated NBC will make a $60-70 million profit off of $900 million in revenue for the Torino Games. NBC Olympics chair Dick Ebersol had put the profit figure at $50 million-75 million earlier in the week.
Falco also said that roughly 45% of NBC’s Olympic revenues came from network prime time, down from about 75% for the Atlanta Games in 1996. “That is probably the clearest indication I have of how our business is changing,” he says of moving event coverage onto multiple television outlets and the Internet.