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Lesson learned from #NBCFAIL: Olympic streams enhanced prime-time viewing

Lesson learned from #NBCFAIL: Olympic streams enhanced prime-time viewing


Viewing figures prompted NBC to shift course

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The start of the Olympics should've been a big win for NBC. As the exclusive rights holder to the event, the media giant decided against live streaming the opening ceremony, and instead delayed the broadcast for US primetime TV viewers. The decision prompted #NBCFAIL to almost-perpetually trend on Twitter as the network continued to save the best events for delayed broadcast. However, through stats obtained via Twitter, surveys, and digital analytics, the company discovered what we'd expected to be true all along: multi-platform viewers spent longer watching the games than those who watched only on TV — over two hours more per day, in fact. More importantly, the broadcaster found that "the deluge of online viewing options did not cannibalize the coveted prime-time audience."

NBCs analysis of Olympic viewership, along with a wealth of data from Twitter, led to a change in strategy, specifically the decision to stream the closing ceremony live. The network says that its future coverage will be shaped by what it learned from the Olympics; hopefully next time round, US viewers will, like their British counterparts, be able to see the entire spectacle live.