Why NBC Chose Adobe Primetime to Power its Digital Olympics Coverage

By Adam Flomenbaum 

New-Primetime-LogoWhile NBC and partner networks are in the midst of broadcasting more than 500 hours of Olympic programming on TV, NBC has committed to doubling this output online via NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. To power such expansive and expanded streaming coverage, NBC has chosen Adobe and their Adobe Primetime platform.  Adobe Primetime is an advanced TV publishing and monetization platform for programmers and pay-TV service providers.

After receiving flack for how it handled tape-delayed TV coverage during the 2012 London Games, NBC has enabled viewers to stream events live for this year’s Winter Games – even if NBC reserves these events to broadcast on TV in primetime.  It has been less than two years since the 2012 London Games, but viewing habits, especially when it comes to consuming sports content, have already changed. NBC’s decision to allow instant access to events, then, became less of a value-add and more of a necessity.

After we spoke with Campbell Foster, Director of Product Marketing, Video Solutions at Adobe, the reasoning behind NBC’s shift became even clearer: consumers are watching on more devices since the 2012 London Games, “[o]ne quarter of all sports video content is viewed on mobile devices now, up 73% year over year,” and seamless advertising integration results in even more revenue.

Foster spoke with Lost Remote about Adobe Primetime’s role in the Games, how the online viewing experience has advanced compared to the London Olympics, and the company’s takeaways from its Digital Video Benchmark Report.

Lost Remote: How do you think auto-authentication will impact streaming numbers?

Campbell Foster: We expect it to increase the streaming numbers. Internal data shows that auto-authentication increases viewership within a household by roughly two to three times.

LR: How did you decide on an initial 30-minute preview for viewers, and then 5 minutes per day after that without having to authenticate?

Foster: The temporary access window is determined by the programmer, in this case, NBC Sports.

LR: What improvements to the Adobe Primetime experience will viewers immediately notice compared to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London?

Foster: For the first time, every event will be available on every connected screen, live and on-demand.

In another industry first, broadcast TV commercials will be replaced dynamically across every screen for live and on-demand viewing – resulting in more-relevant ads and a buffer-free viewing experience.

Subscribers of Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, and Midcontinent pay-TV services will be able to bypass the login page of the NBC Sports Live Extra experience when accessing the site and apps from within their homes.

LR: What are some of the key takeaways from the Q4 Digital Video Benchmark Report? How will these findings impact the social TV experience for the Sochi Games, and what do you predict the impact will be on the 2016 Summer Olympics? 

Foster: Based on data from 600-plus media and entertainment sites, 22.5 billion online video starts, half a billion video starts from mobile devices and 574 million TV Everywhere streams, Adobe found that:

Consumers are watching on more devices since the last Olympics: Gaming consoles have become the fastest growing video consumption device with 365% year-ver-year growth.

Sports are fueling video growth across screens: One quarter of all sports video content is viewed on mobile devices now, up 73% year over year.

Google Glass is being used for media consumption, not shopping: more than half of browsing time on Google Glass spent on media/entertainment content, with sports driving the largest share

LR: What are your benchmarks for whether these Games are successful?

Foster: System uptime, viewer satisfaction ratings, a happy NBC. We’d like to see an improvement of the NBC Sports Live Extra App’s rating in Google Play and on the App Store; however, TV Everywhere apps typically have lower ratings because consumers prefer free content without having to login.