How NBC has failed miserably in its execution of live-streaming the Olympics on its site.
Like so many people in the world, I have been watching the Olympics as much as possible. In America, broadcaster NBC is showing the Olympics across its various broadcast stations. Additionally the network is broadcasting live feeds of everything at NBCOlympics.com. Of course, this intrigued me, so I checked out its user experience, and business model. Sadly, in at least one of these categories the site would never win an Olympic medal itself.
The site's live streams are particularly problematic. Seeing as how the live streams are a major reason one goes to this website, the fact that they're implemented as they are is particularly troublesome. Because they're streaming live, unedited streams, there are no obvious places for commercials. And, because we're talking about a broadcasting company, it only thinks in terms of commercials.
As a result, there are automatic commercials that replace the live feed every few minutes or so. When I watched the stream, commercials came literally every minute or two. The live action was disturbed by at least a 15-second commercial, and often a longer commercial. As these commercials are timed to come on about every minute, they interrupt anything the viewer is watching randomly. "Randomly" in this case translates into "always at a bad moment."
On mobile devices, watching live video requires an app download. The user experience, however, remains the same. As soon as one logs in to the app a commercial plays. When the viewer changes a channel, a commercial plays. Then, once the viewer is watching a channel, commercials interrupt every minute or so.
Now, one might say, "this is how free video is supported." Well, this is not free video. You must be a cable subscriber to even access these live feeds. These feeds are coming as part of your paid subscription to the cable companies. No, that doesn't mean they should be commercial free, but this overabundance of commercials makes the games absolutely impossible to watch via the website or the mobile app.
What could NBC have done instead? Any number of common ideas already found in online video. YouTube has successfully created lower thirds (but smaller) to capitalize on popular videos and provide advertising revenue from these videos. NBC could have easily used this idea to provide non-intrusive advertising that kept the viewers watching. Instead, it has stuck to its traditional commercial model, which has the opposite effect: people simply stop watching the streams altogether. Advertisers lose out big when no one is watching.
While I applaud NBC for envisioning an online/mobile experience that allows cable subscribers to watch all the games live, it has failed miserably in execution. Sadly, the network's user experience places it nowhere near winning a medal in these Olympics.
Until next time…
Want to learn more?
Attend ClickZ Live New York March 30 - April 1. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live brings together over 60 expert speakers to offer an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!
Jack Aaronson, CEO of The Aaronson Group and corporate lecturer, is a sought-after expert on enhanced user experiences, customer conversion, retention, and loyalty. If only a small percentage of people who arrive at your home page transact with your company (and even fewer return to transact again), Jack and his company can help. He also publishes a newsletter about multichannel marketing, personalization, user experience, and other related issues. He has keynoted most major marketing conferences around the world and regularly speaks at Shop.org and other major industry shows. You can learn more about Jack through his LinkedIn profile.
Singapore, 5-6 March
Bangkok, 17-18 March
Hong Kong, April 2015
A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software
Manage your performance marketing with the right solution. Choose a platform that will mutually empower advertisers and media partners!
Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.
March 24, 2015
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT