Analysts Say NBC’s Olympics Approach Is Too Web 1.0

The Olympics could be a big moment for online advertising, but JupiterResearch’s Emily Riley wonders if NBC will make the most of it. The holder of the coverage reins for the Beijing games is placing too much emphasis on TV and not enough on the Web, said the analyst.

“Users are rarely motivated to shift their viewing behavior from TV to the Web,” Riley told ClickZ News. “You’re literally going to have thousands of hours of footage that may never even be aired that are of interest to large groups and niche groups.”

That represents a huge opportunity for NBC, and possibly online advertising as a whole, believes Riley. The large multinational brands sponsoring the Olympics are “notoriously slow to adopt the Web,” she said. “This is our chance as Internet people to get them interested in a unique opportunity.”

NBC is bundling online pre-roll video and companion display ads with TV buys. Though most advertisers are purchasing TV and online, some are buying solely on the Web. It told investors recently it expects to collect around $1 billion from Olympics ad sales. NBCOlympics.com advertisers include Johnson & Johnson and DreamWorks, which is pushing its “Eagle Eye” flick on the games site.

Jupiter suggested the summer extravaganza could boost Web audiences above the 12 percent of online adults that it said have watched a live event online. It also could propel advertisers to consider doing cross-media campaigns rather than just buying TV.

NBC will provide over 2,000 hours of live video streams and more than 3,000 hours of on-demand video of full-event replays and highlights on its NBCOlympics.com site. MSN will also carry live streams and other content related to the games. Mobile TV broadcasts and mobile video alerts will also be made available by NBC.

In addition, the media firm is offering widgets featuring news, video and event results. And, although it sharing functions are available in its Microsoft video player, Riley and fellow Jupiter Analyst Bobby Tulsiani contended NBC isn’t taking full advantage of syndication and interactive capabilities enabled by digital media.

“NBC is hoarding the content,” said Riley, noting the firm should be making it easier for viewers to distribute the content. “If you’re looking for reach and portability online, that�s the play online to gaining market share.”

She continued, “They are being really a Web 1.0 company in a lot of ways. They’re not leveraging Hulu for example.”

“I think that they might not get the reach they could if they offered it in a more Web 2.0 fashion�. The opportunity to change consumers’ watching behavior may be more limited,” she said.

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