NBCUniversal extended its pact with Yahoo to promote live-streaming access to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games -- but you'll still need a cable or satellite TV subscription to watch the bulk of the action from Sochi, Russia.
The Peacock's deal with Yahoo is aimed at driving pay-TV users to log in to NBCOlympics.com, where they will be able to access live streams of all 98 Winter Olympic events for the first time. All told, NBCU's digital platforms will offer more than 1,000 hours of live content over the 18 days of the Olympic Winter Games Feb. 7-23 from Sochi, more than double that of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
NBCU, which is owned by Comcast, hasn't said which events it will stream entirely for free -- only that the "vast majority" of programming will require cable, satellite or telco credentials to access. It has deals with operators representing more than 100 million U.S. households, covering virtually all pay-TV subs.
Under the NBC Olympics alliance with Yahoo, the Internet site will present U.S. visitors with deep links to specific video highlights and live-streamed events on NBCOlympics.com. Yahoo's users will "now have easy, one-click access to NBC Olympics' exclusive and robust digital Olympic video assets," Rick Cordella, senior VP and GM of NBC Sports Digital, said in announcing the expanded pact.
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In addition, Yahoo Sports will work with NBC Sports to contribute Olympic news and analysis for digital segments that will be promoted to both NBCOlympics.com and Yahoo users. Yahoo also will integrate Olympics content into products such as Yahoo Search, Flickr and Tumblr and will launch a daily digital Olympics show. The pact extends the previous deal between NBC Sports and Yahoo Sports, reached in December 2012, which includes co-produced original programming.
NBCU and Comcast are again using the Olympics to push awareness and usage of "TV Everywhere," to drive home the point that current TV content is available only to paying subscribers -- though the walled-garden approach is sure to again prompt grumbling from the cord-cutting vanguard.
Pay-TV users authenticated about 9.9 million devices during the 2012 London Olympic Games, either on NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Olympics Live Extra app. Since then, NBCU has made several improvements to the authentication process with the 2014 Winter Games. Those include auto-verification for some cable and telco customers based on a customer's Internet Protocol address; and a cross-domain verification for customers who have already verified their subscriptions with Adobe Pass on their desktop or mobile device.
As with the London games, NBCU is offering a how-to video with Ryan Seacrest explaining how cable, satellite and telco TV subs can log in to watch the Winter Games online. The Seacrest segment also will air as part of the Peacock's Olympic cross-channel marketing efforts and on NBCOlympics.com, and pay-TV providers will begin running customized versions later this month.