RealTime IT News

NBC's Web Olympics Coverage a Record Breaker


The results are in, and they show athletes weren't the only ones to set records at the just-completed Olympic games in Beijing. Online video coverage of the events broke several records and established entirely new categories for online viewing, according to NBC technology partner Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA).

"More than 6 million people accessed NBCOlympics.com using their cell phone," said Rebecca Tong, product line manager for Sun's x64 systems used by NBC. "They weren't doing that four years ago at the last Olympics."

NBC used a total of 160 Intel Xeon-based Sunfire x4450 x4150 servers to support its Web site coverage of the games. About half of the quad-core Xeon servers, running Windows Server 2003, were used for production, while the other half for disaster recovery and staging.

Even though NBC broadcast and several cable channels had the most extensive coverage TV coverage of the Olympics ever, online outlets received no shortage of interest online as well. Sun said NBCOlympics.com served up an unprecedented 1.3 billion Web pages and 72 million video streams. In total the site offered more than 10 million hours of coverage.

The Web site provided approximately 2,200 total hours of live streaming Olympic broadband video coverage of 25 different sports. NBCOlympics.com also featured more than 3,000 hours of on-demand access to full-event replays and highlights, including daily recaps of key events, best-of montages, commentator analysis and athlete-specific clips.

Part of that online demand may have been driven by the network's decision to tape delay certain events so they would be broadcast in prime time across different time zones.

This has become standard procedure for the past several Olympics. Online viewers could get the latest results and video of some live Olympic events. "We live in an instantaneous world where people want to know things immediately," Tong told InternetNews.com.

[cob:Special_Report]The broader online Olympics coverage comes at a time when all the major sports are ramping up their Web presence. Just yesterday, The National Football League announced that for the first time it will make the full-length transmission of some of its games widely available in the United States over the Internet.

The new Sunday Night Football Extra, will feature "high-quality streaming video" as part of a deal with Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) to use that company's Flash technology. SNFE will include several interactive extras, including alternative camera angles, picture-in-picture technology, in-game highlights, live statistics and interactivity with network broadcasters via a live blog.