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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympics Online Coverage Tied to TV

I just had a strange experience at the NBC Olympics site. I was interested in watching some of the live coverage online, since NBC TV was showing the women's marathon (which I find boring to watch). So clicked on one of the Live links and was told that I didn't have the right package with NBCs television partners to access their live online content.

But then asked with a simple drop-down if I had a different package than the basic antenae it indicated. Selecting a different option then allowed me to access the coverage. And, while watching I was still pushed ads during what would be TV Commercial breaks.

To me this seems like another example of protecting turf. Hiding online content behind a wall unless you're already a subscriber to offline services. Similar to how the NYTimes used to have Select content protected. Or how some magazines require a physical subscription.

Now, I don't consider myself the type that all content should be free. But it seems that NBC has a real chance to extend their audience beyond typical television viewers, especially because of how little they are actually able to show on their television stations.
On the other hand, if they aren't selling separate sponsorship opportunities for online coverage then they probably don't want to encourage too much viewing Live online.

But, if they really wanted to keep their content protected, a drop-down menu is not the most secure way.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to freeload a little more tonight.