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Three-screen Olympics heralds change in TV viewing habits

With NBC Universal offering fast three-screen availability of all 17 days of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the XXIX Olympiad represents a change in TV viewing and media consumption, according to Russell Zack, Anystream VP of product management.

"This is the first cross-platform video Olympics," Zack said. "Until the beginning of this year, you had a lot of time to make content available. Now, there will be an expectation that consumers will have access wherever and whenever they want.

"You can truly create a multiplatform experience that complements the TV viewing," he said. "An article came out this morning on showing that there has been no cannibalizing [of the TV audience]. People are going back to the site to see events again."

NBC Universal is using the Anystream Media Lifecycle software platform to manage more than 2600 hours of Olympics programming for more than 16 syndication partners in minutes — 24/7. Anystream's unified platform digitizes and packages video and schedules and publishes it for all portals. Anystream not only automates production and publishing, it unifies it on a single platform it as well.

In the past, content owners used separate systems to publish to different audiences — Web, television and mobile phone. But now they are being pushed by advertisers to centralize these operations. "Sponsors like Coca-Cola don't want to buy on just one platform; they want [advertising buys] across platforms."

So where does Zack see multiplatform video headed after the 2008 Beijing Games?

"You're going to see service providers and content owners creating integrated business agreements where content is available across all portals. I think the quality will go up in the next 24 months. Look at 2006 — you couldn't do any [streaming] video on a phone then. Now, it's easy to deliver to a cell phone."

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