Streaming the Olympics

As Catie Keck points out in this article on the Verge, streaming the Olympics is a mess. One thing Catie didn’t point out that has been particularly vexing to me is how they’ve not included full DVR/VOD of any sports on Peacock. Especially for users that pay for the premium tier of Peacock, being able to watch full coverage of any sport seems like a no brainer.

Instead, I have to go to NBCOlympics.com and sign in with a non-streaming TV provider. It feels like it’s intentionally designed to punish so-called cord cutters even though those users are the ones most likely to be paying for the premium Peacock tier.

I just don’t believe that any of this is a technical limitation. If they can provide the VOD on NBCOlympics.com, then the content is surely able to be added to Peacock. I assume this has something to do with contractual obligations and rights management or something.

But think about this, the Games were delayed a full year. Peacock was launched on July 15, 2020 which would have been right around the time the Olympics were originally scheduled to start. Someone over there had to have been thinking then how Peacock figured into the plans. Then, they were given an entire year to improve on those, likely rushed, plans.

Yet, they’ve delivered a byzantine and punitive system with poor discovery and unclear capabilities. If anything could have boosted paid subscribers to Peacock, unfettered access to full VODs of all coverage could have been it. In our house, we’d have paid extra to be able to watch every minute of the equestrian events whether they be live or recorded.

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