Tim Carmody on NBC’s announcement that they’ll live-stream the Super Bowl for those unwilling or unable to gather around a truly giant flatscreen and risk stroke for the big day:
Last week, when the NFL announced renewed multimillion dollar broadcast deals with NBC, CBS and FOX, league commissioner Roger Goodell promised more digital innovation from the NFL and its TV partners. “The networks will continue their outstanding coverage of the NFL,” Goodell said, “while also helping to deliver more football to more fans using the best and most current technology.”
“We don’t want to limit ourselves to people not in front of the TV,” NBC Sports VP Rick Cordella said in a story for NBCSports.com. “The playoffs are appointment viewing,” Cordella added. “People schedule their day around it.”
If NBC’s Super Bowl experiment is a success, what other tentpole events could benefit from the same treatment? Besides other sports staples like the World Series, Wimbledon or the World Cup, you could also imagine popular interactive events like the American Idol finale or must-see award shows like the Oscars migrating to viewers’ iPads.
Remember two years ago, when ABC and Cablevision’s brinkmanship in a dispute over broadcast fees nearly kept the Oscars off the air for millions of New York-area cable customers? That entire dispute could have changed completely if ABC had simulcast the awards show online.
I still think that most viewers who actually consider these events appointment viewing will try to be in front of big screens. But if big events producers want their stuff streamed online (and I assume they’d be starting to build those demand into contracts, though I could be wrong), it’ll be a good spur for networks to build out their apps, websites, and capacity to handle significant simultaneous traffic. Not to mention, a great hook for audiences who might not have been watching online to get introduced to well-built, legal ways to get access to the content that they want.