If you are not a Comcast subscriber and live in the US, beware of exclusive rights negotiated by NBCU through the IOC, (International Olympic Committee) for Olympic coverage. You may be out of luck seeking broadband Olympic access. If not a Comcast customer, you’re left out of feeds associated with Comcast’s Xfinity on broadband and must either subscribe to a broadband service negotiated through Comcast, or watch NBC delayed coverage on a cable TV channel with another service provider. Those are the rules associated with paying for exclusive rights to Olympic programming. This leaves a dichotomy of more demand and less available programming.
US Broadband Content for the Few
Being a country of immigrants the US has ties to many nations and people with roots in those countries have a vested interest in seeing how those Olympic Athletes will perform. That creates the dilemma of finding broadband content on specific events where expatriates can view their countrymen compete.
NBC offers delayed coverage of the most highly rated events and Olympic hopefuls. Those include events picked as likely to garner the ratings needed for good revenue generation. That leaves the Comcast Xfinity broadband access portal for those who wish to watch live events which are mostly tied to American hopefuls.
Black-Market of Broadband Content Access
Some broadband users are opting to acquire access through proxy servers which shields the individual’s location. There are means of using IP addresses to show location, which can be illegal and accessed through so-called file-sharing websites. One such company, Pirate Bay, allowing uploads of Olympic content renamed itself “The Olympic Bay” according to a report by SouthCoastTODAY.com.
This indicates that exclusivity in broadcast rights to individual companies is both strong and a growing trend. Sports venues, with the Olympic broadcasting rights being a highest prized commodity, have historically been sold to the highest bidder. This is nothing new in the US; just look at the NFL, NBA, and other sports associations which garner high broadcast fees.
Convergence of Broadband Devices Fueling Demand
While NBC Universal concentrates on ad revenues through delayed primetime Olympic coverage, selecting highly rated events to make available on its Xfinity broadband service, world users are fueling demand for more Olympic coverage across multiple devices. Mobile access is a hot commodity indicating that overall demand is higher than anyone expected, continually growing at an exponential rate.
This demand has prompted broadcasters like the BBC to negotiate IOC Olympic rights for expatriates living in other countries. It seems however, if you live in a country where broadcasting rights were not negotiated, your broadband access to Olympic content is marvelous. That is, at least 10 streams of content showing live coverage of all events. Another statistic to ponder for US broadband customers is the lower fees in other countries, highlighting our global competitive weaknesses.
Dichotomy of Opposing Broadband Demand
As broadband-content demand continues to grow, and programming access continues to shrink, these two fundamentals seem at odds. Realistically our privately built broadband infrastructure has created a much different experience than foreign countries with fast broadband access, high penetration, cheaper prices, and content availability. If we are to compete economically on a global scale, we must think differently about our broadband-content availability. How can we make content access more affordable, highly penetrated, and accessible to the majority?