Microsoft kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show on Sunday night by announcing a major partnership with NBC to webcast the Olympic games on demand using the Silverlight player technology. The partnership was announced by Bill Gates at the CES keynote this evening in Las Vegas. The new site will host 2,200 hours of live event video coverage, with more than 20 simultaneous live video streams at peak times. An additional 3,000 hours of on-demand video will be available, including full event replays and highlights. It would be interesting to know if there was an "incentive" from Microsoft to NBC to have them use the Silverlight platform as opposed to Adobe. In any case, interesting news.
Here is the press release:
NBC Universal and Microsoft Team Up On Unprecedented Web Offering for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games NBC's Olympic on-line coverage will be delivered by the MSN Network- "NBCOlympics.com on MSN"– and use Microsoft's Silverlight Technology to Stream Thousands of Hours of Exclusive Interactive Video from Beijing Games
Universal, owner of the exclusive U.S. media rights to this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, China (August 8-24, 2008), announced today that it was teaming up with MSN and Microsoft in an unprecedented strategic alliance to create "NBCOlympics.com on MSN", a next-generation online experience for Olympic fans across the United States. With thousands of hours of competition video in both live and on- demand formats, deep analysis and results delivered from NBC's award-winning broadcast and digital media teams, and Microsoft's Silverlight technology to deliver deeply immersive user experiences, NBCOlympics.com's coverage will be powered by MSN and Microsoft technology to complement NBC's broadcast programming and put millions of fans in control of the Olympic sports, athletes and countries they want to watch.
"Over the past 20 years, we have continually expanded our coverage of the Olympics to new platforms as they have become available, and the Beijing Games will mark another milestone," said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. "By teaming up with MSN and Microsoft, we can give both the core fan and casual consumer of the Olympic Games an amazing online experience, combining high-quality video with the storytelling and analysis that we're known for. We chose to partner with MSN and Microsoft because technologies such as Silverlight help us deliver the kind of next-generation online viewing experience that will change the way the Olympics is experienced for millions of fans in 2008."
The new alliance was announced during the keynote presentation of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The two companies will work together to deliver Olympic coverage to the U.S. online audience, powered using Microsoft's Silverlight technology. During the Beijing Games, NBCOlympics.com (www.nbcolympics.com) content will be prominently featured on the MSN.com homepage (www.msn.com), seen by over 100 million users per month, as well as on MSN Video (video.msn.com) and across the MSN and Windows Live networks, all moving the massive MSN Network audience to NBCOlympics.com's complete coverage of the Games.
As a result of this unprecedented alliance, "NBCOlympics.com on MSN" will deliver:
- 2,200 hours of live event video coverage, with more than 20 simultaneous live video streams at peak times
- More than 3,000 hours of on-demand video content including full-event replays, highlights, features, interviews and encore packages.
- An "enhanced playback mode" powered by Silverlight that gives users the choice of a high-quality full screen viewing experience that is as good or better than anything on the Internet today
- Unique metadata overlays powered by Silverlight that enable fans to have access not only to high quality video, but also to the wealth of related content including results, statistics, comprehensive bios, rules and expert analysis from NBC's Olympic digital media team in Beijing
- Live video alerts so fans can stay connected to the events and teams they care most about
- Social networking features that enable fans to share aspects of their Olympic experience with friends
"We are pleased to partner with NBC to bring immersive, interactive video experiences to millions of sports fans during the Beijing Olympics," said Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms & Services Division, Microsoft. "Combining NBC's rich history in covering the Olympic Games with MSN's reach and Microsoft's Silverlight technology will help change the way people connect to and consume rich content on the web."
NBCOlympics.com, which is the U.S.' single destination for Olympic coverage, is live today and covers every Olympic summer sport as well as key athletes and events leading up to the 2008 Beijing Games. Coverage will expand in May 2008 to include the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
About NBC Olympics:
NBC, "America's Olympic Network," owns the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games, television's most powerful property, through 2012, which includes Beijing in 2008, Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012. The 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing, China will represent the 11th Olympics broadcast by NBC, a record for the most Olympic broadcasts by any network. From August 8-24, 2008 NBC Universal will present an unprecedented 3,600 hours of coverage, highlighted by NBC 's live primetime coverage of swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball and more than 2,200 hours of live streaming video for the first time on NBCOlympics.com.
In August 2004, 203 million viewers watched as the networks of NBC Universal-NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, Telemundo, and NBC's HD affiliates — offered a then record 1,210 hours of Olympic coverage from Athens.
For additional information, go to NBCOlympics.com, a year-round destination for fans of Olympic sports, featuring news, Beijing previews, athlete features, expert blogs, photos, Olympic video from the NBC archives and social tools enabling users to build communities around their favorite sports, post comments and blogs. SOURCE NBC Universal.