The Beijing Olympics are helping NBC Sports crush its previous online traffic records. Consider: before the games, NBC Sports’ biggest online traffic day was the US Open playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate, which brought 9.1 million page views and 1.5 million videos streamed. Over the first four days of the Games, NBCOlympics.com had 291 million page views and 13.5 million video streams.
But despite mammoth traffic to the site, relatively few appear to be downloading Silverlight and watching video. So far, NBC is getting one video view for every 21 or so page views. That’s quite a much less effective than the ratio it got during its big day at the US Open, when it got a one video view for every six page views.
What’s going on? We can think of several reasons:
- You need a download to watch NBC’s Olympics on your computer. Installing Microsoft’s Silverlight has been easy for us, but it’s still an impediment for some people. But the player NBC used for the US Open was Flash-based, and just about everyone has that. Meanwhile, Apple computers without Intel chips — ie, those bought before January 2006 — can’t use Silverlight at all.
- The traffic to NBC’s US Open coverage was likely weighted toward those looking for video of that single event. But NBC’s Olympic site has schedules, recaps, and all sorts of other content besides video to look at. We might also humbly suggest that it’s still difficult to figure out what NBC actually has available on the site, which might turn some folks off.
- Just having a broadband connection isn’t enough to guarantee you access to the Olympics. About 10% of U.S. broadband customers — primarily Cablevision and Cable One subscribers — couldn’t get the video, because their providers didn’t cut deals with NBC. Apparently this is easy enough to work around — we’ve been told you can lie to NBC about what system you’re on — but even that may be enough to dissaude people.
It will be interesting to see just how many new Silverlight users Microsoft comes away with after the dust clears. We’ve checked in with MSN for metrics; perhaps we’ll hear more when NBC talks about its TV and online Olympics audiences later this afternoon.
NBC To West Coast: We Don’t Really Hate You
Why We Love, And Hate, NBC’s Olympics Coverage
Where To Watch Beijing Olympics: Gymnastics, Boxing
How To Watch The Olympics: Live Ceremony, Basketball
How To Watch The Beijing Olympics Live On The Web: Even If NBC Doesn’t Want You To
NBC’s Online Olympics Policy: Big Win For Pirate P2P Sites
NBC U Olympic Schedule: Table Tennis Live Online, Gymnastics On Tape Delay
Three Days and Counting Until NBC Blows Olympics Coverage
YouTube At The Olympics: Exclusive Video You Can’t Watch
NBC Lawyers In Panic Mode, Scrambling To Stamp Out Internet Olympics Feeds
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.