Vancouver 2010: By The Numbers

The data is starting to roll in for the full Vancouver Olympics. NBC (NYSE: GE) hasn’t been to provide some of the stats we’ve asked for — the number of video streams served the night the first USA-CAN hockey match aired on MSNBC against ice dancing, among them. But the numbers we do have tell any number of stories, as you can see in the accompanying chart. For instance, NBC’s press release compares Vancouver’s mobile stats to those from Beijing in 2008 and the online stats to those from the last Winter Olympics, Torino 2006. Granted, the Torino mobile comps would be close to meaningless given the tremendous shifts in the landscape while the Beijing comparison shows a significant sequential change.
If you compare the online stats, however, the trajectory turns down. The number of video hours served for Vancouver is just about a third of the 9.9 million hours delivered for Beijing — and the number of streams is off by 30 million. Compare it to Torino and Vancouver shows massive gains: 45 million video streams served compared to 8.4 million, 46 million uniques over 13.3 million. It’s not a sleight of hand; the Summer Games traditionally draw a bigger crowd across media and online is no exception.
Plus, NBC only streamed two sports live from Vancouver (curling and hockey) for roughly 400 hours, compared with 2,200 hours of live events from Beijing. Even adding in the 1,100 additional hours of highlights and full-event replay/VOD doesn’t match the amount of video available two years ago. As was the case for 2008, access to live coverage and VOD was limited to pay TV subscribers whose providers made a deal with NBC Sports; this time, NBC said its potential reach covered 95 percent of pay TV households.
NBC could have throttled the numbers up any time it chose by lowering the wall. When access was opened for the USA-SUI match last Wednesday, delivered more than a half-million streams.