Streaming Woes for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

August  30,  2016 / By Elisabeth Blum


Like many, I become an expert judge in every Olympic event every four years. Too much splash on that dive! What a big hop on that landing!

I planned my weekend around the opening ceremony and headed to a local bar to watch. I haven’t had a TV in years – much less a cable box. I wasn’t worried though, as my Internet is blazing fast.

This time, watching the Olympics felt a little different than when I watched Kerri Strug ignite dreams in the hearts of all of us back in 1996. Sure, I could watch a few minutes here and there on our TV at Taylor, but NBC only allowed 30 minutes of streaming per day on any given device without a cable provider log-in. I found this out the hard way as I streamed in increments on my laptop, PC and smartphone.

Rolling Stone reported that NBC blamed Millennials for low ratings. If I’m any indication, they’re correct. I adore the Olympics, but without any way to catch the Olympics online I simply tuned out. In a world of shared Netflix passwords, where home phones are going the way of the buffalo and cable subscriptions continue to plummet, NBC could have embraced the massive Millennial contingent.

Maybe NBC could offer a special Olympics streaming package – I know I would bite. Instead, Internet savvy consumers are pushed to consume content in a predetermined and nonflexible way. When this happens, they suddenly have no appetite for vicarious Olympic glory.

The Olympics makes us all proud to be Americans. Don’t forget those Americans are continuing to evolve in how they consume media. Just as technology makes our cars smarter and tablets able to hold hundreds of books, technology could benefit the Olympics. Nothing would make the triumph and heartbreak of the Olympics more palpable then if the millions of Millennials could experience it every step of the way.

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