By Michael Snow on Feb 14, 2014
As I've been watching the Sochi Olympics every night since last Friday's spectacular opening ceremonies (even with a 4 ring Olympic Rings snafu) - it is hard not to notice the influence that mobility has provided us on our perspective of the games. The image of each country's athletes entering the stadium with their phones held high is etched on our collective eye. I wonder if anyone is tallying up the iPhone vs Android vs GoPro numbers and what the split might be in Sochi?
While obviously an monumental competitive gathering, the Olympics are an incredible social event as well - bringing together young athletes from all over the world and while I haven't counted - almost all the teams I saw entering had phones or cameras held high to record the event - to prove "I was there" at a life-changing event for so many and to share the experience with their families, friends and fans.
It is such a social event that there is even a favorite app for the Olympic Village athletes at the games according to some reports. And the funny part is that this seems so totally normal to all of us who have already integrated mobile and social into our daily lives. What will the next Olympics bring in Rio in 2016 or the next winter Olympics show us? With wearable tech just starting to boom - this will bring a whole other level of connection with the games - perhaps we'll be able to monitor the athletes blood pressure and oxygen levels while they compete? Can you just imagine the commentators... they might be even more annoying than they are now...
The NBC Universal network in the USA paid $4.38 billion for U.S. broadcasting rights through 2020, and controls the official broadcast of all Olympic events from the opening ceremonies to what popular events are broadcast across our cable boxes. The time delay helps sell more targeted advertising of course. Yet there is also a steady stream of Olympic photos and more photos and videos coming from all sources. With its official authority, NBC is streaming more video than any other Olympics. The cable/network relationship has built control of this streamfest via a joint initiative "TV Everywhere" - a coordinated effort between television companies and their cable distribution partners to offer video online through any device to those who can authenticate through their cable provider tying the cable viewer tightly to their provider relationship. So this doesn't tie the viewer to their television by any means - a recent study quoted in the article: A streaming event of Olympic proportions noted that "nearly three-quarters of TV Everywhere programming was watched on mobile devices, with tablets representing the most at 42 percent."
I just downloaded the NBC Sports Extra App for my iPhone and now have 24x7 access to watch whatever event we'd like. Curling 24x7 for those that want it.
Perhaps one of the greatest events of the opening ceremonies was the Russian Police performing the cover of "Get Lucky" which they didn't even air on the broadcast but another alternative recording is still available via YouTube. Closing with this love song... Happy Valentines Day!