NBC is milking their investment in broadcasting rights for the Beijing Olympics by making anyone that wants to view their videos jump through a few hoops.
Hoop Number One: Install Silverlight 2.0.
This limits installation to only Windows machines or Intel-based Macs. Oh, and you have to restart your browser so you if you don’t save the URL of the video you wanted to watch – your left to the mercy of NBC’s navigation.
Hoop Number Two: Reveal your local NBC affiliate & zip code info.
This gives NBC data to see just how much traffic they are taking away from their local affilates with online video. When it comes time for re-negotiation, they can hold this data in their hand to show how they don’t really need the affiliates to reach their audience which is why they need to pay more for the rights to re-broadcast NBC programming.
Despite these two hoops, the desire to see a quick reply of something like the incredible 4×100 meter Men’s relay is so strong that people will jump through these hoops. Not enough to jump out of the current habit of hitting up Yahoo’s Olympic coverage (which is doing a stellar job), but still respectable.
Badi hated installing Silverlight and may never use it again but he did install it and I doubt he took the time to remove it after he saw the video. As far as Microsoft is concerned, mission accomplished.
Despite the hassles, I actually like some of the features of Silverlight as it’s featured on the NBC site. It’s really smart is that you’re able to fast forward (or reverse) in low resolution but once the video starts playing, it gradually sharpens the image to higher resolution. The video clips on the NBC site are of exceptional quality to those used to YouTube clips. As with NBC’s other site, Hulu, NBC is leading the way, showing us how a television company can reinvent itself for the internet.