In a couple of weeks time, the London 2012 Olympics begin. However, in Australia, Foxtel and Channel Nine are missing one component in their broadcast plans – where is the online live streaming of the Olympics?
It’s 2012 – everything (with the exception of Apple) is livestreamed these days.
If we take a look at the broadcasting arrangements in the UK and the US, we see there is a lot of online coverage. In America, NBCUniversal is offering 3,500 hours of live coverage online and 40 simultaneous streams. And now owned mostly by Comcast – a telco, it will be locked to only those on cable and satellite.
In the UK, the BBC is also being ambitious by offering all sports live by having 24 distinct feeds that will be on its website and via Facebook. It will also make these streams available on television as well with the help of satellite and cable broadcasters – and each channel will have a HD and SD feed on top of having coverage on its main channels.
While the BBC might have some obligation to provide this – they are funded by the British taxpayers via a licence fee, NBCUniversal doesn’t have to. In fact, they pissed off many people by tape-delaying and not making available live online sports that would be broadcast on NBC during the Beijing 2008 games.
The closest we have to online coverage come from Foxtel. There is a tablet app, but you need to be a paying Foxtel subscriber and have the Sports package included with your subscription. The 8 channels will also be available on the Xbox 360, but you need to pay around $70 for it – $20 for the “Get Started” package, then $50 to get it. And yes, that price does not include the Xbox Live Gold subscription for you to take advantage of Foxtel on Xbox 360.
The main problem is the Foxtel partnership. While Foxtel is entitled to broadcast the games, they are the main reason why we don’t have the similar online broadcasting arrangements as what the UK and the US have. If Channel Nine offered live streaming of many sports during the Olympics, then there would be no need to pay for Foxtel.
If I was Foxtel, I would have also offered the 8 live streams online – of course, for a fee – so I could be able to watch this on a laptop and connect that through my television. Having an Xbox 360 is sort of similar, but not everyone has that console, but a lot of people have a computer.
The BBC has acknowledged that this year’s games will be the start of a heavy push of digital coverage. For 2016, whoever has the Australian rights will have to adopt the same.