NBC Olympics is making its first move to expand the availability of its coverage of the Summer Games online. The network has signed a deal with Snapchat to post highlights and create daily "live stories" using content from NBC as well as from athletes and attendees at the scene, all available on a dedicated channel via Snapchat's mobile app.
Buzzfeed, in which NBCUniversal made a $200 million equity investment last August, will curate the Snapchat channel's "Discovery" feed for two weeks during the Olympics, Bloomberg reports.
The announcement was made just days after Twitter signed a deal with the National Football League to live-stream 10 of its regular-season, Thursday Night Football games this fall.
A couple of catches, though: Snapchat's channel, like NBC's other Olympics coverage, will only be available to U.S.-based users. And no footage will be live-streamed on the social media site; that's reserved for NBC's online properties.
Snapchat's deal marks another interesting shift in social media sphere as the site takes a step along the online video trail being blazed by Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter. For NBCUniversal, the Comcast-owned (NASDAQ: CMCSA) subsidiary that holds the rights to televise the Olympic Games in the U.S., the content licensing deal could greatly expand its viewing audience across mobile devices, currently the fastest-growing screens for watching online video.
"We have never allowed the distribution of any game highlights off NBC's own platforms," Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, told Bloomberg. The deal with Snapchat, he continued, would enable NBC to reach a "massive" audience during the Games, and specifically, entice a new generation of viewers, those coveted millennial-aged consumers who spend less time in front of the living room TV screen than they do on their mobile devices, to go to NBC's streaming site or its broadcast networks to watch more of the action.
For Snapchat, the deal builds on its continuing strategy to provide an enhanced experience around major events that its users are interested in. For example, Snapchat has covered the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards ceremonies from angles that can provide added value to the live telecasts – mixing users' submitted content with licensed video content. Bloomberg said the strategy has attracted as many as 30 million users to the app during such events.
- see this Bloomberg article
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