Posted by: Laura Phillips Garner | February 23, 2010

Streaming Video, Banner Ads, Facebook and Olympic Hockey

The intermission between periods with no streaming video on NBCOlympics.com is a great time to check out the interactive banner ads at the top right of the screen.

I really, really wanted to watch the Canada v. USA men’s hockey game Sunday night.

I tuned to NBC Olympic coverage and got ice dancing instead. Now don’t get me wrong. I love figure skating too. But, this was Canada v. USA, the much-anticipated, sold-out men’s hockey game. How could it not be on the flagship network broadcast?

I have loved hockey, especially Olympic Hockey, since the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. What teenage girl didn’t have a little crush on Jim Craig or Mark Johnson? These guys and their coach, Herb Brooks, were amateur hockey superheroes. Their wins against the Russians and Finland for the gold medal gave U.S. citizens a sense of pride we hadn’t felt in a long time.

Although Sunday night’s game might not have been another Miracle on Ice, it still was a big deal. So, I was ready to watch. NBC did show the hockey arena prior to the start, but the network didn’t go back. I panicked. I didn’t know the game was on MSNBC.

I did recall that NBCOlympics.com had streaming video, so I went straight for the Web and found the game live—and a lot more. When I expanded to full screen, I also got banner ads in the upper right hand corner of the screen that reinforced the live action commercials interspersed within the broadcast. Most of the ads just pointed to the brands’ Web sites, but a few were interactive and pretty cool.

Not only to I get to watch all the live action of the 5-3 USA win over Canada, but I also got to visit McDonald’s McNuggets Village, send a thank you to my mom that was displayed in the P&G family home at the Olympic Village, create my own “Athletes of Cruising” Carnival banner ad, and enter to win free footlong subs for a year from Subway.

P&G sent an e-mail that showed how they displayed my message at the P&G Family Home at the Olympic Village and offered the chance to sign up for e-mails from P&G.

Since the banner ad placement was not actually on the video, it didn’t seem intrusive or annoying but did hold my attention while I watched the game. That’s good news for advertisers who are trying to find ways to get consumers’ attention on the Web.

As an Olympic fanatic, I kept the NBC network primetime broadcast on my television while I watched the live streaming video of the hockey game on my laptop. So, I saw when NBC cut away from two-man bob-sledding to show the very end of the first USA Olympic men’s hockey victory over Canada since Squaw Valley in 1960.

Although it was apparent the network was trying to rectify its bad decision to bury the hockey game on cable, it was too late. All viewers of the televised broadcast on NBC got to see was the two teams shaking hands and one interview with a USA hockey player.

I did, however, appreciate NBC Olympics’ Facebook announcement the next day letting me know that, if I missed the hockey game on MSNBC, I could watch it in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com. I would have appreciated it more if I would have gotten the Facebook announcement prior to the game telling me that the game was on MSNBC or I could watch it live on the NBCOlympics.com Web site. Maybe I missed it.

I do see the future of interactive advertising. Someday, I bet, graphics for television screens will include a banner ad once advertisers figure out ways to engage viewers with these ads and not annoy them.

You just wait. The televised interactive ads are coming. I wonder what else we’ll be able to do while we watch sports on television?

–Laura Phillips Garner

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Responses

  1. Hi Laura, I was a bit ticked off by the lack of Live Olympic coverage by NBC also, especially for the big draw Hockey games. I heard a lot of Twitter activity throughout the week that echoed our sentiments. I too turned to NBC’s Olympic web site to view the games but couldn’t get the live feed to work on my Mac. Seems MS doesn’t like to supply us Mac users with updated technology for our updated computers.
    Another interesting point of advertising for NBC was my downloaded iPhone Olympic app. It let me view tweets from athletes, check the medal count, and view the coverage schedule. That’s once I weeded through all the ads 🙂 Can’t blame them for plugging the post-Olympic shows I guess!


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