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NBCUniversal Previews Peacock Upgrades for Winter Olympics, Admits Summer Games Dumpster Fire

Ben Bowman

If you got frustrated watching the Summer Olympics, you weren’t alone. Time zone issues aside, navigating NBC’s various channels and streaming services became an enormous headache. Events were broadcast on Peacock, CNBC, Golf Channel, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Olympic Channel y USA Network. Oh, and the NBC Sports App was another option. If you wanted to find one event, it was like looking through eight different haystacks for one particular needle.

The good news is NBCUniversal got the message. For the Winter Games in Beijing, Peacock will be your one-stop shop. If you don’t want to watch on Peacock, you may face some challenges with the maze of live channels.

In a video presentation today, NBCU’s leaders spoke about the problems of the past and how they plan to remedy them for the Winter Games.

“I’d be the first to admit that we realized we had to make it easier for the viewer to navigate that to digest the amount of Olympic content,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua. “And I think one of the great things about Peacock is people will know that that is your safety net, your home for all things Olympics, and we’ve spent a lot of time making sure that we have the right state-of-the-art navigation tools on Peacock. So whether you want to be directed to NBC or USA or back at Peacock, utilizing the strength ofour entire portfolio and all of our platforms - Peacock will be the home for that.”

Peacock’s New Features

Peacock President Kelly Campbell highlighted some key differences in Peacock for this Olympics. Under a dedicated Olympics tab, you’ll be able to see live events, along with replays of recently concluded events. Mini-hubs for each sport provide the same navigation.

If you choose to watch an event in progress, you’ll have the opportunity to pause, rewind, or join the game live. You can see a preview of these controls in this image from NBCUniversal’s presentation.

When a game ends, you’ll be forwarded to the next recommended event or have the option to visit related content to what you just watched.

Fixing the Olympics

With so many events occurring simultaneously or at odd hours, any media company would have its hands full presenting them. There’s no perfect way to broadcast the games. While some might prefer an orderly presentation of highlights (live or not), others may want access to every sport, live as it happens. NBCU is trying to find the perfect balance for each type of viewer.

Molly Solomon, Executive Producer & President, NBC Olympics Production echoed Bevacqua’s sentiment about the team’s failures in Tokyo. “The upside of getting to do an Olympics a couple of months after another is that you immediately get to really listen to the viewer feedback and our own critique of ourselves in our presentation,” Solomon said. “And we’ve really focused on making the thousands of hours we produce more intuitive (and) findable.”

“How can you make it easy for the viewer to find what they’re looking for? So we’re doing that in three ways,” Solomon said. “First, we mentioned Peacock, eliminating the confusion - every event on Peacock. Second, we’ve really enhanced our customization of the schedule and NBCOlympics.com You can find whatever you want linear, digital, or streaming by going there. And finally, we’re going to double down on on-screen executions. So more information for the viewer studio segments will have tickers reminding you what’s coming up. So we’ll use different graphical executions to ensure information is out there. So everybody knows what’s coming up where to find what they want.”

It’s not just Peacock and NBCU’s networks that will get some help. Gary Zenkel President, NBC Olympics said, “We’ve worked with a bunch of different MVPDs and the digital MVPDs to create Olympic dashboards and great tools for them to navigate, which is the sort of this firehose of content that happens over the course of the two weeks.” So it’s possible viewers on Hulu Live TV or fuboTV may have an easier time navigating the games.

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 15,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series.

It will include news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.

Just like other streaming services, Peacock will have their own original series including reboots of Save By The Bell, Punky Brewster, and Battlestar Galactica. They also have shows like Rutherford Falls (Ed Helms), Dr. Death (Alec Baldwin), and a behind-the-scenes docs-series about Saturday Night Live.

The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like the entire Dick Wolf library including Law & Order and Chicago Fire, Parks and Recreation, and The Office.

The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.

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