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  • Writer's pictureMitch Harber

NBC partners with Twitch for the Olympics

By Mitch Harber

June 7, 2021

Photo Credit: Associated Press

This spring, NBC announced that it would be partnering with Twitch, the global leader for video live streaming, to provide content for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. NBC and the Olympics both hope that bringing live content to Twitch’s interactive platform will help engage younger viewing audiences for the games.

NBC plans to showcase highlight shows, athlete interviews, and gaming competitions centered around the games, combined with polls and Q&As that provide an interactive experience for users on the app and site. Furthermore, the flame of the virtual Olympic torch on Twitch will be lit in correspondence to the level of activity in the chat function. Thus, if Twitch users are chatting a considerable amount, then the torch will stay well lit and then go dimmer when chat is less active. According to NBC, this is meant to enhance people’s engagement within the platform.

Unfortunately for some, as of now, it appears unlikely that actual events will be shown through Twitch. Nonetheless, NBC is hoping that they will be able to appeal to a newer, younger audience to create interest and publicity around the Olympics this summer.

NBC owns the exclusive broadcasting rights to the Olympics through 2032, part of an 18-year deal worth $7.75 billion that was signed in 2014.

Seven years after the signing of this contract, though, talks have increased about whether or not this has been a good investment for NBC. This is due in part to the fact that Olympic viewership has been on a steady decline over the past few decades.

In the 1994 Winter Olympics, the average primetime viewership was 43.2 million people. 24 years later, at the 2018 Winter Games, average primetime viewership was at 19.8 million, making them the least watched games ever.

As more people cancel their cable subscriptions, subscriptions to streaming services, like Twitch, continue to grow. With the games set to start in the last week of July and run through the first week of August, how will you choose to view your Olympic content?


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