Akamai and NBC Sports announced this morning that Akamai will be powering video streaming, site performance and security services for the 2014 Winter Olympics on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will run from February 6-23.
NBC Sports plans to stream over 1,000 hours of Olympics content, double what it did 4 years ago from Vancouver. Streaming will include all 15 sports across 98 different events, plus lots of exclusive content such as interviews, athlete profiles and backstories that have become standard Olympics fare.
As with the 2012 London Olympics, in order to access the live streams, users will need to be authenticated (or "verified") pay-TV subscribers. Given the explosion of mobile viewing just since 2012, no doubt the proportion of people watching on mobile devices will be higher than ever. One of Akamai's key roles is to smooth the workflow involved in preparing streams for multiple devices and then deliver them at scale, with the appropriate stream for each device. Positive viewer experiences are critical to helping evangelize the concept and benefits of TV Everywhere.
NBC Sports has said that in-home auto-verification will be available starting February 6th for certain cable operators. In 2012 both Cablevision and Comcast offered this feature, whereby the user's IP address is recognized so no sign-in is required. Highlighting the benefit of auto-verification, just last week a survey from RAMP indicated that just 4% of pay-TV subscribers know their log-in credentials.
As well, users who have previously authenticated using Adobe Pass for other apps or video will be auto-authenticated. Lastly, NBC Sports has said that users can authenticate their devices now, and as long as the choose "remember me" that device will be enabled throughout the Olympics.
(Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)