NBC Announces Changes to Olympic Coverage, Embracing Live Events and Personalized Highlights

NBC, the official broadcaster of the Summer Olympics in Paris starting on July 26, has unveiled significant changes to its coverage, marking a departure from its previous “plausibly live” approach. The network plans to offer viewers a more personalized experience, including live competition and curated highlights packages generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

In a recent presentation, NBC showcased some of the new features that will enhance its coverage. One of the highlights is the use of AI to create personalized highlights packages, allowing fans to select their favorite sports and preferred type of action. These packages will be narrated by an AI-generated model of Al Michaels’ voice, providing a unique and tailored viewing experience.

To cater to different time zones, NBC will have two daily Olympics shows hosted by Mike Tirico. The first show will coincide with prime-time in Paris, featuring live competition in marquee sports such as swimming, gymnastics, and track & field. The second show, airing during prime-time hours in the United States, will offer a curated view of the day’s best action.

NBC’s affiliated streaming service, Peacock, will stream every Olympic competition live, giving viewers the freedom to choose what they want to watch. The network aims to provide a more comprehensive coverage by delving into the reasons behind the events’ outcomes and offering a backstage view. Producers are mindful of the challenge of maintaining suspense for viewers who already know the results while ensuring surprises for those who don’t.

In addition to the changes in coverage, NBC plans to incorporate more personality profiles of athletes and feature celebrities during the Olympics. Notable figures such as Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson, Peyton Manning, and Jimmy Fallon will contribute to the coverage, adding a unique flavor to the broadcasts. Furthermore, renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg will narrate a short film titled “Land of Stories,” which will be shown before the Olympics’ opening ceremonies.

Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Universal Media Group, acknowledged the network’s past shortcomings in delivering a satisfactory digital experience during the Olympics. However, NBC is determined to improve its offerings on Peacock this summer, leveraging AI technology to enhance the viewer experience. The network estimates that it will generate around 7 million variations of personalized highlight packages through this new service.

NBC’s decision to revamp its coverage reflects a shift in attitude towards how the Games are presented, providing viewers with more choice and a deeper understanding of the events. The network aims to create a unique blend of reality show, comedy, and drama, promising a fresh and engaging viewing experience for audiences worldwide.

As the Summer Olympics approach, NBC is preparing to sell advertising packages that include inventory in both prime-time broadcasts. The network also plans to emphasize viewership counts across all platforms, diverting attention from potential ratings decreases during evening broadcasts compared to previous years.