NBC Olympics Wins an Emmy with Silverlight


Silverlight, take a bow. You just won best supporting role in NBC’s big win at the 30th Annual Sports Emmy® Awards. NBC won an Emmy for its online coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics, in the category “Outstanding New Approaches Sports Event Coverage.” Their new approach was to use Silverlight to give viewers incredible viewing flexibility, amazingly high-quality images, and unprecedented levels of interactivity.

At the 30th Annual Sports Emmy Awards held April 27, 2009, at Lincoln Center in New York City, NBC won an Emmy for its online coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The category: Outstanding New Approaches Sports Event Coverage. The behind-the-scenes technical crew: Microsoft Silverlight.


Watch the business video that explains the monumental challenge that NBC faced with the 2008 Summer Olympics and how they responded. NBC had to deliver every minute of every event to the Web, with HD quality and never-before-seen interactivity and innovation. NBC turned to Microsoft for its innovative Web technology and massive viewership through the MSN Network. With Silverlight 2, the NBC and Microsoft team was able to deliver extraordinary image quality, new levels of viewing flexibility and interactivity, and technical capabilities that far surpassed television offerings.

More than 50 million visitors initiated 70 million video streams and watched 10 million hours of video—metrics that caught the attention of NBC and advertisers. Most significant for NBC Sports was the unprecedented “stickiness” of NBCOlympics.com—viewers watched for an average of 27 minutes at a time—compared to 3-minute averages reported on another major site not built on Silverlight. These lengthy visits proved to advertisers that the Web could deliver TV-caliber ad revenues. NBC called the addictiveness of the site “staggering.” “… [viewers] didn’t watch just one thing, they were diving in and consuming over and over again. This was a true ‘Aha!’ moment for NBC Sports,” says Perkins Miller, Senior Vice President, Digital Media, NBC Sports.

“We’re thrilled that the Academy recognized the innovation we delivered with NBCOlympics.com,” Miller continues. “Our aim was to both deliver exceptional quality video as well as create an immersive experience for sports fans. We could not have done it without Silverlight’s dedication and commitment to excellence, and we’re looking forward to having their team and great technology for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics site.”

With its incredible online Olympics viewership numbers and Emmy win, NBC has proven that the Web is a credible broadcast medium for delivering immersive entertainment, and that Silverlight is the technology to make it happen.

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