When there’s a $775 million broadcasting investment on the line, you better believe that a network like NBC is going to go after video pirates just like Peter Pan and his gang in Neverland. In this case, Neverland was the Winter Olympics in Sochi, an event that NBC says it protected its rights by busting 45,000 instances of illegally posted videos or pirated streams.
NBC paid a huge chunk of change to the International Olympic Committee in order to be the sole, exclusive TV and streaming rights holder, notes the Associated Press. So it’s not surprising that it would unleash its full force of sword-wielding boys — or more likely, technological tools — to stop as much piracy during the games as it could.
The network said it worked with Olympic officials to nip about 20,000 videos of the competitions from YouTube using filtering technology that prevents them from going up in the first place, or finds them shortly after posting and scraps them.
A further 20,000 were bumped from distribution on similar sites around the world, NBC said.
An additional 5,000 or so illegal streams of Sochi material were also kept off the Web, many of those posted on for-profit websites trying to make a buck off consumers who wanted to watch a live feed, which wasn’t available legally.
Those sites are often where consumers turn if they couldn’t access NBC’s live feeds without proving they had a cable or satellite TV subscription. And further provoking consumers to seek other means, perhaps, could’ve come from NBC’s decision to not stream some events live at all, like the Opening Ceremonies, and instead show edited highlights later.
It sounds like a hefty number of crackdowns, but NBC couldn’t offer up any figures to compare it with from the London Summer Olympics in 2012 or the Vancouver Winter games in 2010, but the network insists that 99% of this year’s viewing took place on legal channels.
“When all the players in the digital ecosystem cooperate and work together, it is possible to create an online environment in which legitimate commerce thrives, jobs are created and consumers receive content how, when and where they want it,” said John McKay, NBC spokesman.
NBC says thousands of illegal video stopped [Associated Press]