February 12-28th, Vancouver, Canada: The recent Winter Olympics online video experiences using Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming set the bar for the industry. The proof is in the unbelievable statistics made available from CTV, NRK, NBC and France Televisions. The combination of unprecedented viewing times, great ad monetization, broadest reach and the highest quality experiences is phenomenal.

Over the past two years, Microsoft has set the pace with its lead in HTTP streaming, delivering breakthrough experiences for live and on-demand coverage of the world’s premier sporting and entertainment events with Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming. The stories and record-breaking achievements of four of the many international broadcasters covering the Winter Olympics using Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming are nothing short of amazing.

Unprecedented Online Viewing Times

Host nation Canada’s CTV saw 4 million visitors consume over 6 PetaBytes, or 7 million hours of video, peaking at over 130,000 concurrent viewers. Viewers watched videos on the site for an average of 111 minutes per visit – unprecedented and great news for broadcasters and advertisers alike. [Read More]

Effective Ad Monetization

In the United States, NBC built on its experiences using Silverlight for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and NFL Sunday Night Football. For the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, they provided live and on-demand video to an online audience of 16 million viewers, while also delivering a very sophisticated and efficient ad platform to its sponsors, making the best use of planned and spontaneous opportunities for ad insertion. Armed with real-time insights on the size and viewing trends of the online fan base, NBC was able to make quick, informed decisions about when to run ads for maximum effect. [Read More]

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More than 1 in 4 of Norway’s 4.8 million citizens showed their enthusiasm for winter sports by tuning into the 720p, HD, IIS Smooth Streaming experience delivered by Norway’s NRK. Viewers liked what they saw; consuming over a million hours of video in total and an average of 78 minutes each visit. [Read More]

Quality Experience

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Since broadcast HD TV is relatively new in France, France Télévisions used the opportunity to bring the HD experience to a younger generation who, in many cases, prefer to consume video on a computer. With previous successes using Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming to broadcast the Roland Garros Tennis Championships and the Tour de France cycling race, France Télévisions knew it could deliver a multi-platform, high quality live and on-demand video experience for the Olympics. With only two weeks to the event and not a single line of code written, the Silverlight Media Framework allowed France Télévisions to deliver the player on schedule, resulting in an amazing average viewing time of 64 minutes. [Read More]

Click on the image below to see video of the Olympics experiences and go ‘behind the scenes’ to see how it all came together (in IIS smooth streaming – of course!)

The recent announcement that IIS Media Services will include a version of PlayReady DRM for HTTP streaming, and our announcements at NAB around set-top-boxes, IIS Media Services 4.0, the Silverlight Media Framework and the Silverlight Analytics Framework show how Microsoft’s continued innovation, partnerships, and leadership in delivering live and on-demand streaming video experiences delight viewers and benefit broadcasters’ businesses.