Posted August 25, 2008 1:29 pm by with 15 comments

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The Olympics is over and US advertisers should be pleased with the results. Not only did we take home a lot of gold from athletes, this Olympics brought record web site traffic – and an experiment in online video advertising. The two weeks long Olympics was a test in how video advertising would play out.

According to eMarketer – NBC – the lead sponsor of the games, gets a bronze for their work. They brought in $5.75 million for running video ads. The Wall Street Journal reported NBC made only a quarter of what CBS Sports made streaming a college basketball tournament earlier this year.

The number would probably be higher but NBC made some mistakes. First, they required people to download software to watch video clips. NBC used Microsoft’s Silverlight instead of Flash to stream video. Since most of us don’t have Silverlight, we had to download it – but I’m sure some skipped it altogether. Second, NBC didn’t preimere footage on their site. So while NBC doubled traffic to their site, Yahoo did even better, according to Nielsen. Yahoo showed some events online before they aired on television. Exclusivity tends to work better on television than on the web.

As far as the official site of the Olympics – – Neilsen says the US averaged 554,800 unique visitors a day the first week (from 9 August – 15 August 2008). The site is in Chinese, which seems like quite a barrier, until you click on the English version. When you go to video you’re back to NBC.

Overall, I’m going to miss watching the Olympics, yet like many other Americans, I stayed up late watching them and I’m looking forward to getting more sleep. However, if I could’ve watched more online, sleep deprivation wouldn’t be such an issue.

Surprisingly, I didn’t watch any of the Olympics online – with high definition television and the family around – I’d rather watch it in the living room than on my laptop. But since I did miss the closing ceremonies, I’m downloading Silverlight right now.