For the past two decades – and the foreseeable future – the place to watch the Olympics is NBC, either by tuning in on cable or by watching on NBC’s own digital streaming platform. NBC is beginning to loosen its tight grip on Olympics coverage ever so slightly, agreeing to allow Twitter to stream some coverage during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. Twitter won’t get to stream much coverage, but it’s better than nothing.
According to a new report by The New York Times, Twitter will be allowed to stream “live look-ins” of Olympic events each night. Those streams will only last for around five minutes each, and since it sounds like Twitter will be allowed to stream one per night, that means live event streaming will be very limited.
That isn’t the only coverage Twitter is allowed to show, though, as the Times reports that it’ll be able to publish highlights and a daily studio show while the Olympics are happening. So, if you want to watch the Olympics as they happen, NBC will still be the place to do that, but if you only want to keep up with news from the Olympics, Twitter might make a suitable stand-in.
Apparently, Twitter will poll its users each morning to see which event they want streamed later that evening. That live studio show will be produced by NBC for Twitter each day and will last about 20 minutes, while NBC will “increase its production” of highlights specifically for Twitter.
Partnering with Twitter seems like a logical step for NBC, as the Olympics tend to garner a lot of discussion on the platform as they’re happening. Still, given the amount NBC paid for the broadcast rights to the Olympics ($4.38 billion), it isn’t very surprising to see it remain protective about what kind of content can be viewed on other platforms.