Viewing it as a defining moment in the company’s history, thePlatform, the Comcast-owned online video publishing firm, confirmed Thursday that it is being tapped to handle the IP-based VOD preparation and distribution for NBC’s coverage of the Sochi Games.
“It represents a real pinnacle in the history of our company,” Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform, said.
thePlatform was a peripheral tech player for NBC’s online coverage of the 2012 London games, but it is playing a central role for its corporate cousin in Sochi, tapped to handle the workflow and quick turnaround for thousands of VOD assets that are being packaged and distributed for viewing on the NBC Live Sports Extra app for tablets and smartphones, and on browsers at NBCOlympics.com.
NBC Olympics, unit of the NBC Sports Group, is using thePlatform’s mpx system and manage IP-VOD for all 98 events in Sochi, the medal ceremonies, opening and closing ceremonies, athlete interviews, and other ancillary fare tied to the Winter Games.
thePlatform’s duties for the Winter Olympics come on the heels of the backend role it played for another recent major sporting event – Fox Sports’ live stream of the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.
In preparation for Sochi, Blaine said thePlatform had to optimize and tweak its publishing system to handle the challenge of managing and coordinating its workflow “in a time-pressured way” while adhering to a complex set of viewing policies.
thePlatform manages much larger VOD libraries, including some that offer tens of thousands of titles, but the job for the Winter Games required it to accelerate its ability to repackage and publish live events for on-demand distribution.
That meant “streamlining the workflow anywhere we could; it pushed us to make our system faster and more resilient,” Blaine said. “It really stretched our capabilities in a different direction than the Super Bowl did, but served to show that we can step up to the biggest events.”