Facebook and NBC have agreed to share their content – on TV and online – during NBC’s live coverage of the Olympic Games next month. Facebook and Instagram posts will be included in live TV, while NBC will post original and exclusive TV content to the social network. As well, NBC commentators will answer user questions in real time online. It mirrors Facebook’s partnership with Fox Sports, who in the past agreed to partner with Facebook for the NFL and college football seasons. The two deals – one on the heels of the other – point to a new way of doing business for the TV and Internet-based content industries, one that relies on complete unification across the mediums available to them. As TV continues to try and remain relevant in the era of cordcutting, moving online in this way may represent a viable solution to an increasingly challenging problem.
The Sochi Winter Olympics, coming this January, are reportedly coming with a ban on any mobile photography by journalists. In fact, the ban extends to all non-professional equipment, ruling out the possibility for reporting via Instagram, Vine, Whatsapp, Frontback, and any other media-creating platform presently shaking up what it means to broadcast information and media online. This attempt at placing tight controls on the flow of news out of Russia during the games is not new – London tried to ban social media during its turn hosting the Olympics in 2012 – but the question remains, how effective can it be? Will journalists and news outlets be willing to risk their credentials to reach consumers faster, more effectively, and more intimately than ever before during one of the world’s testing grounds for media coverage?