May 16, 2016 / 4:35 PM / 3 years ago

Comcast to air over 6,000 hours of Olympics 2016 content

BOSTON (Reuters) - Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal unit will air live over 6,000 hours of competition on TVs and mobile devices from the Rio Olympic Games and offer viewers up-to-the-minute technology to search and personalize content, Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said on Monday.

An NBC logo filled with candies is pcitured in the NBC store inside Rockefeller Center in New York April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The cable and media giant will relay 1,500 hours of content on 11 of NBCUniversal’s television networks such as Bravo and NBC, in addition to 4,500 hours online on its NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app and website, which will also be made available on in its X1 video service.

Philadelphia-based Comcast will have added improved search and personalization features on its X1 platform for viewers when it broadcasts the Olympic Games from Brazil, which start Aug. 5, Roberts said at the INTX conference, an annual internet and television convention in Boston.

This year’s competition will mark the third time NBC is broadcasting the Olympics.

“It will be the most sophisticated and technologically forward-looking presentation we have ever done,” Roberts said.

Viewers can view live TV, online and on-demand content, with the option to search events through categories such as athletes and countries, as well as access real-time updates and statistics, Roberts said.

“We’re going to throw everything out and I think it will help with the ratings,” he added.

NBC has sold $1 billion in national ads for the Summer Olympics and the Games were on track to generate the biggest Olympics advertising sales ever, the network said in March. That $1 billion includes national broadcast, cable and digital ad sales, it said. 

Live streaming of events at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in Russia generated tens of millions of dollars in advertising.

Due to the short time zone difference between Brazil and the United States, the Rio games will feature more live events such as track and field and swimming than the games in London, over 17 consecutive nights in August.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal signed on two years ago to pay $7.65 billion for the right to air six Olympic Games from 2022 to 2032 before any other U.S. media company could bid. 

NBC and rival networks have been stocking up on live sports content, which is popular with advertisers because large audiences watch the events in real time without being able to skip the commercials.

Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Alan Crosby

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