When it comes to Olympics coverage on the mobile phone, the best Olympics coverage hands-down was found at mobile.NBCOlympics.com. That’s likely not surprising given NBC’s exclusive rights to the game, but it’s the kind of experience that may turn first-time visitors into long-term mobile users. Today’s review is part of a series we are conducting during the Olympics, which is expected to be one of the biggest digital events ever. Last week, we reviewed the general sports WAP sites from ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox. In that comparative review we gave the gold to ESPN while NBC tied for the bronze with CBS. The Olympics-focused site easily picked up the baton where NBC’s generic sports Wap site lacked content. For the purposes of this review we tested mobile.NBCOlympics.com on the browser of a Nokia E71.
Features: At the top of the page, NBCOlympics highlights a couple of feature pieces that include photos and text stories. Sitting below that are three news headlines, a link for more stories and then a section of 10 categories where the fun really begins. The categories include: medal count, results and schedules, TV and online listings, video, photos, top stories, team USA, inside the sport, about Beijing and polls. Some of the categories like medal count are pretty straightforward, but quickly get the point across. The TV and online listings are a great resource for those of you like us who are depriving themselves of sleep to make sure they don’t miss a tape-delayed competition they badly want to see. The TV schedule information has much more detail than what most cable providers are offering in their guides. Aside from video clips, which we’ll address below in more detail, we particularly liked some of the basic, yet informative sections on China and the various competitions underway in Beijing. Did you know, for example, that Tiananmen Square is the size of 75 football fields or that China only has one time zone? The photo galleries were also fun, but they didn’t keep our attention for long.
Video: This is what sets NBCOlympics.com apart from its other U.S. mobile competitors. Having locked up exclusive U.S. rights to the games, NBC can’t do enough with all the video available as far as we’re concerned. We’ll always want more, so keeping that in mind NBC has done a pretty good job when we look at this through the mobile lens. It was a little hard searching for specific videos, even though there wasn’t a ton of inventory. NBC broke videos down into categories ranging from sport type to date and popularity. We’re not sure exactly where the fault lies on this, but this was some jerky video that often became too pixilated to make out anything distinguishable. We tested the site over a WiFi connection so we know it’s not the carrier network. The video clips varied from more than 7 minutes for the Daily Olympics Recap to less than two minutes for snippets on single competitions or interviews. The site gets credit for having video, but the quality can’t top either SlingPlayer Mobile or MediaFLO, but those are in different leagues all together.
Ads: At the top of the homepage we saw banner ads for GE and Visa and there were pre-rolls for DirecTV in the video clips.