Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

NBC Drops Pay Wall for Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte Livestream

This could be an interesting concession/experiment from NBC: A tipster says the network is about to drop its pay wall when it streams the 200-meter men’s individual medley race, featuring a head-to-head matchup between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, on its NBC Olympics Web site.

The race is scheduled to go off around 3:14 pm ET, so if you want to watch, fire up your browsers now. Don’t know if this will also work on NBC’s Apple and Android apps. Can’t guarantee this will work at all, actually, but worth a shot. (Stream seems to work, but we’ll see.)

Update: NBC sports PR confirms that the pay wall will be down for this one, and says it does so for “some” events daily. Given that this is one of the biggest competitions of the day, that still seems like a meaningful decision.

Background: Earlier today, NBC officials held a press call to argue that their Olympics coverage has been a big success. Part of that strategy involves streaming all events live on the Web, but only to customers with pay-TV subscriptions.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work