Peacock intros Multiview, content discovery features for Olympics

NBCUniversal this week unveiled new product features for its Peacock streaming service, including Multiview capabilities, which are slated to roll out for the 2024 Olympics and later expand to additional live programming.

Announced at its One24 technology conference Wednesday, NBCU is using the Summer Olympics as a starting ground for two new features called Peacock Live Actions and Peacock Discovery Multiview. Both are part of interactive user experience updates for the 2024 Paris games, where Peacock’s teeing up a hub and other enhancements to help viewers better navigate more than 5,000 hours of live coverage.  In addition to a main Olympics hub that has curated rails of live and upcoming event, the streaming services will also have dedicated hubs for nearly 40 sports, medal standings, alongside an interactive schedule.

Speaking at a roundtable press event in NYC this week ahead of One24, John Jelley, SVP of Product and User Experience for Peacock & Global Streaming at NBCU, said the team started pouring over data after the 2022 Beijing Olympics to build a games experience to make enjoying and navigating the wide-ranging event – which has three-times as many events as the last Winter games – as easy as possible. He also cited an aim to deepen engagement and bring increased levels of interactivity for fans to discover, plan and catch up on key events and happenings.

“The challenge we posed to ourselves was to build an experience that works for casual fans who want to lean back and let Peacock be their guide without being overwhelmed. As well as for…the more avid fans who want to take control of their viewing experience,” Jelley told reporters, while also citing confidence that the streaming platform went above and beyond to achieve its goal.

For Peacock, one of the main learnings from the Winter Olympics was that “getting to the content is table stakes,” he said, where navigation hubs for specific sports worked well and mean users don’t need to hunt around to find what they’re interested in.

Multiview, specifically, on Peacock will provide a four-view experience that helps users navigate the games.

“With up to 40 events happening at the same time, we want to avoid users feeling a sense of decision paralysis,” Jelley explained. “Peacock Discovery Multiview will show users the most important events happening whenever they tune in.”

Assisting on Multiview, NBCU has Olympic experts providing real-time, on-screen descriptions to alert and guide viewers to key happenings, such as whether it’s a medal event, if an athlete or team is at risk of elimination or if there’s a first-time Olympian competing. There will also be a traditional Multiview experience that features up to four matches on one screen for sports such as soccer, track & field, and wrestling. Users can move around the four feeds, switching audio between, and choose to click through to see one in full screen.

Peacock will have pre-selected Multiview groupings, like Team USA or trending events, but Jelley said there will be “lots of choice” for viewers in terms of what they can pick from.

While officially launching with the Olympics, features such as Live Actions and Multiview as well as others, won’t end with the event but “will expand to other sports, other live events on Peacock after the games,” he said.    

And Peacock will be trialing and testing Multiview ahead of the games, including on certain golf events, according to Jelley, such as showing different holes. The SVP also described future scenarios for Multiview like the Macy’s Day Parade, where Peacock could show what’s happening in four different locations, or multiple matches for Premiere League events.

“We’re going to sort of see what really resonates with users and listen to them,” he noted.

While other streamers such as virtual MVPDs YouTube TV and Fubo TV have previously introduced Multiview capabilities, NBCU claims Peacock is the first standalone streaming app to offer a Multiview experience across smart TVs, streaming devices, web browsers and tablets.

Fan engagement drives Live Actions feature

Live Actions, meanwhile, is a new interactive tool coming to Peacock that’s supposed to allow viewers to follow and stick with the events they’re most interested in and dive deeper with on-screen prompts.

So if the live broadcast feed of one Olympics competition like gymnastics is switching to a different event such as swimming, but a viewer wants to continue watching the ongoing action they can hit OK on their remote to stay with the gymnastics event instead of having to stick with the primetime airing.

And if viewers are watching the NBC Primetime simulcast, Live Actions allows them to add upcoming events to their “My Stuff” list to watch later without leaving the primetime broadcast.

One of the drivers to introduce Live Actions is Peacock’s desire to cater to and capitalize on fans who want to go deeper or stick with the content they enjoy. Jelley described NBCU tests since the Winter Olympics that included a “choose your reality” experience on certain Bravo content. This feature allowed viewers to dive deeper into an episode they were watching, such as seeing what was happening in another room or hearing additional commentary from a character. And the tests were met with success.

“We saw an incredible, more than 20% of users in each episode wanted to go deeper,” he said. “So the learning we took is, if there’s a passionate fan, they actually do want to go deeper and have that option to explore and discover something else,” leading to Live Actions where viewers don’t have to only stick with the produced broadcast.

Additional Olympics-related features announced for Peacock include a “Browse by Sport” rail to help fans find live events, highlights and replays; a “Search by Star Athlete” option to find live events or replays of a specific athlete, along with earlier functions off searching by sport, event, team and country name.  And its “Catch Up with Key Plays” function, which allows fans to see key moments when tuning into an in-progress game or revisiting past plays, is expanding to include basketball and golf, in addition to soccer.

Also teed up for the Olympic and Paralympic Games broadcast, NBCU for the first time is allowing advertisers to buy inventory programmatically. It’s opening up a private marketplace with biddable access for advertisers under a partnership with The Trade Desk, spanning the U.S. Olympic trials, Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games broadcast.

Jelley, during the press roundtable, also pointed to investing in the advertising experience for live sports on Peacock, where brands can utilize frame ads that take advantage of lulls or pauses in games for a sponsor or advertiser to step in, as well as marquee ads where a brand logo will be featured just beneath a score – both of which can now be served in a targeted way and where he emphasized the viewing experience isn’t hampered.

“If you are an advertiser being associated with some of this interactive functionality is kind of a win-win because it’s really giving users more value, and we love to associate advertisers with the value that Peacock is offering,” he said.

NBCU isn’t the only one with new CTV advertising capabilities. Disney this week announced it will start selling Disney+ and Hulu inventory programmatically through partnerships with The Trade Desk and Google’s Display & Video 360 DSPs via its internally-built DRAX ad exchange.

Article updated to change and correct the third to last paragraph to reflect that frame ad and marquee advertisements in the live sports experience can be served in a targeted way. A prior version incorrectly stated they could be served programmatically.