Poor little Silverlight. It's gotta be tough enough trying to put a chink in Adobe's Flash armor, and the Summer Olympics seemed like it'd be the place for Microsoft's latest to shine. The technology worked fine, bringing streaming video and loads of Olympic goodness to the masses.
However, not everything's coming up roses. TechCrunch has a good article explaining that despite the spin cast forth by NBC, it's online plan fell short.
NBCOlympics.com flourished with 72 million videos streamed and 1.2 billion page views, but Yahoo Sports still had 400,000 more visitors a day, at 4.7 million, TechCrunch says. Some of that should be attributable to Yahoo being an established portal, but that's still a pretty big hit for NBC - and Microsoft's Silverlight - to take one such a high-profile event. Why the discrepancy?
NBC decided to limit what people could see online, especially live streams, in favor of its TV coverage because it feared cannibalizing its TV audience. Those fears proved to be unfounded because given the choice, most people would rather watch the Olympics on TV than online. But NBC missed a big opportunity here to expand its audience by streaming events it gave short shrift on TV (i.e., anything that wasn’t women’s beach volleyball or sports where the U.S. didn’t have a good chance of earning a medal).
Silverlight is far from dead in the water. And we still have high hopes for it in the mobile sector, hopefully with the release of Windows Mobile 7. But we're starting to get antsy for more than online demos and aging YouTube videos - especially with iPhone 2.0 unleashed (for better or for worse), and Android ramping up (despite rumors to the contrary).