Note to Readers: Phil Rosenthal is the Chicago Tribune's "business of media" columnist. He writes about some really interesting topics, which is one of the reasons I contacted him about the NBC "premium" video coverage. He got back to me with lightning speed:
My guess is that the "premium content" on the site -- which is what NBCOlympics.com classifies that as -- is being subsidized by the "participating cable, satellite and IPTV providers," which is why a subscription is required. They're paying the freight, and they dangle this as a minor but exclusive value-added benefit of actually paying for their services.
But I have sent an inquiry to NBC. So if I get more details, I'll let you know.
I'd totally pay for Olympic online content, if given the chance. I wish you'd given me (and at least one of my Facebook friends who's now scrambling to get a digital converter box) the option to buy access too!
And Phil got an answer quickly:
The answer to your original query is pretty much what I told you. The only thing I would add is that highlight packages are free of charge and free of requirement that you subscribe to cable, etc., and for most people and most events I would suspect that is plenty.
That's sad for us with (a) The Fever, and (b) no cable. There's more of us out there than you might assume, NBC.