NBC, NFL Deal Puts Adobe One More Step Back

Quietly, a sleeping giant has been evolving. That sleeping giant is Silverlight, a Microsoft rich media technology to rival Adobe’s Flash/Flex platform.

On this date, July 28, there is a dearth of Silverlight content on the web. Almost all the major video sites use Flash players, with Hulu, an NBC property, being a probable exception. However, that is about to change.

NBC Universal is a partner with Microsoft, and the two have collaborated to produce properties such as MSNBC among other joint ventures. In just a short week from now, the next generation of the Microsoft-NBC Universal partnership will unfold before an international audience. NBC’s coverage of the Olympics will be live streamed over the internet using Microsoft Silverlight technology.

I’ve talked to people recently who have discussed the Silverlight platform in the context of competition with Adobe and the ubiquity of Flash. The consensus is that Flash will be here for awhile yet, but as more and more adoption of Silverlight occurs, the Flash footprint could wane significantly. Developers need reason to use a new technology and with the absence of such reason, the status quo will remain.

That reason could very well be the widespread success, if it is a success, of the Olympic coverage on Olympics.com.

But wait, there’s more.

Silicon Alley Insider reported yesterday that an announcement would be made announcing NBC live coverage of Sunday Night Football during the 2008 season over the web. That’s right. Streaming games, multiple camera angles, instant in-home replay, statistics and more.

Which platform is poised to leverage this astonishing about-turn from NFL press mongers? You got it… Silverlight.

Why would NBC invoke any other technology than Silverlight to render rich media content over the web when the technology is quite possibly powering Hulu-powered television and quite possibly about to be a rousing success at the Olympics.

As a side note, the NFL about face on the use of the internet is interesting. Those who have read this site for a long time recall the video podcast that I did from Ravens training camp that was shut down. The video is in my archives if you want to go looking. It’s quite funny, actually.

The NFL is calling this a one year experiment to determine the interest in viewers engaging and consuming their content in non-traditional ways. I look forward to the report that rubber stamps what we’ve known for quite some time: online video consumption, live and otherwise, is replacing televisions in homes across America.

Update: as noted frequently in comments, Hulu is not powered by Silverlight but Flash.

Update 2: So Silverlight was seen as a huge fail and NBC has gone with Flash for their SNF coverage.

BlogHer: Women on the Move (And With Money)

There’s a wrinkle in the space-time continuum, in case you hadn’t noticed. It’s a very powerful horde (plethora, group, pack?) of women who are average bloggers like most of us, who are suddenly very present in the social media space.

To be fair, they’ve been here but many people simply didn’t realize quite how influential they were. In some cases, the oblivion stemmed from a general obliviousness in the blogosphere where bloggers and social media aficionados simply never stepped foot outside of their sphere of influence. In other cases, if rhetoric is to be believed, the oblivion has been an intentional misogynistic mentality.

I don’t quite think it’s as nefarious as the latter, but I do think that women have been taken for granted and probably not given enough credit in a world that is largely powered by geek boys of all ages and types.

In case you missed the news this morning though, this group of women under the BlogHer umbrella, made a pretty bold statement about their mainstream appeal with a $5M series B funding and content syndication deal with NBC Universal. (Press Release)

The content syndication deal would involve BlogHer content, written by over 2200 bloggers, being syndicated across three women-oriented NBC properties, iVillage, BravoTV.com and Oxygen.com.

In addition to content syndication, NBC Universal and BlogHer will collaborate on joint advertising sales, a space currently dominated by Glam Media.

And of course, BlogHer has their annual BlogHer Conference happening this weekend in San Francisco. Festivities begin tomorrow night and continue through Saturday. If you can’t be in San Francisco, the BlogHer Second Life Conference is happening in conjunction. You know… if you don’t have a first life. ;-)

If there’s one thing this deal accentuates, it’s that women are a force to be reckoned with on the internet. While I may not like the insular nature of BlogHer, and the inability to address the fact that never having any man speak at the main conference is off-putting, aggressive and offensive to some, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the hard work the women behind the site have put into organizing, instructing, and educating many women bloggers and providing a venue for their voices to be heard. And they have underscoed that by getting NBC to sign on.

So congratulations, ladies. Your hard work has paid off.