Olympics video content is super expensive, which is why NBC*, which owns the rights to distribute said content, has never shared it on any platforms that weren’t owned by NBC.
At the same time, NBC knows there is a generation of people more likely to discover things to watch on social media rather than by flipping channels on a television.
So, for the 2016 Games in Rio, the network is loosening that grip ever so slightly.
Three months after NBC announced a deal to show Olympics highlights inside of Snapchat’s Discover section, Facebook and NBC will announce a similar sort of partnership.
As part of the deal, NBC says it will publish up to 20 Olympics highlights per day on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, plus a two-minute daily recap show, complete with highlights, that will be exclusive to Facebook. It will also use Facebook and Instagram content to supplement its live NBC telecasts, and will use Facebook’s livestreaming feature to create videos with athletes and NBC’s on-air talent.
NBC will not, however, livestream any live game or event footage on Facebook or any other partner platform. That content, of course, is the stuff most people really want to watch (and advertisers pay big bucks for), which is why NBC is keeping it to itself.
Pirated video around the Olympics is still a big problem for NBC, which may be another reason it’s warming up to these highlight deals.
NBC is clearly also trying to reach the younger demographic through the deals with Facebook and others. Most interesting may be NBC’s move to give a small team of BuzzFeed producers access to create content using NBC’s Olympics assets — a far more hands-on deal than what NBC is doing with Facebook.
It’s not entirely clear what the financial relationship is between NBC and Facebook — both declined to comment on those specifics. But NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel described the partnership in an interview with Recode as “an exchange of value,” specifically mentioning Facebook’s reach. This partnership is only for Facebook and Instagram’s U.S. users, but Facebook alone has 175 million daily users in the U.S. and Canada.
When NBC’s Snapchat partnership was announced, the company was also in talks with Twitter around NBC content distribution. Zenkel says that NBC and Twitter won’t have a formal partnership for the games like it will with Snapchat and Facebook, but did say NBC will tweet out lots of video around the games, including some highlights. “You won’t see as many [as Facebook],” he added.
NBC is also broadcasting in virtual reality for the first time this year, in partnership with Samsung, delivering one event per day and more than 100 hours in total.
Recode Senior Editor Ina Fried recently interviewed Zenkel for our weekly podcast, Recode Decode, so you can hear more about the upcoming Olympics here.
* NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media, the parent company that owns Recode.
Additional reporting by Ina Fried.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.