MediaFile

Data shows thousands circumvented NBC Olympics coverage

August 13, 2012

At least one company benefited from Olympics fans in the United States who tried to circumvent NBC’s television coverage during the London Games. AnchorFree, the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup released data to Reuters on Monday showing a major bump in users who installed a product that gives U.S. users an anonymous IP address in the United Kingdom. Presumably the people who signed up for the product, called ExpatShield, used it to watch BBC’s online streams of the Olympics.

According to the data, the number of installs of the free software surged 1,153 percent in the United States during the games. The company, which recorded an average of 220 installs a day before the Olympics, saw the number of installs increase to 2,753 installs during the 17-day event.

Its daily number of users also quadrupled to 8,121 compared to 2,040 average users before the Olympics. The peak day was on July 31 when 10,105 users logged in to catch the  U.S. women take gold in the gymnastics team final while in swimming, South Africa’s Chad le Clos edged out Michael Phelps in the 200 meter butterfly.

While these aren’t massive numbers, it’s just one company that people turned to during the Olympics to find a workaround to NBC. Others said they used TunnelBear and StreamVia while some tech savvy people like Walnut Creek, California-resident Jason Legate devised their own methods.

AnchorFree’s best known product is Hotspot shield, which lets users in certain countries visit blocked U.S. websites by offering an anonymous American IP address. The company has caught the attention of Goldman Sachs, which led the company’s last funding round of $52 million.

Comments
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Very useful info. I would suggest adding VPNBook to the list. VPNBook provides free PPTP or OpenVPN service and has servers in three countries. As PPTP client is included in most operating systems and OpenVPN is an open source project, no propriety software is needed.

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