Americans have ranted for decades about tape delays and overseas Olympics. We want to see stuff as it happens. But the network that pays a king's ransom for the broadcast rights makes its money showing the high demand events during American prime time.
Network wins. That used to be the end of the discussion. Not this time.
The beating NBC is taking on social media shows just how much things have changed. Yes, Twitter was around for the 2008 Beijing Olympics but Twitter use has exploded the past two years, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Ryan Lochte could cure cancer during a race & NBC would air it 6 hours later with the cure portion removed for a Seacrest interview #NBCFail— NOT SportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) July 29, 2012
The BBC should setup an "anonymous donation" page for all of us in the US who are taking advantage of their olympic coverage. #NBCFail— Jon Daniel (@binarycleric) July 30, 2012
In 2012, most of us see how ridiculous it is to try and stop real-time news. It can't be controlled. So you either adapt or face the universal mockery that social media can deliver.
Either way, things are going to change. I'm looking forward to seeing how the social beat down of NBC in 2012 shapes the coverage and information flow for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"The problem for NBC as for other media is that it is trying to preserve old business models in a new reality," writes media critic Jeff Jarvis. "To experiment with alternatives when billions are at stake is risky. But so is not experimenting and not learning when millions of your viewers can complain about you on Twitter.
"The bottom-line lesson for all media is that business models built on imprisonment, on making us do what you want us to do because you give us no choice, is no strategy for the future. And there's only so long you can hold off the future."
-- Paul Tosto
I think part of it is that they do have streaming available, but only if you buy the right cable package. I'm guessing that people who use twitter are much less likely to pay for large cable packages. I pay Comcast about $70 a month, but that's not enough for me to get free streaming because I only have the most basic of cable packages. I'd have to upgrade to the next level of cable, which is like $60/mo more. That's absolutely crazy for two weeks every two years for summer and winter olympics.
Conceding in advance that I'm in the minority of households that only receive over-the-air broadcasts, I don't understand why the networks don't use digital technology to broadcast multiple events at one time. Go ahead & do a primetime show will all the drama & backstory. But also broadcast other events as they happen. Use the technology, stupid.
I agree with Kassie. Why can't they do like they did for the Tour de France? Rather than pay for all the cable channels I didn't want, I paid $10 for an app to get live streaming access to the race.
Josh, exactly. I'd pay $50 for unlimited access or $1.99 per event, assuming I actually get to the see the whole event, not just the Americans like on NBC.
Also, I think everything should be streamed for free 24 hours after the event. The difference between the Olympics and pretty much everything else on TV is that the athletes are not getting paid. No one should own copyright to these events. This isn't like Dexter or your favorite band where artists lose money when pirated or available for free. Even NBC wouldn't lose money 24 hours later because those who pay now, would still pay, and they could put ads in the stream.
Americans have watched other live events across the pond in the early morning hours, even though London is 6 hours ahead of us.
One night of Ryan Seacrest was enough for me.
We were pretty upset with this weekend's coverage. I understand NBC preserving their archaic business practice of the prime-time tape delay - fine. But leading their national newscast with the results before they air them without warning is incredibly frustrating. By that 1-2 minutes of coverage, they lost our 4 hours of viewership in prime-time.
Even more unclassy - the removal of the 7/7 victim tribute during the opening ceremony. It was poor taste, and if BBC had done the opposite with a 9/11 tribute there would have been hell-to-pay.
I don't know the details but NBC is broadcasting ,on other cable channels, live stuff.
We records something like 60 hours of Olympics on the tivo, the night time stuff was all duplicate of what we had recorded/watched on the other channels. (We had heat 4 of the men's individual medley recorded 3 times: live on 2 and tape delay on another)
I'm with Kassie and Josh. I don't subscribe to cable TV because I hardly ever watch TV. I pay big $$ for cable internet access, but that doesn't "count" so I can't see the Olympics, pretty much at all.
I'd happily pay a fee for online streaming (either a one-time flat-rate for full access or smaller amounts per event) or buy an app to watch on my iPad. But they don't want to sell me any of those things.
Their problem is that they don't want to sell me what I want to buy. No, they want to sell me what they want to sell. What they're selling, I don't want (a cable subscription), what I want (and would be willing to pay for), they don't offer. It's stupid, no way around it, and they're losing money. Bad business decisions. Here sits a product without a customer, and a customer without a product. Isn't this an opening for making money? Why aren't they acting on this market?
One thing people need to keep in mind is that nobody is technically paying to watch NBC's over-the-air coverage. Who is paying for that is the advertisers who run commercials, particularly during prime time when the rates are higher.
That's why they delay the events that they think most people are interested in watching is to air them during prime time viewing hours. The ratings so far would suggest that was the right move.
Whether NBC could make money selling other types of viewing packages needs to take into account how much that would cut into the prime time advertising rates. Are there enough people willing to pay for online streaming to make up what NBC would lose on commercial sales? I don't know. NBC apparently does not think so.
No worries -- NBC's got this all figured out. Just get the Twitter account of anybody who complains shut down!
NBC also removed the athlete and official oaths from the opening ceremony, unless they didn't do them this year.
I didn't watch the BBC coverage, so I don't know for certain, though.
Ah, the Olympics! Never mind which country wins and which loses, never mind who wins or loses any individual competition, during these fabulous days we're all of us winners! :-)
Andy Murray vs Roger Federer at an Olympic Wimbledon - the titans meet again! This time the victory together with Olympic glory goes to Murray. It was much-deserved and hard-won. Let's hope it makes up for previous disappointments and sets the stage for many further Murray victories.