NBC Tells Concerned Senator That Its Olympics Coverage Was Great... According To Itself

from the well,-that's-convincing dept

As you may recall, NBC was widely slammed for its ridiculous Olympics coverage, which included time delayed programming for no reason at all, extremely limited online programming, and -- in some cases -- requirements to prove you were a particular cable company subscriber to get access to the internet streams. This upset Senator Herb Kohl, who questioned NBC, and wondered if it would further restrict access to its programming should the merger with Comcast go through.

NBC has now replied, but has done so in a misleading manner -- claiming that "viewers had access to more coverage than in any prior Winter Olympics." Now, this is misleading by omission on two separate accounts. First, note the use of "Winter Olympics." Two years ago, NBC actually did provide greater access to its Summer Olympics coverage online. Four years ago, at the last Winter Olympics, broadband was more limited and you can't really compare the two. So that point is somewhat meaningless. Second, since there was no direct competition in the US, it's also a meaningless statement. However, if you look at how online coverage of the Olympics was handled in other countries, you quickly realize that NBC did a terrible job and greatly limited viewers. For example, we regularly heard from folks in Canada, who noted they could access almost everything via online streams.

NBC further makes this questionable claim:
"Without this hybrid approach to ad-supported broadcast households and (pay-TV) households, NBCU would simply not be able to bring our complete Olympics coverage to the American public."
Let's see... you took an amazingly popular sporting event, pissed off a ton of people who wanted to watch it by making it harder to watch and apparently lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. And now you're suggesting this was a successful strategy? Wow. Perhaps if you had provided more of what consumers actually wanted, you would have found a better business model.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 8:49am

    3rd "viewers had..."

    so non views get bent you dont count.....
    ya i saw that i bet others will too.
    THE senator in this case is talking about somehting altogether different about the ability of people to see not those that COULD see.

    I can have the greatest web online game , BUT only for people i let play does that mean its the greatest on earth for those that can't play too?

     

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  2.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 8:52am

    and don't worry CTV botched stuff too ( Canada )

    so you able to watch stuff online were we, not really.
    go ask and fnd out it wasn't much differant then nbc

    after all you have hollywood north aka ctv running it.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 9:00am

    Re: 3rd "viewers had..."

    What?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 9:12am

    Olympics ruined for me

    Between the way the Olympic Commitee acts and the way coverage is handled I've essentially been forced to give up any interest I ever had in the Olympics. Those asshats can keep it all for themselves, I hope they go broke and go homeless.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: 3rd "viewers had..."

    I'm not completely versed in English as broken as this, but I think he is saying this:

    Senator: Your coverage was a failure because it lacked decent coverage.
    NBC: All the people who saw it were able to see it.

    So N.O's point is that, as the article states, it's a complete cop-out to reply to that critism the way they did. It completely ignores the issue being addressed and paints it over with PR spin.

     

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  6.  
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    NBC, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Everyone knows that the dirty pirates are everywhere. We used the latest technology to keep them stealers from watching our content!

    Pats on the back all around.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: 3rd "viewers had..."

    Don't bother trying to decipher that drivel. He has no point. He never does.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 3rd "viewers had..."

    Actually, I'm starting to think that NAMELESS.ONE, RJR, and a few of the other over-the-top characters on TechDirt are just AI's created by a student at a grad program somewhere. RJR could almost pass the Turing Test.

    Back on topic, why did they make it harder to watch when they could have made it easier and sold more ads?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Remember Triplecast?

     

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  10.  
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    Jon B., Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re:

    I remember when there were 3 pay per view channels devoted to entire olympics coverage.

    Then I also remember a year when NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC were devoted to Olympics all day - I don't know if any was delayed or all live.

    I'd say either of these were better than this year's Olympics.

     

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  11.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 10:51am

    So much for new technology

    Given the current state of broadcast technology, there's no good reason that the relevant network can't dedicate an entire subchannel to the Olympics. They don't have to monopolize their main channel. They can have it on 8_2 or 8_3 or 8_4 and cable providers could accomodate them.

    Infact, I did see some Olympics coverage on the local affiliate's subchannels before, during and after the games.

    With all of this magical digital TV goodness, fixating on the internet might not even be necessary.

     

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  12.  
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    Jonathan, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 10:59am

    even allowed subscribers had a hard time

    One of the "allowed" cable companies was Charter. I have Charter, so I was excited. After 30 minutes on the phone setting up my @charter.net email account to prove that i could watch the Olympics(TM) I ran into a problem. It still wasn't letting me watch. A 2nd call to Charter uncovered that even though i was paying for the top tier broadband, since I did not have a cable TV subscription i would not be allowed to watch the Olympics.

    Why? I don't have a TV and have no use for a cable TV service. Plus, if I had cable TV, i'd be watching the Olympics on my TV rather than my computer screen.

    Good game, NBC. You really got me. Unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to watch all of your ads.

     

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  13.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Did any other American see it all?

    "...NBCU would simply not be able to bring our complete Olympics coverage to the American public."

    Wow! He has the gall to call their coverage complete.

     

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  14.  
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    NBC, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 11:40am

    NBC - No Body Cares

    What? We did a great job. Who cares if you see the sporting events, as long as you saw the sponsors commercials. Watch what you want when you want? What do you think this is? Dont like? Watch it somewhere else. Oh wait you cant. Ha ha.

     

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  15.  
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    Nick Mc, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Did any other American see it all?

    "...NBC would simply not be able to bring our complete Olympics coverage to the American public."

    Notice that he says "our complete Olympics coverage" not simply "complete Olympics coverage".

    Oh and, yes, CTV weren't perfect but they had all sorts of coverage with different events on different tv channels (all owned by CTV of course) at the same time plus several other events streaming live. So at most times during the day you had the choice of maybe 6 or so live events, some in languages other than English. We are multicultural after all.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Olympic coverage in Canada was good.

     

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  17.  
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    DanVan (profile), Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 5:20pm

    Who didn't love already knowing the scores of games before they were played? I know I did..... Like, if we are talking about on the other side of the world, I get holding off because it would have been shown at 3am But holding off due to 2-3 hours? What a joke

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2010 @ 7:59pm

    Seems like surveys indicate they did okay...

    http://www.qar.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=94&Itemid=308

    http:// www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/keller-fay-study-finds-vancouver-olympics-coverage-is-stimulating-m illions-of-conversations-about-advertisers-brands-85036252.html

    In addition, the ratings were phenomenally good, reversing a trend of declining ratings.

    I did see an article that contrasted people who frequented the internet versus those who do not. The former seemed to be very dissatisfied. The latter seemed generally quite happy, going to their day jobs and then coming home to watch the Olympics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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