Dear Old Media: You Can't Delay The News; Nor Should You Want To

from the just-a-suggestion dept

David Carr, over at the NY Times, has a good column pointing out not just how silly NBC’s efforts to block all websites from showing the Olympics opening ceremony before it broadcast the (long delayed) ceremonies itself was, but also how it didn’t make much sense. Comparing it to the story last week concerning the Philadelphia Inquirer’s braindead policy to delay stories until the print paper comes out, Carr notes the difference between viewing online as solely a “broadcast” medium, to one where much more is happening. For example, the stories Carr heard from his friends who got around NBC’s media blackout resulted in him watching the official broadcast:

I was one of them, in part because as the day wore on, I saw all manner of oohing and ahhing on the Web from bloggers and friends who had peeked in and found themselves awe-struck. By the time the broadcast rolled around, my daughter and I had been nicely primed by the Web fanatics for what was, after all, a kind of epic movie made in real time that was best enjoyed on a big screen with good resolution.

In other words, rather than trying to block all the internet broadcasts of the opening ceremonies, just let them drive more interest in catching the full broadcast. He also points out that the internet isn’t just a system for broadcasting content, but it’s a way for people to interact with the content. That can be about promoting it to others (as people did concerning the opening ceremonies to Carr) or it could be in letting them contribute to the story, as others did in telling Carr’s colleague about getting around NBC’s block:

On Saturday, Mr. Stelter’s wonderful article in The New York Times on how people were working around the blackout on the Olympic ceremony began as a post on Twitter seeking consumer experiences, then jumped onto his blog, TV Decoder, caught the attention of editors who wanted it expanded for the newspaper and ended up on Page One, jammed with insight and with plenty of examples from real human experience.

These aren’t new ideas, but it’s nice to see a media reporter from such a mainstream publication as the Times schooling other old media properties like NBC and the Philadelphia Inquirer in how it’s done.

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Comments on “Dear Old Media: You Can't Delay The News; Nor Should You Want To”

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PaulT (profile) says:

I’ve heard that NBC is getting a lot of complaints on the consistent delays, even the NYT is calling them out on it. The best argument I’ve heard is about the Michael Phelps races – people can’t tune in to find out if the guy won, only to watch the match later to see how he won. That inevitably reduces the excitement – and therefore viewers.

Yet, NBC are tied into the old media idea that there is a specific “prime time” and that you have to broadcast in that slot to get the viewers. They have no idea that by forcing artificial delays on a worldwide event, they’re just losing viewers. Of course, they’re trying to shut down those sources that are meeting the demands of their viewers, rather than actually giving them what they want, and will complain about “piracy” if their tactics lose them too many viewers…

JustMe says:

As someone who lives in the Eastern US time zone

There is very little about the olympics happening in ‘prime time.’ They don’t start until 8pm and they run until midnight. I just have to say that I’m pissed off at NBC. I work for a living. I also want to support my local Michigan athletes. I can’t justify staying up until midnight to see all of the events. As a result of this I’m boycotting all new NBC shows this Fall. Phbbbtttttt!

If they want me back then can shift coverage to start at 6pm and end at 10pm.

dkp says:

idiotic nbc

I would have watched it online through nbc but I can’t as the codec nbc chose to use will not work with my 3 year old computer so I either have to watch it on tv or do what I have been and that is going to he canadian and uk broadcasting sites to watch the us events. oh and I will not be watching anything on nbc this fall either.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Delay can cost lives...

Earthquake in the S.Pacific is sending Tsunamis toward the West Cost of N.America. Too bad everyone in Los Angles must wait for the news to be reported in the NYTimes tomorrow before any other news agencies can report.

Broadcasters and newspapers are forgetting that they do not own the news, they just report it. Because you don’t own the news, you cannot copyright/trademark or patent the news.

Chris says:

Re: Delay can cost lives...

There are tsunami warning systems already in place, that are not run by news agencies but actual scientists, that do this job. The print/broadcast/internet news media has nothing to do with this, aside from, I suppose, the Emergency Alert System, which they have to broadcast anyways. Your comment is irrelevant.

Niles Gibbs (user link) says:

Added experience online

I for one watched the opening ceremonies live online.

Even if it wasn’t a high-def feed, the experience of watching it online with an inline chatroom far outweighed any benefits of watching it on a larger screen.

I was able to chat with fans worldwide: the Philippines, Germany, Texas, just to name a few. To hear their reasons for watching, to share in the community, was far more connecting than when I had to finish the rest of it from the recording (since I had to go to work).

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