It's An Olympics Tradition: How Difficult Can NBC Universal Make It To Enjoy The Olympics?

from the yet-again dept

Is it really that time again? When NBC screws up its coverage of the Olympics by showing people what it thinks they want to see, rather than what they actually want to see? Every two years, the Olympics does two appallingly annoying things: makes it difficult to watch the Olympics online… and refuses to show it live on TV. In the 20th century view of NBC execs like Rick Cotton, the only thing that matters is prime time television. So they hold off and focus everything around that prime time slot… effectively pissing off everyone else. As Erick Schoenfeld noted: “The only Olympics tweets I’ve seen all day are from people pissed that NBC is not broadcasting the opening ceremony live.”

Hell, even when they go on Twitter the Olympics can’t do things right. There was a lot of buzz around the fact that NBC and Twitter teamed up to create an “Olympics” hub. Great (though some people are pointing out that NBC’s own Twitter feed is now tweeting stories that it refuses to broadcast live). However, as Canada-based reporter Mathew Ingram discovered in trying to look up the Olympics Twitter hub, thanks to NBC Universal restrictions, Twitter is geoblocking access. To check it out, I visited the Olympics hub site from the US and saw this:

And, then, through the magic of the internet, “transported” myself (or, at least my connection) to Toronto, where I reloaded the page… and saw this:
In the end, I’m not really sure it makes a huge difference. To be honest, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of the Olympics “hub” on Twitter, but it’s yet another way in which NBC Universal seems focused on restricting access, rather than enabling access. It’s 20th century thinking for a company that is in desperate need of 21st century leadership.

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Companies: nbc universal, twitter

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Comments on “It's An Olympics Tradition: How Difficult Can NBC Universal Make It To Enjoy The Olympics?”

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51 Comments
Berenerd (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Everyone would love it…cept the Olympics Commission. The reason I no longer care about the Olypics is because its too commercial now. Everyone wants money from it while the stars, the athletes, get to simply live in near poverty for two weeks (plus training and all that) to represent their countries in nike ripoffs that, rather than litigate, Nike actually did the right thing and gave them real Nike uniforms.

Emily White (user link) says:

AGREED!

THANK YOU FOR THIS!!

I don’t own a television and would HAPPILY pay for on-demand live streaming coverage.

Every quadrennial I hope that The Olympics coverage has caught up with technology and every time it is a let down.

For now, I’ll just enjoy reading all of the U.S. swim team’s Tweets as at least the can keep us in the live loop!: https://twitter.com/#!/swimswamnews/us-olympic-swim-team

Shadeyone says:

Re: Re: AGREED!

Wait, how does not having a TV equate to wanting all things free? Some people don’t have a TV because they don’t want one or they have a subscription to Netflix and watch everything on their computer or tablet.

I’ve got a TV, but no cable because I’ve got a 3 year old and I’m not gonna pay over $50 a month for something I’m barely going to watch because I want to be a decent parent and husband and spend time with my family.

So according to you in my situation, wanting to spend time with family=freetard pirate apologist who is intent on destroying the fabric of life as we know it

Rekrul says:

To be honest, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of the Olympics “hub” on Twitter, but it’s yet another way in which NBC Universal seems focused on restricting access, rather than enabling access. It’s 20th century thinking for a company that is in desperate need of 21st century leadership.

You have that backwards…

The 20th century was all about innovation and inventing new technology. The 21st century is all about crushing innovation and locking down new technology.

Anonymous Coward says:

Aren’t the Olympics over yet so that we can get back to more interesting IP & Copyright topics?

If advertisers want my eyeballs, they will need to start advertising on Techdirt.

I’m not going to put myself (or my family) though the trouble of watching the Olympics advertising until they make it easy for me to obtain.

In the meantime, Go Pepsi! Go Wendy’s! Go ASIC!

Adam Bell (profile) says:

CTV Olympics

In Canada, CTV has the franchise and even better, has an iPad app that showed the opening ceremony (actually about 15-20 seconds later than it was on TV). Having looked at the show on TV, I discovered that the iPad 3 image was actually better on the Internet. Unfortunately, CTV’s desktop machine access is the pits for me — it uses Silverlight and looks really bad; smearing images, etc.

Mike could use his Toronto connection to have a squint.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don’t really care anymore. They can block it all they wish. Been so many years since most of it was broadcast, I’ve lost interest in the Olympics. Haven’t seen one in years. Nothing to get excited about anymore on it.

Maybe they should just block it to everyone that doesn’t have pay for view. It’d work about as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I feel you need something pointed out.

When it says “Anonymous Coward” it isn’t actually “anonymous”. Techdirt knows your IP address and could rather easily publish it for the world to see. Armed with your IP address a savvy social engineer could call your ISP and have your name, address, and phone number and publish this data as well. All of this could be done literally within minutes.

But Techdirt doesn’t do that because they respect your privacy and right to speak your ignorant mind.

It’s best to not provoke the caged lion when the cage door is wide open…

Danny (profile) says:

Thank you NBC

i suggested to my wife over lunch today that we turn on the opening ceremonies. Found they weren’t there and not scheduled until 6:30pm in Chicago. We had 7pm dinner plans at home (a guest came over), so we recorded them and watched at 10 when our guest left.

It was great. Since it isn’t live anyway, it really doesn’t matter if we watch it when it airs, or a little bi later. We were able to kip all th commercials and see about two hours of show in 90 minutes (I wish we’d skipped the rap too).

My wife is still watching; I had my fill. Anyway, this slight personal delay worked so well we I’ll do it for je rest of the games. So thanks NBC for showing us that not watching live means not watching commercials.

Danny (profile) says:

Thank you NBC

i suggested to my wife over lunch today that we turn on the opening ceremonies. Found they weren’t there and not scheduled until 6:30pm in Chicago. We had 7pm dinner plans at home (a guest came over), so we recorded them and watched at 10 when our guest left.

It was great. Since it isn’t live anyway, it really doesn’t matter if we watch it when it airs, or a little bi later. We were able to kip all th commercials and see about two hours of show in 90 minutes (I wish we’d skipped the rap too).

My wife is still watching; I had my fill. Anyway, this slight personal delay worked so well we I’ll do it for je rest of the games. So thanks NBC for showing us that not watching live means not watching commercials.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

This is what destroying culture looks like

We are witnessing the destruction of culture.

For all those IP maximalists who demand strict IP to preserve culture, FUCK YOU.

The Olympics are supposed to be about GLOBAL goodwill and are an historical event. We live in a time with technology that allows everyone around the world to view and record and share the experience in real time. But we can’t.

The Olympics should be the one event where all IP is suspended.

Please explain how this is protecting culture.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: you're talking out of your ass

For this issue the legal counsel would be part of the decision making. “Gee, how do we follow the example of the Olympics themselves and maximize our IP in the worst ways possible, Rick?”

Rick — “We delay everything till Prime Time and then start to stream on Silverlight just like we have in the past. Here’s the playbook from Beijing just follow everything in it!”

(Rick passes the playbook to Programming”

Porgramming — “Hey, cool! Thanks!”

Beech (profile) says:

The problem

So there’s only a handfull of olympic sports i care about. Judo, Taekwondo, Shooting, maybe one or two others. I just spent 45 minutes bouncing around the official olympic website trying to find when any of them aired. eventually found a nice little tool that lets you put in your zip code and TV provider and it gives you a list of what events are airing on what channels when. Awesome. Until half the stuff is on NBCSports which i don’t get, the other half is on MSNBC which has “Olympics” as a 4 hour block of programming and my DVR won’t let me start the recording 2 hours late (I don’t need 2 hours of coverage of sports i dont care about).

So after all that work I have not a whole lot to show for it. Time to see if there are other less legitimate options to what the event i want when i want with a minimum of fuss…..

abc gum says:

I’ve been enjoying the “Games” over there on that little island immensely. One event in particular has caught my attention and that is the “Insult the Host Country” event in which I believe Mitt Romney has taken Gold !! There is another event called “Back Pedaling” which again our very own Mitt has won Gold. Very impressive performance. I think he declined to compete in the “Find Something Make In The UK That You Want” event because he had little chance of a winning a medal. The nation feverishly awaits the remainder of his Insult The World tour with drooling fervor and anticipation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t really get why people are making such a big deal out of his remarks. Granted, I’m neither British nor American, but his remarks didn’t appear that upsetting to me. If I were an American, I’d worry much, much more about my politicians lying about each other than about one expressing doubt about the security of a sporting event.

Of course, if you’re going to play Insult Other Countries, it’s almost a shame Santorum isn’t in the race anymore.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:

Of the many things a politician ought to be capable of, diplomacy is rather high on the list. More so for those at the higher levels of government. Flippant responses and a general lack of respect will get them a lot of attention (mostly bad) followed by the digging up of similar remarks from the past, with Romney they have much material to choose from.

Honesty is good trait, no doubt, and is somewhat lacking in most politicians. What really bothers most of us commoners is when they lie straight to your face and expect everyone to believe it. Then they act all annoyed when called out on it and refer to it as “gotcha journalism”.

I’m relieved that the American Taliban is no longer in the race, however – I’m sure they will be back.

Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

"It's An Olympics Tradition. . ."

Due to years of these kinds of restrictions and more over the years, I boycotted the 0lympic$ years ago. Everyone in the restricted zones should do the same. You could also subscribe to a VPN service in another country. It may also be possible that video clips will be available via torrent magnet-links, Pirate Bay, etc. Screw NBC and the 0lympic$ committees. They’re as bad, if not worse than di$ney corp and all the other US media fattys.

HBP says:

Real Solution... Dump NBC!!!

Honestly… the US has Screwed it’s self for way to long allowing Media to dictate what it can and cannot watch. the Brits have it right, hence the reason I pay 7 Euro a month(Via Paypal = about $12) for a VPN to watch TV…

AND GUESS WHAT!!! I Saw the opening ceremonies live, and get to watch all the events all the sessions no matter what, because they are all streamed and if I happen to be asleep, I can catchup. all 24 streams of the olympics live in HD.

none of this commercial bullshit that we as americans have come to accept as TV… if the match is 20 minutes long, your watching 20 minutes of folks playing.

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