NBC: We Have No Clue Who Tim Berners-Lee Is, But Without Our Commentary, You Wouldn't Understand The Olympics
from the brought-to-you-in-full-color-tape-delay! dept
Oh, NBC. You've locked down the Olympics and made some
serious half-assed efforts towards providing extensive coverage that takes advantage of the always-connected world and yet… you just can't help stepping in it on opening night.
First of all, seriously? Tape delay to the West Coast? You lock down coverage in order to take advantage of prime time and try to pass it off as some sort of “value added” service. Pay no mind to all the twittering and live blogging willing to fill in the gaps, while you do some sort of production magic behind the scenes. Live events don't need windows and real life shouldn't need spoiler warnings.
Even worse is the fact that the opening ceremonies weren't even streamed live on the internet, where time and distance aren't factors. And you know it, too, because your official Twitter accounts were posting updates live, giving Americans the dusty old feeling that they're listening to a local broadcaster read off the ticker feed from a title match. So close, but so far.
But us poor internet denizens. If we weren't so damn stupid, we could be trusted with a live feed. NBC's official statement:
“They [the opening ceremonies] are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large primetime audiences that gather together to watch them.”
Translation: our advertisers have paid us a literal shit-tonne of money to have a large primetime audience delivered to them, so fold your hands in your lap and stare blankly at your television until the broadcast begins.
I'm no social media maven but I'm pretty sure the internet does just fine adding “context” and is perfectly capable of “watching stuff” as it happens. For example, they seem perfectly find adding context to the fact that your hosts suck, as aptly pointed out via this collection of tweets asking Matt Lauer to shut up.
And what the hell is this about “expertise?” Did you even hear your own anchors?
As the London Olympic games honored World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, NBC hosts Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer admitted — almost bragged — that they didn’t know who he was.
It’s a shame, because it took attention away from a pretty cool tribute to the history of tech and the way it has transformed modern life and communications. Text messages, status updates, photo sharing and smartphones all played a part.
Indeed, every seat had an LED panel to create a stadium-wide megadisplay.
“One more thing I don’t understand,” Viera added.
Evidently someone handed them a memo, because Viera was able to correctly identify Berners-Lee several minutes later, as he typed out a message (on a NeXT cube) that was shown on that oh-so-confusing LED screen.
[There's video here of the ignorance if you're so inclined. Obviously, NBC would rather you not relive this moment over and over so it's tucked away in someone's Tumblr and not embeddable.]
The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, without whom a lot of this stuff you're botching wouldn't even be possible, makes an appearance and your talking heads act almost triumphant they've never heard of him. What the hell? Was Aaron Sorkin writing the cue cards?
There's “seizing the moment” and then there's “closing your eyes and sticking one arm out,” hoping the moment trips over you on its way to the goal line. You're the placekickers of “complex entertainment spectacles.”
On the bright side, I would imagine there's nowhere to go but up from the Opening Ceremonies. But I'm sure you've still got a few gaffes up your sleeve, especially if you stick with your “adding context with ignorant commentary” plan.
[Oh, never mind. It's happened already.]
— Vivian Schiller (@VivianSchiller) July 29, 2012
Wow. It's a shame that NBC has the financial ability to outbid anyone who could actually handle an Olympics broadcast competently.