NBC's Delayed Telecasts Show A Company Living In The Last Century

from the wow dept

This is just bizarre. As NBC continues its screwed up process of broadcasting the Olympics by delaying the actual telecast of important events until prime time, apparently a bunch of folks are pissed off that real news sources are reporting on what's actually happened. They're targeting the wrong thing, of course. If they're upset that the news is being reported before it's being shown on TV, the real problem is NBC's decision not to show stuff live on TV or to webcast it for those who would prefer to see it live. But people are taking out their anger on newspapers who are giving live reports of what's actually happening:

"Could you please ask the editor of the front Web page to not name the winners within the headlines/sub-headlines?" asked Ken Waters of Phoenix.  Matt Gooch of Harrisonburg, Va. said he was disappointed when The Times reported the results of the men's downhill before NBC showed the event.  "This is not Taliban news, nor TARP news, or even Paula Jones type news," Gooch said.  "There is no meaning to this except the anticipation and suspense that sports viewers feel watching the event live.  Please help me understand why your organization needs to spoil the experience."

Other news organizations are hearing similar complaints.  Liz Spayd, managing editor of The Washington Post, told a reader who asked for a spoiler alert yesterday that, "It's an issue we're trying to evaluate right now."  She said that it's a tricky question "for a news site whose greatest value is to break news. We don't want to be the game spoilers, but when big news happens -- an unexpected gold for the U.S., for example, we want it prominently visible on the site."

Thankfully, the NY Times "has no intention of changing its approach," recognizing that it's a news organization, rather than a business to prop up NBC's ridiculous broadcast scheduling choices.

This does highlight a larger issue that I've been noticing lately. In our more "real-time" society, especially with things like Facebook and Twitter, the idea that you can hide from "spoilers" is increasingly arcane. Now, for most broadcasters (other than NBC, apparently) this should represent good news: as it will drive more people to watch content live, rather than trying to save it for later, since they'll want to avoid spoilers ahead of time. In this case, though, NBC has apparently decided that it knows better than to enable such things.

Of course, plenty of people are smart enough to realize just how badly NBC is managing this, falsely believing that people will just sit and wait until NBC decides to show what it wants, rather than letting people actuallyfollow what's happening. News reports are popping up highlighting how many people are pissed off at NBC for the ridiculous decision to hide live events in a real-time world. With the end result being that NBC's brand is being dragged through the mud for not understanding how to broadcast a sporting event in a real-time world:
"In the age of DVRs, Hulu, and mobile phone scoreboards, the pointlessness of NBC's broadcast strategy -- Olympics and otherwise -- has never been more obvious. People don't eat dinner during Nightly News then settle in for three hours of prime-time network programming anymore. They want things when they want them, not when NBC wants them."
NBC's bizarre reasoning for this is that it wants to put all the "highlight" moments during prime time when it can sell the most advertising. But, apparently no one there thought that perhaps they could show the actual events live and then use prime time for a nice summary of what happened that day at the Olympics. In that way, they might actually get more viewers. If you ever wanted the epitome of a company still living in the last century, it appears to be NBC Universal.

Filed Under: coverage, delays, olympics, real-time
Companies: nbc universal


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Jim, 19 Feb 2010 @ 10:56pm

    I actually like the way NBC does things. I hear everyone talk about wanting to watch events live but I have a question - do you folks have jobs? Because most people do. I'd love to stay home all day and watch the Olympics live but I have to be at work. And I don't want to see "highlights" during prime time - I want to see the actual events, and as much of them as possible.

    Sure I could DVR everything but that'd be a real pain - having to look up every event on the time table and set the DVR accordingly. I like that all the "main" events are shown during NBCs Prime Time coverage - between that and the late night, I get to see 95% of what I want to see. If I do need to miss it live, I only have to DVR two shows rather than trying to figure out a live Olympic schedule. Not to mention the fact that DVRing everything in HD isn't much of an option anyway, hours of Olympic coverage takes up LOTS of space.

    And I find it pretty easy to avoid seeing Olympic results. A big part of this is again, I am at work all day. Another thing is, most news outlets I follow do NOT post results on the front page. There is a link to "Olympic Results" but you have to consciously click it to see. Likewise, my radio station has a "spoiler warning" so you can turn down the volume if you don't want to hear results.

    There is no perfect option but *ultimately* I think FAR more people watch the Olympics with NBC's current format than would if they showed it live in the middle of the day. Maybe a live streaming option would be a good ADDITIONAL choice, but for the TV broadcast, I actually like the current format (though I *do* wish they'd jump around less and show more of an event).

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.