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

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2010 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:


    So what? They decided that since they are going to lose money on this deal that there was no point in trying to make more money?

    I ask "so what" in return. The fact remains that their decision to lose money on the Olympics has nothing to do with their other decisions regarding streaming, voodoo incantations, holistic healing, etc. You might say the same bad decision making also shows up as...and fill in the blanks, but the decisions are completely unrelated and trying to tie them together makes no sense.

    No reason to reach out to a new market?

    I do not work for NBC. People make decisions as to how they will do things all the time. Since I was not there, I am unable to hear their logic and reasoning for the decisions they made.

    No reason to try and give people what they want?

    Okay, just what is it that "people" "want"? I do not want live coverage prior to 7 PM. I have a day job. I am uninterested in streaming. I like NBC and CNBC's coverage. They distill the events down to the parts that I mostly want to watch. Apparently that is what most people want, given that they are #1 in the ratings.

    Perhaps if they provided what people wanted, the loss they are anticipating would be less.

    You have yet to provide evidence of what people want. Just because you and a small handful of people want something does not mean those numbers are high enough to warrant attention. Note that people still want a flying car, but it has yet to happen because the numbers are not high enough.

    Just because they are expecting a net loss for the games doesn't mean that they are not losing money from unexplored options. The idea should be to minimize that loss as much as possible, not accept it and move on.

    I absolutely agree. However, they obviously were unable to explore many options prior to the start of the games. Furthermore, I am not a huge fan of shutting the door after the horse has not only left, but died of old age.

    The problem here was never lack of alternatives for watching the games, but overpaying for the games. No amount of additional expenditures for setting up more online streaming and trying to explore alternative revenue was going to save that money - it was a sunk cost.

    So, they could spend even more money trying to "save" that money, or go conservative and with is relatively tried and true. After an anticipated loss in the hundreds of millions I could easily see a senior executive telling people to cut their losses as much as possible. Yes, going after alternative revenue streams might have cut their losses by some amount, but it would not have "saved" the $250 to $400 million already lost, so I see people saying "good money after bad" before telling people to cut back on any new Olympic-related ventures.

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