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. icon
    Hulser (profile), 18 Feb 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: It's about courtesy

    I was sitting around a table with several friends and we were talking about what happened on the last LOST episode, if someone in our group didn't want to hear it, they should excuse their self from the table and go to the bathroom.

    Really? You and your friends have so little to talk about that you would force someone to leave the table rather than just move onto a different topic?

    I have the responsibility, if I want to keep things suspenseful, to NOT put myself in places where the results of the "Big Event" would be announced.

    I agree. Obviously the size of the event affects one's expectations on reasonably running across the results by accident. Superbowl? Lock yourself in your house, shut all the blinds, and don't turn on any electronic device. But the finale of a TV episode? I shouldn't have to go to extremes to avoid this being spoiled and I would hope that the kinds of people I call friends would have enough respect not to blurt out the ending before at least checking to see if the people at the table saw the episode.

    I know this might be a shock to your system, but no matter what you think, you are not someone of that great importance; neither am I, and I certainly don't expect ANYONE to not talk about what they watched.

    What does someone's view of their importance have to do with this topic? I'm not saying that any one person is so important that everyone around them has to bend to their will. What I am saying is that having DVRs and timeshifting shows is commonplace now and that social etiquette has to shift to accomodate this change in technology. Now, there's obviously a continuum in terms of how long the timeshift is. You'd get laughed out of the room if you got mad because you told people not to talk about who shot JR. What's the exact time period you have to give a spoiler alert? Who knows? But as more and more people timeshift, I think it will get longer and longer.

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