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.