NBC Olympics

I don’t entirely get all of the criticism that’s been leveled against NBC for its coverage of these Olympics. Oh, no, it’s a tape delay, somebody call Julian Assange – surprise! that’s how we’ve been watching the Olympics in other time zones for decades! OMG, there are stupid human-interest interviews with athletes – oh, yeah, well with the exception of a few outstanding individuals, I defy you to find an athlete give an interview that wasn’t just “I tried to win, and I {did|didn’t}” platitudes. WTF, the commentators sound stupid for not knowing a few factoids – well, gee, I am a pretty well-rounded, well-informed, and well-educated guy, but I didn’t know who Tim Berners-Lee was, either.

That said, I don’t mean to suggest that things like this aren’t funny. Or that NBC isn’t doing some things wrong. I think that cutting a memorial from the opening ceremony (especially one as well-executed as that!) was insensitive left viewers with a reduced perspective of the opening ceremony. (Plus, there’s the whole golden rule angle: if New York had won the 2012 Games, I know there would have been tributes to the World Trade Center attacks and I know that Americans would have been annoyed if the BBC cut them.)

Likewise, there are some severe shortcomings to NBC’s content delivery. I gave up on cable television and just got myself an internet package…and so now I’m not allowed to watch any of the Olympic coverage on the web or TV. Before TV went digital, I could have watched for free. Something tells me that we consumers are worse off in this new world of digital rights management…

Besides, I actually like the curated content. If I watch a raw stream, I don’t get to hear the details of the arcane rules in events I’m not familiar with. I don’t necessarily know who the athletes are, or where they are in their careers, or how close they are to a world record, or how impressive that thing they did really is. The primetime content may be oversaturated with some events (swimming, running, gymnastics, …) and light on other, equally exciting, tense, and cool sports (badminton, whitewater kayaking, water polo, archery, …) but the context from former Olympians and coaches actually does help.

I’m not sure how the networks haven’t figured out the Internet yet. Why don’t they go all the way and stream the primetime coverage online, to everyone, ads and all?

Just adding my voice in case someone at NBC is watching the trends on Google. 😉

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