A really brief commentary on the highs and lows of NBC’s Olympic Coverage
During the Olympics NBC has gotten a lot of heat for a multitude of things–not being clear about what is airing when, making live streams difficult to access, focusing too much on “personal story lines, and saving events that have already been decided for prime-time airing.
Now let me first admit to some bias. I enjoy watching Olympic events. However, I’m not passionate about them. If I were I’d keep up with those events during the interim which I do not. I don’t care enough about who wins in the Olympics to sweat about real time viewings. Further, I’m really good at missing information including competition results. I mean, I had no idea the Dark Knight Rises came out until 3 days after. If you can’t tell, I’m not pressed about much not involving the following three letters: N.F.L.
I think that many fellow Americans share my enthusiastic ambivalence when it comes to the Olympics. That’s why I think it’s fine that NBC chose to save big events for prime time when most of America isn’t out running errands or being at work. The live streams should be better accessible and this will be a learning experience for NBC as people have complained about having to put in log in information into live streams in order to watch. And when they were finally successful it was choppy. I should correct my previous statement–it’s not just a learning experience for NBC it’s a learning experience for everybody.
Other countries, including the U.K and Canada, have told people to stop tweeting and texting so much because it affects the network which can take down or reduce the quality of both live streams and television feeds (including the ability for commentators to get updates to announce to viewers). As far as we’ve come with technology there is still a ways to go as technology tries to catch up with modern expectations. So yeah, you can easily stream a football game since the NFL treats football footage like thousand year old torahs, but the Olympics is a different animal.
Speaking of expectations, Americans and the feeling that they’re entitled to see everything as it’s happening has been annoying. There seems to be not one bit of understanding for the massive undertaking it is to air these events. This isn’t satellite vs. cable–it’s multiple stations trying to work together to serve disparate audiences with stretched networks. In 4 years broadcasters from around the globe will have a better sense of what can be expected and what is doable and not doable and ways to compensate for the latter. The complaints are helpful to that but also somewhat unfair.
My personal biggest gripe with Olympic coverage is with the (lack of) schedule details. For example, I’ve been dying to see the weight lifter Holly Mangold (sister of NY Jets OL Nick Mangold). I turn on MSNBC at 1:30 for weight lifting per NBC’s schedule not knowing if it’s female weight lighting and not knowing the weight class. It turns out it was the womens’ turn but it was the under 128lb competition which, of course, Mangold would not be in since she’s well over 300lbs.
I don’t know whose fault this is that the schedules aren’t more detailed but it has been pretty annoying. As has the some of the decisions they’ve made to cut in and out of events. It must be done but maybe not quite so choppily. It seems NBC’s coverage needs direction.
I definitely won’t tweet that cause I wouldn’t want my account to get suspended. WOW Twitter. What a joke.