The Wrath of the Internet: NBC and the Olympics
Tape Delayed Opening Ceremony Incurs Negative Attention From All Fronts
7.27.2012—As social media explodes with commentary of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, equally gaining traction is how NBC is flexing its broadcast rights to the games by NOT showing the opening ceremony live. NBC plans to broadcast the event at 7 p.m. EST, five hours after the ceremonies originally began.
NBC’s Olympic Facebook page is seeing the same rise in revulsion to the network’s handling of the opening ceremonies. They posted a graphic boasting over 200k likes for the page. In less than 5 hours after posting, the positive comments for anticipation of the Olympic kick off were a mere fraction of the 270 plus total comments expressing disappointment in NBC’s handling of the opening ceremonies.
NBC later posted a statement on their page, saying that the opening ceremonies are “entertainment spectacles” that is best suited to air on primetime. They precluded that sentiment by reminding Facebook viewers that they are still streaming all 32 sports and 302 medal events live on their NBCOlympics.com page and through their apps. They fail to mention that you can only access these live streams if you provide proof of a cable or satellite subscription which includes CNBC and MSNBC—no cable will only allow you to watch partial clips of those events.
One commenter really hit the nail on the head as to NBC’s huge misstep in its Olympic coverage and clearly displays the shackles of thought that plague Old Media thinking:
Rachel Leyland - “I think someone has grossly underestimated the reach and immediacy of social media here haven’t they NBC?…”
The comment above is the bigger story at hand. Old Media holdouts still try to control the stream of content in an age when they are not the sole viewing window to what is going on in the world.
What NBC fails to realize is that the web, while many rush to monetize and curate it, is a public good which more people have access to every second. The openness of the web has created a culture where people are looking to connect to the content they want, when they want it, and discuss it with the rest of the world. All this, they want in real time. If you aren’t going to provide that, people will find it elsewhere. After they find it, they will tell everyone else how bad you suck at your job.
We’ll see how NBC’s delayed coverage of the ceremony compares to the live feeds that every other broadcaster in the world provided to their viewers. However, if the sports coverage will get delayed and tailored to advertisers instead of the viewership, this is the just the beginning in a gauntlet of negativity via social media.
The Olympics belongs to the world. Treat it as such.