The Olympics have begun and many people are dumping on NBC for their coverage. I, not one who wants to miss out on a parade, will give you my two cents on NBC’s coverage.
NBC spent just over $1 billion, that’s billion with a B, to secure the US broadcast rights to the London games. NBC knows that the highest watched events are gymnastics, swimming, and track and field. Guess what, NBC has to recoup the money it spent, once again over $1 billion, to broadcast the games and it does that mainly through advertising. When do advertisers want to show their commercials, when the largest possible audience is available. So in order for NBC to command the greatest amount of money for each commercial (an estimated $1-$1.5 million per 30 second spot), it has to show the most watched events in prime time. Yes London is five hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone, and yes die-hard fans want to see the events live not taped delayed, but you now what NBC does not care. NBC needs to sell ads, it needs viewers to command top dollar for the commercial slots. The average Joe from Blytheville Arkansas doesn’t care that the event is tape delayed, that same average Joe probably only watches swimming or gymnastics once every four years.
The two main gripes I have with NBC’s coverage is 1) the features they do all the time on athletes and 2) the choppy coverage of some of the events. Saturday night I was watching and NBC was showing the US women’s sand volleyball game. When I tuned in, they were in the middle of the second set. Once that set ended NBC, after commercials and Bob Costas, by the way has Bob Costas had some face work done, did a piece on a US swimmer, than they rejoined the volleyball game in the middle of the third set. I wanted to see the whole third set not just the last half of it.
Now I’m a viewer that is mainly interested in just watching the sporting events, I have little interest in Ryan Seacrest telling me what the most popular topic on Twitter was from the opening ceremony or features on the various athletes. Let’s face it, just about every one of those features is similar, the athlete overcoming some difficulty or long odds to get to the Olympics. Nice if you are into that stuff but for me BORING!! Show me more of the sporting events tape delayed or not, I just want action not feel good stories. I know there are a lot of viewers who like the feel good stories on the athletes, but I also know there are a lot of viewers who don’t and I am one who doesn’t. This is one reason NBC has lost me as a viewer of not only the London games, but most of the other previous Olympics. Each Olympic games, I seem to watch fewer and fewer hours and I don’t seem to be out of the loop because the office water cooler talk so far has not been about the Olympics. Well anyway Go Team USA!!
Photo from http://www.london2012.com