Friday, August 10, 2012

NBC's Olympic Coverage

Richard Deitsch  of Sports Illustrated had a conversation with NBC chairman Mark Lazarus about his network's coverage of the Olympics, which has been roundly criticized.  I have offered up my criticism of the coverage in this blog.  Specifically of NBC's decision not to air marquee events live on the weekends.  Which is addressed to some extent in the article.  Also, addressed are the problems with the live streams.

Today, I am not here to criticize, but offer suggestions to improve the product.
Mr. Lazarus brings up some salient points in the article.  He is also paid a huge sum of money to make his company profitable.  He is right when he says that there is no way to please everyone.  My opinion is only that, my opinion.  However, I believe showing marquee events live would alleviate more problems than it might create.

First of all, it would satisfy the fans who want to (and are able to) watch the events live.  NBC has access to enough channels to offer the viewer more live events, especially the marquee events.  Since the end of the tennis semifinals, Bravo! has been sitting idly by.

Secondly, showing more events live would help somewhat in the streaming problems.  I realize that there are probably a fair amount of streaming that is done at work where a television is not available, but there surely are many who would be watching on television were it available.

Now to the sticky part of the situation, how to protect the cash prime time cow.  With this being the most streamed and social media immersed Olympics in history, the prime time coverage is still at an all time high thus far.  Maybe, just maybe, that's because more people have heard about or seen a great performance on a small screen and want to see it or see it again on television.  While showing those live as they happen on television will surely cut into some of the prime time viewing, there are more than enough people not able to view live because they have actual jobs to be at that I don't think that number would be significant.

The prime time show would definitely have to undergo some tweaking, but put into the hands of some creative and talented people it might become even more popular than ever.  Much more savvy TV people than I may have the answers, but I do have ideas, as I am sure many others do.

NBC has done a commendable job and has made some changes to accommodate the quickly changing media world.  But unless they are able to  keep up at a more advanced pace, expect the #NBCfail hashtag to continue its presence at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

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