#NBCfail: Why It’s Not A Fail At All

nbc-fail: why its not a fail at allI have to admit, I haven’t really had much of a problem with NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. But I got clued into this #NBCfail phenomenon on Twitter a few days after the opening ceremonies. Apparently this guy, named Guy Adams, a reporter for an independent paper called, creatively enough, the Independent (did George Lucas name the players in this saga?) was so incensed about NBC’s delaying the opening ceremonies that he tweeted continuously about it.

This dude- sorry, I mean Guy, got suspended from Twitter because of a complaint from NBC, and the firestorm was on. Whether Twitter or NBC were wrong to do so is not my topic here. To me, it seems to be Twitter’s fail, not NBC’s. This is about Guy’s complaint (and the complaint of many others) about broadcast delays in the first place.

Now, I’m not one to come to the aid and support of a large company, especially a media company. But getting all irritated because the network waited until you got home from work, got your dinner, grabbed a brew, and put your feet up on the recliner, before showing you a parade of athletes dressed in their nation’s propagandish garb, seems a little obsessive to me. Basically, if Switzerland’s team walked by at 2PM, and people on the west coast of the US didn’t see it until 8PM, so what?

Apparently there’s this notion that the world “shares the experience” better if some of us have to stream it into our cubicle at 10AM, or in the past when the Olympic games were played even further from the western world, at 3AM or something like that.

In this day and age, nothing is live. David Letterman’s monologues are three days old before they air. Big Brother was recorded months before you see it. A movie takes two years to make before it opens, the news is recorded a few hours before airing, and even Saturday Night Live isn’t very much live anymore. Sports events are delayed to make room for easily-scheduled advertisements, and everything you hear on television or radio is at least seven seconds behind real-time, to make sure nobody gets to hear the word “fuck” when the DJ kneecaps himself on the desk.

So now here’s NBC doing what they do best; packaging opening ceremony programming into neat little ad-supported bundles of feel-good milquetoast vignettes, and Guy Adams is calling for revolution.

What’s the point of live television anyway? I guess sports should be as close to live as possible, for the singular reason that people gamble on the outcome, and if some know the outcome before others it gives them an unfair advantage. So did Guy Adams have money riding on whether Switzerland would wear blue hats or red ones as they marched across the field in the opener? I can’t think of another reason for sports to be live, and gambling is illegal where I live anyway (I think). So why would I care if the sports are live?

I guess if I cared whether Michael Phelps beat the other dude (there is supposed to be some kind of rivalry going on I’ve heard), I’d want to see it. But why should that change just because I know the outcome? I know when the New England Patriots play, and I know the outcome before watching the DVR recording, it just makes it easier to watch. And if the beef is that NBC keeps showing advertising and human interest crap, then use your DVR to delay the programming just a little longer, and skip that stuff, too! Beat them at their own game.

Lifehacker even provides a way to get around NBC using the web.

Now, why exactly have I had no problem with NBC’s Olympic coverage? Because I haven’t seen a minute of it. I’ve been watching this (not live, sorry):

Personally, I have waited about 40 years to see an Olympic games, including the opening ceremony, so I think another 6 hours won’t hurt.

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2 thoughts on “#NBCfail: Why It’s Not A Fail At All

  1. Love the pics & vids of the trip you’re on. Katahdin is absolutely gorgeous. I haven’t been there in years, but I remember how majestic it all seemed.

    As for the NBC thing — my only complaints w/ the coverage was that NBC edited out a few things from the opening ceremony that I wish they’d left in, and that Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira & Bob Costas were super annoying doing the voice over.

    Part way through, the ceremony was left so that we could see an interview between Ryan Seacrest & Michael Phelps. HUH? What was that all about? I couldn’t figure out why the interview had been spliced in at such a weird time. Come to find out that what was edited out of the opening ceremony was a tribute to those who were lost in the London Subway bombings a few years ago. WHY? Why was it decided that those of us across the pond wouldn’t want to see that? I have no idea.

    And the voiceovers? “If there was an award for country name that makes you smile, Djibouti would win the gold,” Costas said. “Cameroon would come in second.” Really? The inane stuff coming out of their mouths was annoying and immature at times. I ended up turning it off before they were even 1/2 way through the parade of nations, because I couldn’t stand to listen to their ‘witty banter’ any longer.

    As for this “Guy” and his complaints, I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I thought it was kind of understood that unless the Games take place in our own country, we’re going to see some delay, some edits, something has to give.

    We’ve become an instant gratification society when it comes to just about anything media, and it’s kind of sad really.

    Enjoy Baxter and be safe!! `

    • I love Cameroons! Especially the white chocolate ones with cinnamon. Mmmms.

      But anyway… I usually get to the office gym first, and I make sure to never, ever turn on the television in the gym to whatever channel that turns to the Today Show at 7AM, just in case I’m still there on a treadmill or something. Lauer, Seacrest et al are some of the most insipid morons ever to appear on the screen, and that goes way beyond the Olympics. Not NBC’s fault. I blame their parents.

      I don’t really remember caring enough about the games to watch, but some of what NBC is doing seems unprecedented, like omitting the 7/7 tribute from the opening ceremonies. Not for Seacrest, or for anything, with the possible exception of “The Soviets just launched a bunch of missiles toward the US. Duck and cover.”

      I am now following the #NBCfail hashtag in Tweetdeck, and today they delayed the women’s gymnastics final (I know enough about the Olympics to know that it’s pretty much ALL ABOUT the women’s gymnastics final) even in the live streams, which were blocked or otherwise technically problematic, and then riddled with ads once the embargo ended, DURING THE ROUTINES. That’s not a #NBCfail, that’s #NBCevil.

      NBC seems to think their only audience for the games is the same crowd that rolls in from Nebraska to stand in the NYC street during their Today Show outdoor segments. Anyway, the Track & Field stuff begins tomorrow, after which point I might actually care (I want to see what running looks like dammit!).

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