Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Olympics in prime-time
Lately, there has been a lot of complaining and consternation about NBC's taping its Winter Olympics coverage for airing in the Pacific time zone. The network has been televising the Games live to the East Coast and parts of the Midwest, but the West Coast gets the A-list events, such as men's and women's figure skating, alpine skiing and short-track speedskating three-hours delayed.
The reaction from the media, viewers and even some advertisers has been negative. There have been letters from readers, columns written by newspaper media critics and phone-callers lamenting about the woes of tape.
But let's look at it realistically. If NBC televised the Games live on the West Coast, the broadcast would start at 5 p.m. In Los Angeles, that is in the middle of rush hour on the freeways. A viewer would have to tape or TIVO the show and probably end up watching it after they got home from work about the same time NBC would show it delayed at 7 or 8 p.m.
There is live coverage of some of the B-list events, such as curling, ice hockey and biathlon on the cable channels CNBC and MSNBC. The terrific ice hockey game between the United States and Canada was televised live last Sunday afternoon on MSNBC. And, the East Coast feed is available on dish networks.
NBC paid millions of dollars for the rights to televise the Games. It could show them at 2 o'clock in the morning if it wanted to. It has been a Winter Olympics which got off to a tragic start, with a few gliches added to the wobble. But Vancouver has rebounded and the competition, and the TV ratings, are a reflection of its good will.

No comments:

Post a Comment