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NBC: A Gold Medal for Cluelessness

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on August 18, 2008

As on old-media guy myself when I’m not blogging or podcasting, I tend to bristle when bloggers treat mainstream media as some sort of all-purpose curse word. But I have to say that NBC’s silly dismissal of the Web during the Olympics makes the MSM-bashers look awful good.

To me, the most amazing event of the Beijing Olympics was the record-shattering victory of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in the 100 m sprint. Video of the race—it lasts less than 10 seconds—is widely available on the Web. But the best you can get on is a still photo. And don’t think about YouTube either—Bolt videos are being taken down, apparently at the demand of NBC Universal, as fast as they go up.

I thought for a brief moment that NBC had allowed some actual news to penetrate the calculated staleness of when a search turned up the headline: “Bolt strikes again, sets 200m mark.” But, alas, it was a report of Bolt’s month-old victory at an Olympic warmup meet in Athens.

Reader Comments


August 20, 2008 5:18 PM

Agreed. This mixed with their delayed/live shenanigans and I'm definitely fed up. What can we do?

Kawika Holbrook

August 20, 2008 7:51 PM

Stephen, I was searching for the same video. NBC seems to be playing its video cards too close to its chest. Why not put everything up after they air? Why not make them embeddable on any site with a quick ad? Why now sell a daily Sports Center-like recap show on iTunes for two bucks? So many opportunities to engage us. So much fear.

Craig Ritchie

August 21, 2008 10:57 AM

I want on-demand access to every event. People will pay for it. But, it's not there yet. And, how can we argue their decision when we look at the ratings they're pulling in. On the up side, there are a lot of better marketing strategies and user-generated memes out there for the Olympics. I blogged about them here:

Geof S.

August 21, 2008 2:17 PM

This is not the only problem with their coverage. Not everyone can stay-up until midnight to watch the preferred events -- gymnastics, beach volley ball. I was so aggravated with the first 45 minutes last night being dedicated to platform diving, that I watched a movie instead. Also, give us clue when we can watch a tape-delayed broadcast of the men's basketball team or the women's soccer final. I shouldn't have to dig to find-out if/when they are on. They've ruined the Olympics with their coverage.

Rob Hof

August 21, 2008 2:27 PM

I completely agree with Geof S. I've missed hours and hours of Olympic coverage because I simply can't stay up late for the TAPE-DELAYED video. What's up with that? Why not offer prime coverage in prime time, especially since it's being shown on the East Coast during West Coast prime time? (And no, I don't really want to watch just highlights on my PC, thank you very much.) If I were an advertiser, I'd be screaming. As it is, the only thing I can do to watch the best stuff is Tivo it, watch a bit of it the next day and--of course--fast-forward through the ads. Unbelievable.

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