Photo: NBC Sports
It seems the favourite Olympic sport these days for everyone who didn’t make the actual Olympics is to trash NBC for its horrendous Olympics coverage.There seem to be a litany of complaints, including:
- Tape delay
- Glitchy online streaming
- Obsessive focus on American athletes
- Boring up-close-and-personal docu-essays that interrupt the sports
- Vapid or inappropriate or jingoistic or annoying commentary
- And so on…
Well, you can’t please everyone, but it’s time someone told the truth about NBC’s coverage of these Olympics.
It has been awesome.
How do I know that?
Well, for one thing, I know it from the ratings, which have been spectacular.
But I also know it from observing the change in my own behaviour over the past two weeks.
Normally, I never, ever watch live TV (with the exception of some sports).
For the past two weeks, I have spent just about every night watching live TV.
I already know the results of all the events I care about, of course, because they’re impossible to avoid. But I watch all night anyway.
I don’t just watch the Olympics, of course.
I also work on my laptop. And tweet and email from my phone. And eat. And do all those other things that everyone does while watching TV these days. (It’s more like being in the room with the TV than “watching TV.” And that’s fine–it’s much more productive.)
And that means I don’t have to pay attention to the boring post-event interviews (does anyone ever say anything interesting? Ever?) or the boring up-close-and-personals. I can just use those breaks to focus on work until something interesting comes on.
I also don’t have to listen to the commentary when I don’t feel like it. Or pay attention to the sports I don’t care about. I just keep the TV on until something good comes on.
And that’s the other good thing about NBC’s broadcast. They understand how short my attention span is–especially because I already know the results–so they don’t bore me to death by showing endless events that I don’t care about. And they also don’t waste my time showing me every competitor. Some people may care about seeing every also-ran competitor in every boring event, but I certainly don’t.
And by the way, if NBC only showed the Olympics live, as everyone seems to want them to, I’d never watch them.
Who has time to watch the Olympics during the day? I certainly don’t. I have to work!
(Yes, I realise that what people really want is for NBC to show the Olympics both live AND taped and to show only the events that they’re interested and show all of them and so forth. But come on. You can’t have everything. And you’re seriously suggesting that you can sit there all afternoon at work just watching the Olympics? Can I have your job?)
So, anyway, it seemed time for someone to tell the truth about NBC’s coverage of the Olympics: It’s great. I hate TV, and I’ve done almost nothing with my “leisure time” but watch TV for the past two weeks. So, they’re obviously getting something right.