Ah, the dawn of a fresh new day, with lots of exciting Olympics events that we and other Americans won’t be able to watch LIVE because NBC controls the rights and NBC is the network that prevents us from watching the Olympics.
Instead of ranting again about this, however, we’ll just direct some questions to NBC.
As a preface, we should make clear that these are real questions. We don’t know the answers. We can’t understand why NBC would damage its brand and infuriate sports fans from coast to coast by doing this, so we’re really curious about the logic here. We would also be happy to publish the responses.
1. Why do you delay events that are much more exciting to watch live? Presumably the answer here is “money,” but please explain that answer in detail. Please don’t say, “to appeal to a wider audience,” because no one is arguing that you should be prohibited from putting on your big general interest highlight-reel evening shows. We just want to watch the events live, too.
2. Is the evening audience much bigger than it would be if you showed the events live during the day? How much bigger? Wouldn’t you be able to make up the difference by showing the event live on one of your other networks during the day and then showing highlights on NBC at night? Wouldn’t you be able to show more targeted advertising (and charge higher CPMs) to audiences for specific events?
3. How much money would you lose (or do you think you would lose) if you showed the events live on a subsidiary network and then showed highlights again in your prime time broadcast? To us, this seems like the best solution. If you did this, sports fans could get their fix, and the “general audience” you’re obviously trying to appeal to in prime time with segments on polar bears can watch the “Olympics Show” you put on every night without wanting to throw their remote controls through the TV.
4. Do you expect people to avoid the news all day until you show the events in primetime, or do you not care that everyone knows who won? Is it really realistic/fair to think that, in the era of Twitter, omnimedia, and email alerts that people will be able to go into media blackouts for 8 hours?
5. Is the decision to show events on tape-delay a relic of the days when the Big Three networks ruled the world? Is there some acknowledgment internally that the world has changed a bit since 1976? Does Dick Ebersol watch the Olympics on 8-hour tape-delayed highlight reels?
6. Do you care that sports fans from coast to coast are furious at you? How do you factor this into your long-term brand-value calculations? We, personally, hate you for this. It’s possible that we’re alone, but based on the feedback we’ve received, we doubt it. That can’t be good for the value of the company, can it? Especially when you make no effort to explain to people like us why you’re doing this.
As an additional question, we doubt that there’s unanimity within NBC on this decision. We imagine, in fact, that there are hundreds of employees who are appalled by NBC’s decision to wreck the Olympics for millions of sports fans, along with its refusal to directly explain to Americans why they may be the only country on earth forced to watch the Olympics on tape delay. If so, we would love to hear from some of the dissenters, as well as from those who can explain the real logic here (because whatever NBC says publicly almost certainly won’t). Thanks in advance. [email protected].
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