5 Ways NBC Ruined the London Olympics for Everyone

The London 2012 Olympics started last Friday with exclusive coverage rights given to NBC for US viewers.  Since they’re the only broadcaster legally allowed to show what’s happening during the event, you’d think that they’d be focused on showing what’s happening during the event, right? The answer is a big, fat “NO”.

Why, you ask?  Well, if you haven’t been tuning in, then you have no clue that most of the programming shown on NBC’s coverage is advertisements.  And if you search for the live stream coverage, you’ll just be pissed off with stuttering videos, clips taking too long to buffer, or videos that won’t load at all.  And if you find videos on YouTube, you won’t likely find it again as many are being pulled, replaced with this message: “This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”

So where did NBC go wrong?  They screwed up a lot of things.  Here are the Top 5 Ways NBC ruined their Olympics coverage.

Too many ads

Yes, we know ads earn them money and without ads we won’t be able to watch anything for free, but seriously?  In a full minute, you’d see more ads than what’s actually happening during the Games.  NBC cut parts of the Game coverage just so they can show ads. The worst part is, even recaps of the Games are ad-packed, replaced with clips of Ryan Seacrest promos.   It’s just frustrating.

Live streaming debacle

A lot of Olympic enthusiasts were irked that NBC’s live streaming turned out to be a waste of time, but NBC stated that people’s devices are to blame.  According to Rick Cordella, vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital Media, extensive troubleshooting suggests that the technical problems might be related to the bandwidth provided by cable operators, or users’ computers or devices.  They also stated that before the Games began, they’d already told people that they can view the live stream via nbcolympics.com just by loggin in with their cable, satellite or telephone company user name and password.  But they forgot to inform viewers that their devices might not be able to play the live stream videos.  If NBC already knew about the incompatibilities, they should have made a test live stream broadcast and turned to users for feedback so all of these live stream issues could’ve been avoided.

Spoiler alert!

Instead of giving viewers a live Olympics broadcast, NBC decided to tape-delay certain events of the Game.  As in, viewers had to watch certain parts hours after it already happened.  Nothing’s really wrong with that unless you give out result spoilers.  And that’s exactly what NBC did.  The Michael Phelps – Ryan Lochte 400-meter individual medley showdown was tape-delayed but NBC Nightly News announced the result of the match even before the tape-delayed broadcast was aired.  Of course viewers were pissed and voiced their concerns on Twitter. (Look for the hashtags #nbcfail and #nbcsucks to get a feel of what people are saying about the NBC coverage.)

Geography, social studies and ethics fail

People all over the world pronounce words differently but we often laugh, cringe, or even roll our eyes at people who pronounce things differently from what is socially accepted.  But when you’re a broadcasting company and your host fail to properly pronounce Olympians names, that’s just sad.  What’s more irritating is when broadcasters make fun names, as  NBC’s The Today Show’s host, Matt Lauer, said: “Djibouti’s name sounds funny!”   Then they commented that Luxembourg was “a small central European country.”  FYI NBC, Luxembourg is in western Europe, not central.

Talking too much

Viewers want to know what’s happening at the Olympics that’s why they’re watching NBC’s coverage, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear the broadcasters’ never-ending comments that are oftentimes unrelated to what’s happening.  And if they kept their mouths shut most of the time then perhaps they would’ve avoided making stupid and useless commentary.  Take Meredith Vieira for instance, who commented, “If you haven’t heard of him, we haven’t either,”  pertaining to Tim Berners-Lee –  the inventor of the world wide web, which the two appears to know nothing about.   Comments like those should’ve have been edited and it questions their credibility as a news source.

If you have more #nbcfail or #nbcsucks comments, or you just want to share your experience watching NBC’s coverage, good or bad, feel free to leave a comment below.  And if you want to decent Olympics coverage, the Canadians have opened their doors for viewers, click here.  Or you can watch the coverage here.