By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 4.4.2017
NBC Sports announced last week that the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea will be not be taped delayed. That’s right, you can watch curling live on the East Coast and the West Coast at the same time. Of course primetime television in America means that it’s early morning and the next day in South Korea which is 14 hours ahead of New York, so take it with a grain of salt. The bigger question is, what took them so long?
It’s pretty sad that we have to be excited about the Olympics being live on the East Coast and West Coast simultaneously. It is 2017 after all. According to Jim Bell, President of NBC Olympics Production and Programming, “That means social media won’t be ahead of the action in any time zone, and as a result, none of our viewers will have to wait for anything. This is exciting news for the audience, the advertisers, and our affiliates alike.”
This is almost comical. A publicly traded company (NBC is owned by Comcast) is actually pointing out that ‘none of our viewers will have to wait for anything’ in a press release in the age of Netflix, Amazon Prime and content on demand on just about every device under the sun.
So what took so long?
Look, it’s TV folks brought up in a TV world. NBC and it’s parent company Comcast make their money with cable subscriptions and ad revenue which means that they will do whatever they can to protect this. In this case a decline in viewership and increase in ‘cord cutters’ means that they have to cave and finally give the audience what it wants which is the Olympics live from coast to coast.
It’s also a fact that NBC wouldn’t be doing this if social media didn’t let everyone know the results of events that were being tape delayed in Rio. This mistake, which resulted in a 17% decline between the Rio games and the London games, shouldn’t have been a surprise but it apparently was to NBC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It’s pretty mind blowing that NBC didn’t see that coming.
Will the Olympics being live in America be a major deal? It shouldn’t but it’s pretty much a guarantee that NBC will advertise the bejesus out of the fact. But in all seriousness, the Olympics will be in 2018 and they are just now being shown live coast to coast? I guess it’s NBC’s way of making America great again.