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Will NBC Be Forced To Rethink Olympic Coverage?

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  • Will NBC Be Forced To Rethink Olympic Coverage?

    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?news ... 2905&rfi=6


    Column is about Torino, of course, but if they do have to rethink, is it possible that the Beijing coverage (of track!) could be improved?

  • #2
    Something not mentioned here, but is a definite fact that is discussed on other forums and will eventually affect everyone: NBC, of all of the major networks, has by far the worst high-definition system used in sporting events. The pixelization and motion artifacts have me barely watching this stuff. Of course for the summer games I would watch T&F no matter what, but I am barely keeping up with these games because the picture is so marginal. The best thing that can be said for it is that it is better than last summers WC on OLN, and that is not saying too much.

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    • #3
      I think its another issue entirely. How can they expect to get interest in the Olympics when they only show the events once every four years? Mass audience events need name recognition. How many here can name the US's 6 gold medaliest so far? And even if you can, did you hear about them before a week ago?

      NBC coverage will always be bad until they cover the Olympics sports on a yearly bases, with multiple events being covered. Would Bonds, MacGwire, Banks, Marino, Dr. J, Ewing, etc.. be legends if they only showed the championship games?

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      • #4
        I'm sure the fact that they've been beaten in the ratings by American Idol is getting their attention. More on this at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/sport ... ref=slogin

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        • #5
          The only way to beat American Idols would be with somethng even dumber, so of course the OG are behind in the ratings..

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          • #6
            It's not just American Idol; the otheer networks are fighting back this time:

            http://edition.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/ ... index.html

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            • #7
              The ratings for Olympic coverage have traditionally been dictated by how many women they can plant in front of the TV to watch sports such as Figure Skating, Gymnastics and perhaps Diving. With a show such as American Idol....a show which is particularly popular with women if my workplace, neighborhood place and famly place is any barometer...as an option for women it is not surprising that AI would beat the Olympics in the ratings. Like traditional Olympic coverage of 'up close and personal', AI also stresses the 'getting to know you' style of presentation that women seem to enjoy.

              On the male side, in this age of multiple sports channels which give men options other than sitting in front of the TV with wife, girlfriend or daughter watching Figure Skating, it is pretty easy for them to come up with a sports option they are more accustomed to.

              Throw in the fact that results are readily available on the internet and other TV stations and people are more accustomed to getting their information in this fashion (unlike 1998) and it likely cuts down the audience even more.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jnathletics
                I think its another issue entirely. How can they expect to get interest in the Olympics when they only show the events once every four years?
                Good point and when those events are shown on television (such as indoor track & field) it's shown on "B" networks at times when most of America is either sleeping or watching another hig-profile event, such as the Super Bowl.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bad hammy
                  Something not mentioned here, but is a definite fact that is discussed on other forums and will eventually affect everyone: NBC, of all of the major networks, has by far the worst high-definition system used in sporting events.
                  I noticed the same thing on my HD set. It's like watching streaming video on your personal computer.

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                  • #10
                    ???? My picture is utterly fabulous; partially a function of one's set and cable provider perhaps? I do note that the hi-def runs a couple of seconds behind the regular broadcast, which means having set on in two diff rooms (if you only have a single HD set) doesnt' work really well.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gh
                      ???? My picture is utterly fabulous; partially a function of one's set and cable provider perhaps? I do note that the hi-def runs a couple of seconds behind the regular broadcast, which means having set on in two diff rooms (if you only have a single HD set) doesnt' work really well.
                      Maybe it is time for you to get new glasses?? :wink:

                      My house has a direct line of sight to KNTV's broadcast tower, so this is over the air, not cable or dish. Other NBC HD programming looks great, but not sports. Head over to any AV forum and look around - this is a well known and discussed problem with NBC sports.

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                      • #12
                        In part, of course, NBC's problem may be that the Winter Olympics are full of events no one cares about, athletes no one has heard of, and way too many commercials and related nonsense. A modest proposal: let's have the Olympics once every 20 years: that way few people would ever get sick of them. :twisted:

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                        • #13
                          NBC is currently the weak network, so the Olympics are facing tougher programming competition from the other networks - when NBC was on top, they'd preempt the best programming competition. Also, the other networks are no longer simply playing re-runs against them.

                          One other fact - the cable Olympic coverage while not in the same time slots as the NBC coverage probably diminishes the NBC ratings a bit because a person can get their Olympic fix almost any hour of the day or night. It makes the NBC coverage less "must see."

                          I do agree that live beats taped. I hope we'll see lots of live stuff in 2008 - at least on the weekends.

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                          • #14
                            I watched a little of the figure skating last night and thought the tv presentation was weak. They had four people in the booth, two of them prior OG Gold guys, and nobody even attempted a coherent commentary on the technical aspects of what is a very technical event.

                            I should disclose at the outset that I am among those who think that any activity that is scored strictly on style is not a sport, so there goes gymnastics, diving, figure skating, synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and perhaps other "sports" that, unfortunately, have one thing in common. They are considered very telegenic. They are therefore going to be an important part of the OG as long as the lion's share of the IOC's revenue is derived directly or indirectly from TV.

                            OK, moving on. If a sport like figure skating has any legitimacy, it's got to be based on a scoring system that, when applied by honest experts, reduces the purely subjective elements of judging (and thus also the potential for poltical manipulation). I gather that the figure skating people have recognized this and have tried to come up with a system that addresses that concern. Part of that system naturally involves an evaluation of how well certain elements are executed. And that is where NBC flopped on the ice.

                            What makes one triple axel better than another? Especially given the fact that the whole thing was on tape, it would have been easy to show a triple axel or a double thigamajig in slo motion, pointing out what made a particular skater's execution good, bad, or indifferent. Instead what we saw was just breathless narration naming the jumps, but not saying anything intelligent about them. (Wow, a triple axel and then a double toe loop. Nice!). Other than when a skater fell down, it was not possible for any casual viewer to understand what might be causing a competitor to lose points. Nor was there any attempt to explain why a competitor was gaining points, other than to take on faith the fact that if Dick Button or Scott Hamilton thought the performance was good, it must be so. Not able to figure out what was really going on out there, I got bored and left the tv.

                            But of course, I don't matter. I'm not a woman and I'm not in the age demographic that seems to matter most to the suits who decide how the Olympics should be presented to USAnians who aren't in Turin. They may be right in concluding that an overly technical approach to such things would turn people off. I have a gut feeling, though, that they may be wrong because, although some people might not want to see a jump analyzed in slo-mo, many others would have their appreciation of the sport enhanced by that analysis. In the long run, that could in turn enhance the viewership not only of the OG, but also of non-Olympic telecasts of the same sport. But how many corporate decisions are made these days with the long run in mind? Not many.

                            No biggie. People will watch what they want to watch. I don't expect to watch much more, if any, of the Winter Games. I've got plenty of better things to do. If it matters, watching American Idol isn't one of them.

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                            • #15
                              there is no question figure skaters are athletes. there is also no question that subjectively judged sports have a huge downside in putting in the fix. that includes boxing, so i am not just a winter olympics basher. if i cared, i suppose i could get an explanation why the pairs skater who took a spill so big they could not continue immediately got a do-over and received the silver medal. i thought getting up and catching up to the music was part of the deal and if you got hurt, well, that happens in sports. i hasten to add that i saw it on sportscenter, since i refuse to watch most of that made-for-tv, barely-known bunch of junk from italy.

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