One of technology’s great gifts is to facilitate complaints. That’s how much of techno-capable American spent its weekend, with the butt of the disgust aimed at the outfit that purchased exclusive rights to air the London Olympics in the United States. A Twitter hashtag, #nbcfail, has been busy chronicling each and every objection.
Some of the gripes are legit, like the way NBC tape-delayed the Opening Ceremonies, the better to push them to prime time. Check out some of the choicest quips in this Storify presentation, but you really don’t have to go much beyond this tweet: @NBCOlympics wouldn’t it be awesome if NBC developed technology that would allow us to watch events “live?”” #OpeningCeremonies
Far more entertaining than the tweets or the ceremonies themselves was NBC’s explanation for delaying the event:
“They are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large primetime audiences that gather together to watch them. We will be providing clips and highlights of each ceremony online so viewers know what to look forward to in primetime on NBC.”
A guess: An earlier draft of that statement was rejected because it wasn’t condescending enough.
And now for a disclosure. I had no problem whatsoever with how NBC handled the Opening Ceremonies. When they started, I was working and wouldn’t have watched, regardless of platform. And when I watched the tape delay at a convenient time on Friday evening, I managed to confirm right away that these ceremonies were a lot like previous Opening Ceremonies, meaning that I didn’t need to waste my time with them.
NBC also came under fire for editing out of its Opening Ceremonies broadcast a performance that paid tribute to, well, there’s some debate about the people or things to which it paid tribute. In place of the performance, NBC ran a Ryan Seacrest-Michael Phelps interview. Everyone on the Internet tells me I should be outraged about this, including Time television critic James Poniewozik:
“Specific or general, a tribute to the missing seems like precisely the most sensitive section of a ceremony to edit out. And besides that, given the stranglehold NBC maintains on content for an event its audience has a massive interest in, why edit anything out? It may have been a long ceremony, as they always are, but there was plenty of time to air the song rather than have Ryan Seacrest interview athletes (which NBC has the rest of the games to do, over and over and over).”
It’s the Olympics. I’ll take an interview with an athlete over a ceremony every time. Good edit.
And while you’re at this editing thing, NBC, please make plans to shrink the Closing Ceremonies as well. One of those three-minute mashup things would be nice.