Over the many years that it has broadcast the Olympics, NBC has taken a lot of heat for its practice of holding broadcast of the “glam” competitions — hello beach volleyball! — until prime time, rather than airing them live.
The Reporters Who Cover Television have always turned a deaf ear to NBC’s argument that it needed to broadcast these very popular sporting events in the evening. NBC’s logic: The number of people at liberty to watch TV is much bigger than at, say 2 a.m. or 2 p.m.; the network needs to snag as big an audience as possible for these glam derbies so it can charge as much for ads during these prime-time broadcasts; and charging more means NBC can recoup the crazy stupid money it shells out for the broadcast rights to the Olympics.
Today, NBC gave an inch.
The network announced that it would stream every single event and sport live for the first time ever, on NBCOlympics.com. That’s more than 3,500 programming hours, including the awarding of all 302 medals.
Here’s the catch: Some of the featured competitions (read: glam derbies) will not be archived until after they’ve aired on NBC. So if you don’t get up at 2 a.m. to watch, say, the women’s beach volleyball prelims, you’ll still have to wait until NBC airs it in prime time that night. The choice is now yours.