The 2012 Summer Games are being hailed as history’s first “Social Olympics.” In an attempt to adapt to this new market, NBC live tweeted the opening ceremony. The interesting thing, of course, is that NBC’s broadcast was delayed. The world’s microbloggers aren’t too happy about it.
The hashtag #NBCFail has been trending in America since the first day of Olympic broadcasting. Most of the outrage focuses on the standard delay that NBC has implemented in order to run the more exciting and noteworthy events during primetime viewing hours, however the introduction of the hashtag has given viewers a platform to complain further.
The truth is, delaying coverage of the Olympic Games is nothing new. In fact, it’s something that’s almost always been done in order to cope with international time zones. Would anyone actually watch Michael Phelps compete if it were aired live at 11 am?
To fully understand the situation, we have to start thinking like advertisers. NBC paid over $1 billion for the exclusive rights to broadcast the Summer Olympics in America. In order to turn a profit on that colossal investment, NBC has to sell air time to advertisers. Those advertisers will pay more money for air time during primetime viewing hours, and even more money if it’s during a highly anticipated event.
NBC’s strategy is to broadcast the competitions with the highest anticipation during the most viewed hours. Doing so raises the price of air time and increases their profits. After all, NBC is a business.
The Bottom Line
So, has all the negative press about NBC’s tape delay hurt their the TV giant’s ratings? It doesn’t look like it. In fact, NBC’s broadcasts are breaking records.
The old saying goes “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Sure, it’s cliché and overused, but maybe there’s some truth to it. New tweets are posted every second with the hashtag #NBCFail, generating a staggering number of conversations. The world is talking about NBC and that, good or bad, is always profitable.
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→ David Pemberton, Editor, Social Media + PR, AREA203 Digital; follow… @Dave_Your_Fave