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NBC Coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics

TV coverage by NBC of the 2010 Winter Olympics

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2010 NBC Winter Ads, now with Olympics

  • Feb 18, 2010
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Winter Olympics... I've heard and read from various sources many arguments as to why the Winter Olympics aren't sports and how they are boring to watch etc etc. I personally like the majority of the events, I enjoy watching competition and watching national teams compete. Granted, there are some competitions that would be better served as a prime time TV show "So you think you can ice skate", and Curling should just replace bowling all together. But this review is not to discuss the competitions but the manner in which the network has decided to show us the Olympics.

The broadcast
Last night while watching my 'recorded earlier version' of the coverage which I also tivo'd, I decided I had enough and would put some hard numbers to my disappointment. Of the 210 Minutes of coverage only 43 minutes were spent showing actual competition, so how was the other 167 minutes spent, Advertising and Talking heads. Don't blame boredom on the Olympics. 

How should it be done
  1. Back stories... take these off the air or put them on before or after the competition airs as a separate tivo-able event. (Barbara Walters sits down with Lindsey Vonn). OR take it offline completely and make the content available via the  website. Then advertise it on the NBC site and in the broadcast. When the athletes are competing bring their profile front and center. 
  2. Competition Brackets... Now that you freed up some time by taking the back story out you can now focus the broadcast on the actual competition and make the build up be about the seedings, show us brackets on screen, make them available online to let people fill them out. Have we learned nothing from the NCAA tourney.  
  3. Let the Competition Run
    Tear a page out of the soccer book... broadcast the event from start to finish and show sponsors on the snow. Combine this with #4 and have halftime breaks where you can sell high dollar Super Bowl ads that people want to watch. 
  4. Break up the Schedule/Programming so I can record all of a specific event
    It would have been nice to set up 'Season Passes' or whatever your DVR calls it, to record all of a specific event like Curling or just Downhill. That way I can watch it from beginning to end and have a better understanding and appreciation for the sport. Combine this with #2 and you might just have people hosting more fun viewing parties.

That's my take, I'm sure I'll come up with more as the competitions continue. As it is, NBC is ruining the Olympic brand.

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February 19, 2010
I'm watching the Winter Olympics (whenever I have the urge, that is, and mostly on ice-skating events) on CCTV 5 in China. In fact, I hardly noticed any ads the last few time I was watching the Pair Skating & Men's Single. So, it's a lot better over at this end of the world. To be frank, i haven't been watching American TVs for awhile but even in the past, ads are a tad too many and I heard you guys didn't even get to watch Olympics 2008 live! That's so ridiculous!
February 19, 2010
Great perspective, this has way higher value than creating a worthless fan page on facebook trashing NBC Here are some thoughts I have. - With regards to the puff profile pieces/docudramas, they should do something similar to HBO 24/7 series and make the months building up to the Olympics about the training and the stories behind the athletes. I would be willing to bet Jeff Zucker his job it would perform better than the weak comedy stylings of Leno. - Agree on letting the competition run, I think we are getting to critical mass on the DVR's, so give the audience the control to watch when they want and show everything live? Hell this would be a perfect vehicle for Hulu and advertisers. Give it to me live on the web, you can continue to run the 2:30 ads when it is live, but you make it that much more interactive????? - Use social media to your advantage and get people involved with twittering who they think will win the race and show the results in realtime during the events. Use the images people are posting to flickr and create 3D photosynth of the stands and venus, put up live cams in staging areas using ustream to show how the athletes are preparing. work with to create a collection of all the music you hear in the background during the snowboarding/mogul events. You get my drift.... - I have read a number of articles about how the host cities of the winter games are getting financially screwed and that less are applying for future games. To solve this problem the IOC should give the host city a cut on all broadcast revenue world wide.
February 19, 2010
Great stuff here, I would be all over the HBO 24/7 run up to the Olympics.
February 19, 2010
Awesome points. I completely agree with recommendations and think they should be implemented in whole or partly by NBC. Especially before the ruin the 2012 games with their horrible manipulation and mutilation. And what is up with Bob Costas' make-up or rather face puddy? He is looking more like a retired figure skater than someone who announces the commercial breaks.
February 19, 2010
The Olympics have been grea,t nice job
February 18, 2010
I never really partake in the watching of the olympics, but if I were to, I would expect to, you know, watch some live sports, not segments of storytellers. Save that for the documentary!  Great review, Jim. Sounds like somebody needs to send this to NBC! ;)
February 18, 2010
great take Jim. you didn't even mention how it's impossible to watch a live event. how strange is that, especially with the numerous NBC channels that are out there. i've been checking them, like CNBC and MSNBC at all hours because i thought they'd be running live events, but all i've seen so are a lot of informercials for workout DVDs like P90X and GetInsanity. btw, i'm going to purchase both because they have convinced me that i need to get ripped.
February 18, 2010
You and MichealN bring up a great point on the Live factor. Again this is where I think they need to take a page from the world cup, it's live when it's live and that's that.
February 18, 2010
How about live sports? Too many of these events are taped. It is annoying to watch an event when you already know the outcome.
February 18, 2010
I completely agree with you!!! Well said! I am all for the 2010 Winter Olympics, but with the coverage NBC is giving us it almost seems like a waste of time watching it. I also agree with Ryan that there is so much focus on the Americans that it seems like they are the only country competing! I would love to know more about athletes from countries around the world. Thanks for the entertaining review and for reading my mind :)
February 18, 2010
I've also noticed that NBC has focused so much on the American athletes I know nothing about the other guys. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Team USA!! but it's getting to be too much.
February 18, 2010
Good point. I'd love to see how this is covered in other countries.
February 18, 2010
It's great to see the breakdown as to how little "competition" is actually broadcast over the Olympics. I half tuned-in the other night in time to catch Commercial Break -> Athlete Warming Up -> Commercial Break -> Athlete Back Story -> Commercial Break -> Athlete Performing -> Commercial Break -> Athlete waiting for their score -> Commercial Break -> Athlete receives score -> Commercial Break -> Athlete talks about their feelings about their score. The Olympics have become a reality show instead of a sporting event. Obviously, NBC feels that this caters to a specific audience, but it's not me. NBC excels at shoddy sports coverage.
February 18, 2010
Ya I think all the commercial breaks are because NBC supposedly lost millions by airing the Olympics. They're trying to break even I guess...
More NBC Coverage of the 2010 Winte... reviews
Quick Tip by . February 18, 2010
One of the most exciting Winter Olympics in a long time and NBC bollocksed it up by focusing on commercials and sensationalism, not sports.
About the reviewer
Jim O. ()
Hello! I'm the head of product at lunch and my passion is to build a product that gives the community tools to learn from others, share experiences & expertise, and promote good conversations … more
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The Olympic Games in Vancouver are being broadcasted worldwide by a number of television broadcasters. As rights for the 2010 games have been packaged with those for the 2012 Summer Olympics, broadcasters will be largely identical for both events.

In the United States, the primary rightsholder is NBC Universal, therefore NBC-affiliated networks will broadcast the Olympic Games.
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