Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Debate

Do you agree with NBC’s decision to tape delay events at the London 2012 Olympics in order to show them in primetime? (Current sidebar vote is all tied up!)

Kevin Rossi
This is probably the biggest debate that there has been in a while which makes sense since the Olympics are the biggest sporting event that we have had in a while.  Many disagree with NBC’s decision to run with tape delays for major events instead of showing them live.  To answer the question for The Debate this week, I think we all have to take our biases towards social media out of our minds for a second.  Most of us rely on social media for all of our news, but to the dismay of many of us, a lot of people do not.  They wait for the paper, they wait for their friends to email them, and yes, believe it or not they wait for the Olympics on tape delay (*gasp*).  A big point here is that it isn’t as if NBC is seeing terrible ratings for their primetime events.  NBC is seeing record ratings, consistently in the 20s, which is right around a solid NFL Playoff game.  They aren’t spinning into a black hole with their decision.  Even if people know the winners, I’m sure that a good amount still tune in (that would be interesting research to see).  Even if that number is 50/50, that is good for NBC.  I think that those of us who rely heavily on social media tend to grossly overestimate how much others rely on it.  With that said, there are still a lot of people going into the primetime showing with no knowledge of the winners (sure NBC has jeopardized that with their promos and they have issued statements saying that the issue will be addressed).  I know, it’s crazy.  

A big reason that NBC uses the tape delay is for the advertisers.  It is much less risky to show the events in primetime; think about it.  If NBC showed the big medal contests during the day when they are run, who knows how many people would turn away from their work to watch.  You could ask how many people would watch in primetime after they know the results, but we know that answer.  It’s tried and true.  NBC needs to be able to guarantee some kind of consistency for for their advertisers to spend the money (about $1 BILLION in total for the London 2012 Games).  With that kind of money being tossed around, NBC cannot play it risky.  They will take the PR hit in the short run while making their advertisers happy.  If you’re not happy about the commercialization of the Olympics, then you’ve been hanging out on some mystery island somewhere with Tupac Shakur (except you’ve been there since about 1984).

Seth Breeden
Yes, I disagree with NBC’s decision to tape delay events at the London 2012 Olympics in order to air them in primetime.

Personally, I find that I have very little interest in watching events of which I already know the outcome. I don’t find much joy or entertainment in doing so. I already know what’s going to happen, so why watch? I don’t watch the Olympics because I think swimming looks cool. I watch events because I have a desire to see who wins; to learn of the outcomes as soon as I possibly can. Watching an event after I already know the results is just a waste of my time. Instead, I can be doing what I enjoy doing most...following events and sporting news live.

For someone like myself (someone who avidly follows sports and is a heavy user of social media), it is nearly impossible to avoid learning of the event results before having a chance to watch it during primetime. Also, just because NBC wants to delay the general public from consuming the Olympics doesn’t mean that other media outlets, such as ESPN, are going to stop reporting live news (I mean, that’s kind of exactly what they do...why would they stop?).

So, thanks NBC, for nothing.

Drew Rosen
The NBC tape delays have come under much scrutiny during the 2012 London Olympics. With the world of social media, the world is connected like it has never been before. The negative with a world that allows information to be spread at incredible speeds, is sometimes (rarely) people do not want to know what happens. This is the case with the Olympics. It is often difficult for fans to sit down and watch an event that they already know the results. For this reason, I am undecided on the debate question.

Although I find it disturbing as a fan not to be able to watch some events live, I understand NBC’s reasoning. If NBC did not reek positive benefits from tape delaying the events, then I would have a problem with them doing it. This is not the case. NBC has received record TV ratings from the tape delays. If fans were so offended and cared so much about the tape delays, they wouldn't watch.

For me this is a debate of my fanhood versus my ability to recognize good sport business. This is terrible for fans but great for business. I would have to say that NBC’s decision to tape delay has been successful.

Bryan Fyalkowski
For once, it is not ESPN’s fault. For the first time in a long time, I have found myself defending the way ESPN covers sports. NBC has been delaying the Olympic events in the United States in order to show them in primetime. Therefore, the general public is frustrated because they find out the results hours before they are able to watch the events on television. After the initial frustration towards NBC, people have taken to blaming other sports outlets for ruining the news, even though they are just doing their job.

Outlets like ESPN, Yahoo! and even Twitter are going to report breaking news, whether it is broadcast on television or not. Times are different than they used to be; people cannot avoid delayed sporting events as they could in the past. You could record a game on VHS or DVR and avoid hearing the news until watching the evening news or reading the newspaper the next morning.

But now, with the emergence of the internet and widespread communication, people can get information almost immediately. In the case of the Olympics, I disagree with what NBC is doing, but I can understand why they are doing it. At the time of the actual events taking place in London, the United States would see the events in the afternoon, during the time of day where television ratings are the lowest in the country.

By showing the events in prime time, even though the majority of the fans know the outcome, NBC has been receiving great ratings. As a sports fan it is tough to face, but it is the correct business decision for the network. Unfortunately for the United States, the world actually does not revolve around our country. Sad but true. We cannot always have it our way and the Olympics has been one instance of that.