Much has been made about NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics. There are articles on both sides of the debate: love it or hate it. I fall in the middle, with a ‘brilliant’ clause which I’ll explain later. However, if Twitter is your barometer, then you would believe most everyone despised the Peacock’s presentation of the Games.
But Twitter is a dangerous, slippery-slope to use as ‘thee’ gauge of public sentiment. Sure, it’s spot-on at times. However, it is not the one-size-fits-all instrument to accurately calculate every single topic in the social zeitgeist.
I believe what NBC did is bigger than the London Olympics. I know what you’re thinking, “Really?” and I feel ya’ on that one, but stick with me.
I’ve been involved with network broadcasts of some sort or another for most of my 25 years on television as an on-camera talent n’ host and producer. I’ve seen behind the scenes at the Olympics, Super Bowls, four World Series, the Pope’s historic mass in Central Park, too many Oscars to count…you get the picture. I’ve been in front of the camera at all of them, too.
All of those pale in comparison to THIS Olympics broadcast by NBC. What NBC accomplished, not in prime-time, cuz that was old school Olympics broadcasting, but on-line/live streaming/social is groundbreaking AND will change, from now on, how you are presented content. Espesh live content. Most networks couldn’t figure it out for years, both cable and over the air. It was a ‘super-sized’ conundrum.
What NBC learned is what Conan learned once he left NBC (and what he was trying to convince NBC of when he nanoseconded the Tonight Show gig) and went to TBS. If you give your audience worthwhile content on-line AHEAD of that evening’s taped airing of it, THEY WILL STILL SIT DOWN AND WATCH that evening, already knowing the outcome.
If I heard Usain Bolt set a world record via twitter or a small highlight PUSHED to me via NBC, I’m tuning in at night to get the full-meal deal.
Conan found that out at Turner when they would PUSH content socially of something they were doing that night on his show and that turned into those recipients tuning in to watch.
In the live sports arena, live sports were not cannibalized. Every which way they were presented and re-presented worked.
Mary McNamara wrote a wonderful article in the LA TIMES today (which I’ve included here) where she says about NBC’s efforts “But the shortcomings of craft are not as important as the long-term implications of intent: to give the viewers the best of both worlds.”
Which I believe is what NBC did. (Save for questionable producer decisions in both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, ugh!)
However, the number one, most important element in all of this is still: QUALITY of content.
If I heard via Twitter or a video PUSH from NBC that Korea’s Kim Jang-Mi set a new world record as he won the Gold in Pistol Shooting, I probably wouldn’t sit to watch it at night.
However, seeing the USA Men’s Basketball team lock-arms as they step up to the podium to receive their Gold Medals in prime-time, even tho’ I saw it live hours earlier, was almost sweeter the second time ’round. I was notified of the live event via Twitter and I came back for more.
And now I want more, all the time, not just for 16-days every two years.
(LA Times Link: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-critics-notebook-olympics-20120813,0,7386914.story )