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NBC needs to be pushed to show opening ceremony live!


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In 1994, CBS would broadcast its cheesy morning infotainment show live from Lillehammer. Of course, morning in the USA = afternoon in Europe, so there was plenty of action going on at the time - but CBS would just pretend nothing was happening, just so they could tape delay everything and show it a dozen hours later in prime time. There was one exception - when Dan Jansen was about to win his long-sought-after gold medal. They broke into the cheesy morning show to report his victory (they didn't show the actual race, mind you). Torture to an Olympics fanatic!

Exactly. CBS's daytime show from all 3 of the Olympics they covered in the 90s was essentially just their morning show on site at the Olympics. Essentially it's exactly what the Today Show is now.. all interviews and features, no actual competition coverage. And because David Letterman practically held the network hostage in 1998 since he wanted his show to go off on time, CBS made little effort to show anything live in primetime after the Opening Ceremony. So yes, for all the flack NBC gets about their coverage, CBS was absolutely as bad, if not worse in that regard.

I mean you got livestreaming now, social media, DVDs afterwards, etc,etc. -- what else do you guys want?

That's just it though.. NBC is specifically NOT live streaming the ceremonies (after their pitch made it sound like they were) even though everything else is. Where NBC has said they're offering everything live, I would think that 'everything' would include the Opening Ceremony, at least online like the rest of the competition.

(That said, I'm still not convinced that showing the OC live would erode primetime viewership. Clearly NBC is convinced, though.)

IMO, it would because if you show it live and then show it in primetime, what's in primetime is essentially a re-run. It would be 1 thing to show it live online (which I'm really pissed is not happening) because that's a different medium, but you're not going to show it at 4pm ET/1pm ET on NBC and you're sure as hell not going to show it on a cable net without losing a big chunk of your audience.

Well, there are angry complaints and controversy stateside too, every time the Games come around. Doesn't make a difference. NBC is bankrolling the Games, and the IOC obviously doesn't care if it shows the OC live or not, so the decision is totally up to NBC. NBC is more than happy to offend and upset people who want to watch it live - because they are going to tune in at prime time anyway. My point is that, if the Nine Network was risking hundreds of millions of dollars on a single quadrennial veent, their commercial calculations might be a bit different.

I will concede though that the average Australian Olympics viewer is more sports-savvy and sophisticated than the average American Olympics viewer! (And I'm glad for that. I was traveling down under in 2004 during the Athens Games, and was thrilled with the opportunity to get up at 3 am to watch the OC) :)

That's the point I always make.. angry people who still tune in are making a baseless complaint. It would be like going to a restaurant, telling the chef his food is horrible, and then continuing to come back for more. And the other big difference with the United States is we have a steady stream of sports throughout the year, including baseball which is an every night sport. So it takes more to attract attention to the Olympics, as opposed to in a country like Australia which follows many Olympic sports (most notably swimming) a lot more closely than we do. And yes, they'll be more willing to reset their schedules moreso than folks here ever would be, even with Michael Phelps in the pool.

I flew into Seattle on Jet Blue during the OC. It was shown live on NBC's New York station, which is broadcast during the flight. So I wanted the games live, landed, checked into a hotel, then got to see much of it again on tape delay. Weird.

Personaly, I'm willing to give NBC some credit. They are putting a ton of stuff out there. If they one thing they are missing is the OC live, I'll gladly take it.

That's the thing.. they've gotten criticized up and down at every Olympics, but they've improved by leaps and bounds since Beijing. The line is always that Canada gets everything live, so why can't we. Ya know what.. that gap has grown a lot smaller because we do get all the live streaming online plus there's a lot more live coverage for this Olympics than there's ever been before, including for Athens. So aside from the ceremonies, it's a huge step in the right direction.

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That argument relies on theory that, if you show it live, you will then erode the viewership for the primetime broadcast. I'm just not convinced on that. Of course, if you show it twice, some people who watched it live would not tune in again to the primetime show. But why should that matter to advertisers? They just want eyeballs; they don't care what time of day those eyeballs are looking at their ad. I fail to see how showing the ceremony twice adds up to fewer viewers overall than showing the ceremony only once during prime time.

Here's the thing though.. look at the bigger picture. Does it make more sense to broadcast the Opening Ceremony twice (I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch it again) or showing it once and using those other 4 hours for original programming? Even if the 2 broadcasts adds up to the same number of viewers as showing it once, you can't discount the programming that would get shown earlier. That counts for something too. That's why it would be stupid for NBC to show a big event like a swim final live and then repeat it at night. Why show it twice when there's plenty of good content out there that you'd be cutting out.

And I'm no expert on advertising, but I'd imagine the primetime audience is worth more than the audience in the middle of the afternoon seeing that most of them are likely not the highly educated big earners you get later in the evening. Demographics do make a difference.

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Question:

Will people in the USA be able to watch the opening ceremony live stream on computer? If so, what are the websites to do so? I guess I'm just confused by this all...I want my family to be able to watch this live WHILE I'm THERE!!!!

Thanks so much.

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Question:

Will people in the USA be able to watch the opening ceremony live stream on computer? If so, what are the websites to do so? I guess I'm just confused by this all...I want my family to be able to watch this live WHILE I'm THERE!!!!

Thanks so much.

If I may offer some advice. Come back here on Friday, right about the time the Ceremony starts in London, I am sure you will find links for live-streaming here ...which would also hopefully be working on that day.

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Question:

Will people in the USA be able to watch the opening ceremony live stream on computer? If so, what are the websites to do so? I guess I'm just confused by this all...I want my family to be able to watch this live WHILE I'm THERE!!!!

Thanks so much.

NBC is not live streaming the Opening Ceremony, so no, you can't watch it (at least not by any official means anyway)

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Thanks so much.

I'll send this link to my brothers...so perhaps they can watch it somewhere streaming...I'm actually going to be AT the opening ceremonies and I wanted my brothers to be able to watch it with me there so I can chat with them...

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Here's the thing though.. look at the bigger picture. Does it make more sense to broadcast the Opening Ceremony twice (I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch it again) or showing it once and using those other 4 hours for original programming? Even if the 2 broadcasts adds up to the same number of viewers as showing it once, you can't discount the programming that would get shown earlier. That counts for something too. That's why it would be stupid for NBC to show a big event like a swim final live and then repeat it at night. Why show it twice when there's plenty of good content out there that you'd be cutting out.

And I'm no expert on advertising, but I'd imagine the primetime audience is worth more than the audience in the middle of the afternoon seeing that most of them are likely not the highly educated big earners you get later in the evening. Demographics do make a difference.

I think you're overestimating the value of the alternative "original" programming that would be shown during the time the OC is actually going on. For example, from 3-6pm on Friday afternoon, MSNBC is showing political talk shows like Martin Bashir and Chris Matthews. I don't know exactly what kind of ratings they get for those afternoon shows, but I dare say it would be a tiny fraction of the combined total audience for an Olympics opening ceremony.

And yes, the typical primetime viewer is more attractive to advertisers. But again, that only matters if the audience-erosion theory (as I have come to call it) is true. If I, a well-educated male aged 25-34, choose to watch the live broadcast but skip the tape-delayed primetime show, then the advertisers (at least in theory) shouldn't mind one bit, as long as I get to see their ad.

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I think you're overestimating the value of the alternative "original" programming that would be shown during the time the OC is actually going on. For example, from 3-6pm on Friday afternoon, MSNBC is showing political talk shows like Martin Bashir and Chris Matthews. I don't know exactly what kind of ratings they get for those afternoon shows, but I dare say it would be a tiny fraction of the combined total audience for an Olympics opening ceremony.

And yes, the typical primetime viewer is more attractive to advertisers. But again, that only matters if the audience-erosion theory (as I have come to call it) is true. If I, a well-educated male aged 25-34, choose to watch the live broadcast but skip the tape-delayed primetime show, then the advertisers (at least in theory) shouldn't mind one bit, as long as I get to see their ad.

You still need to look at the sum total though. If you split the Opening Ceremony audience into 2 (do you really think NBC after paying well over a billion dollars for the rights to London that they're going to put 1 of the biggest events they have on cable?), you're still losing whatever programming is getting killed from there. Yes, showing the Opening Ceremony live on MSNBC would do better than their usual political programming. But what's going to draw more total viewers.. the Opening Ceremony on MSNBC plus the Opening Ceremony re-run on NBC? Or the Opening Ceremony shown once on NBC plus whatever MSNBC would normally run in the afternoon. Advertisers are going to want some bang for their buck. They want to hear that 30 million people are going to be watching in primetime because that's probably going to be worth more money than, say, 10 million and 20 million. And again, it's a matter of showing in primetime what essentially amounts to a rerun. That's going to scare away potential advertisers from paying the big bucks that they might otherwise pay for a first-run Opening Ceremony, even if it's on delay (and I still argue it's the biggest misconception out there that viewers won't watch something after it's happened, especially something that's not results-oriented like the OC).

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If you split the Opening Ceremony audience into 2 ..., you're still losing whatever programming is getting killed from there.

Right, they'll be losing a few hours' worth of ads on Martin Bashir or Chris Matthews or the like. Not a huge loss, IMO.

But what's going to draw more total viewers.. the Opening Ceremony on MSNBC plus the Opening Ceremony re-run on NBC? Or the Opening Ceremony shown once on NBC plus whatever MSNBC would normally run in the afternoon.

Well, that's really the key question, isn't it? I don't know the answer but I don't think it's obvious that Live+Primetime would draw fewer total viewers than PrimetimeOnly. (I'm discounting MSNBC's normal afternoon programming because, again, it's probably just a drop in the bucket compared to any Olympic broadcast.)

In fact, there's a good argument to be made that a live broadcast would generate additional buzz that would increase total viewership in primetime. I remember some media critics suggesting that possibility in Beijing.

They want to hear that 30 million people are going to be watching in primetime because that's probably going to be worth more money than, say, 10 million and 20 million. And again, it's a matter of showing in primetime what essentially amounts to a rerun. That's going to scare away potential advertisers from paying the big bucks that they might otherwise pay for a first-run Opening Ceremony

I'd hope that big-time media buyers are a little more sophisticated than that. "30 million" may sound better than "10 million+20 million" but as any child will tell you, they are exactly the same. The word "re-run" also may sound scary - but numbers don't lie. Advertisers want eyeballs, and they want a particular demographic. What time of day they get those things - or how many times a given program has to be shown in order to get those things - shouldn't matter at all, as long as they are paying the same amount.

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I'll give you a discount. Or get a better deal on the print-eBook combo package, and that includes live streaming of the Sochi-RIo-PyeongChang-Tokyo ceremonies. :D

So you've been won over to the Tokyo camp?

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Only the North American Olympics have been telecast live in the US (some of Squaw Valley). Montreal OC was. I know Lake Placid 1980's OC was live because I had to sequester myself in our conference room when I worked in NYC at around 2:00 pm that Friday, to watch it. And then of course, LA84, Atlanta96 and SLC02 were played live to whichever time zone was appropriate to. I think Calgary opened on a Saturday afternoon.

I mean you got livestreaming now, social media, DVDs afterwards, etc,etc. -- what else do you guys want?

Actually Seoul and Nagano were as well (Friday night here, Saturday morning there). Also Lake Placid was shown twice, once live and once on tape delay that evening.

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Right, they'll be losing a few hours' worth of ads on Martin Bashir or Chris Matthews or the like. Not a huge loss, IMO.

Well, that's really the key question, isn't it? I don't know the answer but I don't think it's obvious that Live+Primetime would draw fewer total viewers than PrimetimeOnly. (I'm discounting MSNBC's normal afternoon programming because, again, it's probably just a drop in the bucket compared to any Olympic broadcast.)

In fact, there's a good argument to be made that a live broadcast would generate additional buzz that would increase total viewership in primetime. I remember some media critics suggesting that possibility in Beijing.

You're still not looking at the sum total though. NBC primetime loses out if they aren't showing a first run promo. MSNBC would be gaining, but what's the net total? Their afternoon programming may be a drop in the bucket, but I don't think it's a foregone conclusion you're gaining either. I do agree somewhat with the buzz argument, but I don't think that's necessarily going to work with something like the Opening Ceremony. It's certainly not going to get people to watch twice. NBC is hoping that you'll watch something in the afternoon online like a swim race and then watch it again when it's on TV in primetime. But that's different than two 4+ hour television broadcasts with a lot of ads, so you can't reduce it to just 1 spot and view that on its own.

I'd hope that big-time media buyers are a little more sophisticated than that. "30 million" may sound better than "10 million+20 million" but as any child will tell you, they are exactly the same. The word "re-run" also may sound scary - but numbers don't lie. Advertisers want eyeballs, and they want a particular demographic. What time of day they get those things - or how many times a given program has to be shown in order to get those things - shouldn't matter at all, as long as they are paying the same amount.

I get what you're saying, but the math isn't that simple. You also have to figure how long these folks are viewing, and that's important when you're talking about an event with literally hundreds of hours of television coverage. 10 million viewers watching 5 hours of coverage is a lot different then 5 million viewers watching 10 hours of coverage.

And in terms of demographics, you're getting your best crop of viewers in primetime, not on a weekday afternoon. If I'm a competing network, I'm not going to put my strongest programming up against the Opening Ceremony. But if that show is on earlier and then being shown again in primetime, now suddenly that primetime show is no longer as appealing as it would be otherwise and you're giving all those people a chance to watch something else. If I'm an advertiser, I want that audience all in 1 place at 1 time, not spread all over the place where there's that much more competition for attention.

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No, they don't. NBC paid over $1.1 billion for the London rights - Nine Network, for example, paid about one-tenth of that. The commercial realities and pressures are much different when you consider that, for NBC, if they don't meet viewership expectations, they could suffer losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

I'm sure the Nine Network shareholders will be relieved to hear that returns on investment aren't important to Nine.

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I'm sure the Nine Network shareholders will be relieved to hear that returns on investment aren't important to Nine.

Obviously returns on investment are important to anyone, smart a$$. But guess what? Having spent one-tenth what NBC spent, they can still turn a pretty nifty profit even if they don't delay the OC until prime time. NBC doesn't have that luxury.

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Obviously returns on investment are important to anyone, smart a$$. But guess what? Having spent one-tenth what NBC spent, they can still turn a pretty nifty profit even if they don't delay the OC until prime time. NBC doesn't have that luxury.

Great attitude. :rolleyes:

The point still stands - live coverage of everything - including ceremonies - is demanded and expected here (and in most oither nations I expect).

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Great attitude. :rolleyes:

Petulant sarcasm is OK but name-calling is out-of-bounds; is that it?

The point still stands - live coverage of everything - including ceremonies - is demanded and expected here (and in most oither nations I expect).

And yet, if Nine Network truly wanted to maximize viewership, they would tape delay the OC until primetime, right? It's almost as if they're not quite desperate enough for ratings and ad revenue that they would be willing to piss off a sizable chunk of the population in order to get the most viewers. And that's where it differs from NBC.

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And yet, if Nine Network truly wanted to maximize viewership, they would tape delay the OC until primetime, right?

Except the public and government wouldn't let them get away with it. Indeed, I think the Olympic OCs definitely are covered by local legislation that they can't be dumped. Sheesh, it sparks heated debate in parliament if broadcasters shift to commercial breaks at the wrong time of live sports coverage.

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Maybe in 2016 America will watch the OC as it happens.

I believe during the Northern summer, 8pm on the East coast of the United States is 9pm in Rio. So that seems reasonable. I'm sure NBC will be up to their old tricks in adjusting start times to suit primetime. Easier said than done since they're typically on the air until after Midnight (which is 1am in Rio), but certainly doable.

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I feel for you guys and hope you get it live.

It's a tradition in Australia to broadcast the Olympic ceremonies live: and part of the ritual is waking up at some weird hour to see what's going on in another part of the world .

Hope NBC reconsiders.

Also in Australia they tend broadcast the ceremony live, and then repeat it at a prime time for those who missed it.

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