Jump to content

NBC's coverage of the Sochi Olympics


Quaker2001
 Share

Recommended Posts

When he's not covering golf, Dan Hicks is one of their best announcers. I think he's doing skiing for NBC. NBC is doing something a bit different this year as they have added Cris Collinsworth (who's background is in NFL Football) and track analyst Ato Boldon to the team. Collinsworth covered the Beijing Olympics and did a good job at it.


Bob Costas' pink eye worsened. Here's a pic:

Recent photo of Bob Costas' eye problem

He was warned about the water!

At least Costas doesn't have to worry about being a part of the worst NFL Pregame show ever until September. The Olympics and Baseball are his thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Canada and am able to get both NBC and CBC. While I don't get NBCSN so I can't comment on their coverage, I can comment on the way NBC handles the games. I understand the tape delay and putting the big events in prime time to get the biggest ratings. I just don't understand why they don't cover the games like CBC does. They have coverage on their network all day and recap it all in primetime with the biggest stories of the day. I am sure CBC still gets great ratings for their primetime show even with showing events live during the day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Canada and am able to get both NBC and CBC. While I don't get NBCSN so I can't comment on their coverage, I can comment on the way NBC handles the games. I understand the tape delay and putting the big events in prime time to get the biggest ratings. I just don't understand why they don't cover the games like CBC does. They have coverage on their network all day and recap it all in primetime with the biggest stories of the day. I am sure CBC still gets great ratings for their primetime show even with showing events live during the day.

Canada is a country of around 35 million people. That's a fraction of the 314 million people that live in the United States. Not everyone here wants wall to wall Olympic coverage. NBC has their affiliates to worry about (which is different from how things work in Canada). MSNBC and CNBC have their usual slates of daytime programming that aren't always going to be shoved aside for Olympic coverage. It's easier for a Canadian network to hand it's entire schedule over for the Olympics than it is for an American network to do the same. NBCSN does have a 12 hour block each day of what's almost entirely live coverage. MSNBC, CNBC, and USA provide some more. And then there's NBC. That plus live streaming of everything.. no, it's not what they have in Canada, but for me at least, it's sufficient.

For all the bad, at least I think I love Johnny Weir he's pretty funny, and insightful, and I really like him as a commentator. MORE JOHNNY WEIR!!

I'm not that big into figure skating, but the sense I've gotten from people who are is that they prefer the Gannon/Lipinski/Weir team to the crew covering figure skating in primetime.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not buying any of that BS Quaker. Believe it or not, not every single Canadian is a plaid wearing hoser who sits around a tv watching ski jumping, speed skating, etc. all day. We don't drop everything for two weeks every four years to watch the Winter Olympics 24/7. In fact, a large portion of the population here could care less about the Winter Olympics other than the hockey and figure skating. Not everyone here wants wall to wall Olympic coverage either.

I'm sure there are many valid reasons for why NBC's method differs from CBC's, but this is a horrible one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mean to tell me that the NBC affiliates would rather show their Days of Out Lives and Ellen, or whatever syndicated show they have during the day then air olympic coverage. For a national station that bid to air the games, for them to just show a primetime recap of what happened during the day is pretty lame. You would think that a network would want to air as much coverage as possible on the main network. They should do what CBC does and airs the best events that draw ratings on the main network when its live and tell people about the other events on their other channels to draw people to those stations.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For all the bad, at least I think I love Johnny Weir he's pretty funny, and insightful, and I really like him as a commentator. MORE JOHNNY WEIR!!

I'm not that big into figure skating, but the sense I've gotten from people who are is that they prefer the Gannon/Lipinski/Weir team to the crew covering figure skating in primetime.

That commentating team is FANTASTIC!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not that big into figure skating, but the sense I've gotten from people who are is that they prefer the Gannon/Lipinski/Weir team to the crew covering figure skating in primetime.

Eh, I'm more partial to Scott Hamilton myself, mainly because he gets so excited, makes the event sound more epic than it already is.

And I must say, I'm glad NBC brought back the Gold Zone stream online. Was my favorite stream in London.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright, let's give you guys a little history lesson here. Here's what sports illustrated had to say about ABC's coverage of the 1984 Winter Olympics..

Abc: Too Many Hours, Not Enough Moments

ABC aired 63 hours of coverage of that Olympics. And they said it was too many! Imagine what they'd say about 500+ hours of TV coverage. And the other comment of note was "ABC's basic miscalculation was that American viewers in '84 would lap up videotape as happily as they did during the Innsbruck Games of '76, the last time the network aired a canned Olympics. Truth is, the old formulas don't work anymore. The nature of the business has changed in eight years. Live electronic journalism is the thing, simply because it's there. Show me now. Give me the results instantly." As if they know what "instantly" was back in 1984. I know what they do in Canada is coverage of the Olympics pretty much all day, every day. That's not necessarily the way to go here. olympicsfan97, I love the Canadian stereotype of plaid wearing hosers, but relative to your population, there are a lot more people watching the Olympics than there are here. And you say you "don't drop everything for two weeks" yet your national sport DOES shut down the the Olympics. Your other national sport is also in the Olympics. Do you have an entire league of basketball, college basketball, and NASCAR going on now? Probably not. More on this in a sec though.

Here's another history, from the 1984 Summer Olympics.. ABC's Summer Olympics Will Not Bump Soaps

ABC originally planned on having coverage all day every day. They wound up reversing course and cutting out some Olympic coverage to, yes, show soap operas. They feared those viewers would leave and might not come back.

I know this is 30 years ago I'm referencing here, but there are some lessons from these examples that still apply today. The Olympics are only 2 1/2 weeks long. NBC (who hasn't exactly won a lot of nights in the ratings lately) has to look at the bigger picture here. They're trying to generate the most revenue they can. Funneling viewers into primetime seems to be the way to go there. Yes, it's an old formula, but it's one that does still work, despite those who seem to believe NBC has to change "or else."

For this Olympics, there's NBCSN with live coverage through the overnight and morning hours. That wasn't there before. Online streaming of every competition. That wasn't there before. That's how you satisfy the die-hard fans and still preserve your primetime audience. jrb, in case you didn't notice, NBC is showing the best event (that being figure skating) live in the afternoon and then re-airing it on NBC in the evening. Sure, maybe MSNBC would get higher ratings by showing luge, but then you're going to piss off the people who watch MSNBC for their usual slate of political programming (you may think that's BS, but it's true, I've seen comments from people saying they don't want sports on MSNBC). That's the nature of the American TV audience. It's also the nature of the business (and where it differs from Canada), that NBC can't pre-empt an entire day's worth of programming. They protect the Today Show. They won't take the late afternoon/early evening from the affiliates.

As much as everyone wants to get on NBC for their Olympic coverage, imagine the alternative. ESPN? Sure, they'd have everything live, but then they'd have nothing on a weekend afternoon or in the evenings where it would be all college basketball. Not a good formula for Olympic success here. And maybe as a viewer it doesn't look like a success, but if the ratings are there at the ad dollars are flowing in (which they are), the viewer outrage against NBC is acceptable for them if it means profits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely respect all the knowledge and research done by Quaker. That being said, there is a lot of programming on the CBC that is skipped over for the Olympics, and I don't think all Camadians are intent on their favourite shows being missed for sports.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the viewership numbers for Friday night's Opening Ceremony were down a bit vs. Vancouver's 4 years ago.

Aside from it not being a live show, probably didn't help that NBC had a primetime show the night before. So the OC this time around wasn't the start of primetime Olympic coverage like it normally is.

Definitely respect all the knowledge and research done by Quaker. That being said, there is a lot of programming on the CBC that is skipped over for the Olympics, and I don't think all Camadians are intent on their favourite shows being missed for sports.

Well, the other difference is this and it makes a big difference.. in the United States, you have NBC and Comcast with their collection of networks. ESPN/Disney have theirs. Ditto for Fox, and so forth. In Canada, for 2010 and 2012, you had the "Olympic broadcast consortium." This Olympics, when the original CBC/CTV deal fell through, you have CBC partnering with TSN and Sportsnet. So you basically have most of the biggest sports specialty networks involved with Olympic coverage. For years, NBC didn't have an all-sports cable network. Now they have 1, but only 1. It's not like they could involve ESPN or Fox Sports One. If they did, I'm sure we'd see all day Olympic coverage on those networks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good point^. There's been a lot of media consolidation in Canada over the years, which I guess contributes a ton to the extensive coverage. The US does not have the luxury of fewer competitors like Canada does as a result.

However, do you think it's possible that we would ever see a joint bid between say NBC/ESPN or Fox/CBS? Even Turner/CBS?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For years, NBC didn't have an all-sports cable network. Now they have 1, but only 1.

What about Universal Sports?

My figure skating friends are continually moaning about how hard it is to get a reasonable package with Universal Sports, where a lot of the year's figure skating coverage gets shuttled..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good point^. There's been a lot of media consolidation in Canada over the years, which I guess contributes a ton to the extensive coverage. The US does not have the luxury of fewer competitors like Canada does as a result.

However, do you think it's possible that we would ever see a joint bid between say NBC/ESPN or Fox/CBS? Even Turner/CBS?

Doubtful. There's more money in it for 1 network go to at it alone rather than for 2 networks from different companies stepping on each other's toes. The only 2 networks I could see combining forces are CBS and Turner, not so much of their past (and current) partnerships, but because CBS is lacking on the cable side and Turner doesn't have an over-the-air network to offer.

What about Universal Sports?

My figure skating friends are continually moaning about how hard it is to get a reasonable package with Universal Sports, where a lot of the year's figure skating coverage gets shuttled..

This came up during Vancouver.. Universal Sports is only partially owned by NBCU. More than 90% of the network is owned by an unrelated company. So they were never going to get more than the studio-based programming they had last time around. Contrast that with NHL Network, where the 2 owners are the NHL and NBCU. So they're going to have a daily studio show during the Olympics that I believe is going to originate from Sochi.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quaker, now that you brought it up, I remember reading that SI article back in the day, and I also remember hating it when I read it. It's not even worth comparing those times to today. ABC didn't cover cross country, nordic combined, or biathlon then. They barely showed luge and bobsled. Why? Mostly because the US sucked at all of those events. In 1984, the US hockey team didn't make the medal round (in fact, they were putrid that year) and the speed skating team was really weak. Also, it was ABC's practice to never show a speed skating race greater than 1500m (execption for 1980 with Eric Heiden). The only alpine events at the time were downhill, GS, and slalom. The team ski jumping event didn't exist. They actually showed -gasp- hockey in prime time. I also remember them showing Torvill and Dean at least a dozen times in case the 0.001% of viewers following the Olympics hadn't seen it yet. So, I guess 63 hours could seem like an eternity under those circumstances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This came up during Vancouver.. Universal Sports is only partially owned by NBCU. More than 90% of the network is owned by an unrelated company. So they were never going to get more than the studio-based programming they had last time around. Contrast that with NHL Network, where the 2 owners are the NHL and NBCU. So they're going to have a daily studio show during the Olympics that I believe is going to originate from Sochi.

Thanks for that information. Wonder if that helps to explain why it's harder and harder to get that network!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mean to tell me that the NBC affiliates would rather show their Days of Out Lives and Ellen, or whatever syndicated show they have during the day then air olympic coverage. For a national station that bid to air the games, for them to just show a primetime recap of what happened during the day is pretty lame. You would think that a network would want to air as much coverage as possible on the main network. They should do what CBC does and airs the best events that draw ratings on the main network when its live and tell people about the other events on their other channels to draw people to those stations.

Exactly. In this case it wouldn't even really be affiliate time they're eating in too - it they had live dusk till dawn coverage it would begin at 11.35pm ET (9.30am in Sochi) and continue till about 1pm the next day - and they could wrap up earlier if they need to for local news and screen the evening session later in the afternoon in network time, or even hold that back until primetime A three hour wrap up in primetime would still get a decent audience.

Even if they opted not to screen the marquee events live as they happen and hold them back for primetime there is still enough happening for NBC to offer a considerable amount of live coverage overnight and in the mornings.

Alright, let's give you guys a little history lesson here. Here's what sports illustrated had to say about ABC's coverage of the 1984 Winter Olympics..

Abc: Too Many Hours, Not Enough Moments

ABC aired 63 hours of coverage of that Olympics. And they said it was too many! Imagine what they'd say about 500+ hours of TV coverage. And the other comment of note was "ABC's basic miscalculation was that American viewers in '84 would lap up videotape as happily as they did during the Innsbruck Games of '76, the last time the network aired a canned Olympics. Truth is, the old formulas don't work anymore. The nature of the business has changed in eight years. Live electronic journalism is the thing, simply because it's there. Show me now. Give me the results instantly." As if they know what "instantly" was back in 1984. I know what they do in Canada is coverage of the Olympics pretty much all day, every day. That's not necessarily the way to go here. olympicsfan97, I love the Canadian stereotype of plaid wearing hosers, but relative to your population, there are a lot more people watching the Olympics than there are here. And you say you "don't drop everything for two weeks" yet your national sport DOES shut down the the Olympics. Your other national sport is also in the Olympics. Do you have an entire league of basketball, college basketball, and NASCAR going on now? Probably not. More on this in a sec though.

Here's another history, from the 1984 Summer Olympics.. ABC's Summer Olympics Will Not Bump Soaps

ABC originally planned on having coverage all day every day. They wound up reversing course and cutting out some Olympic coverage to, yes, show soap operas. They feared those viewers would leave and might not come back.

The fact you think a 30 year old argument is relevent just shows how wrong NBC's strategy on their main network is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quaker, now that you brought it up, I remember reading that SI article back in the day, and I also remember hating it when I read it. It's not even worth comparing those times to today. ABC didn't cover cross country, nordic combined, or biathlon then. They barely showed luge and bobsled. Why? Mostly because the US sucked at all of those events. In 1984, the US hockey team didn't make the medal round (in fact, they were putrid that year) and the speed skating team was really weak. Also, it was ABC's practice to never show a speed skating race greater than 1500m (execption for 1980 with Eric Heiden). The only alpine events at the time were downhill, GS, and slalom. The team ski jumping event didn't exist. They actually showed -gasp- hockey in prime time. I also remember them showing Torvill and Dean at least a dozen times in case the 0.001% of viewers following the Olympics hadn't seen it yet. So, I guess 63 hours could seem like an eternity under those circumstances.

Well, if you remember the 1984 Winter Olympics (I don't, only bits and pieces of coverage I've seen, plus what I've read, and this article alludes to it), the issue was that weather caused all sorts of issues with the schedule, so that's where ABC got lost because they didn't know how to fill the time.

No doubt 1984 and 2014 are different, just showing those pieces of evidence of how fickle an American television audience is, particularly with an event as wide-ranging as the Olympics. It's almost a compliment to the Olympics that so many people care enough to have such strong appearances. But it also goes to show that ABC, whom so many people seem to fondly remember as having the best Olympic coverage ever, was so roundly criticized for their efforts this 1 Olympics. And even with the `84 Summer Olympics, of course people thought the coverage was great because Americans were winning medals left and right. It's easily forgotten.. ABC's last 5 Olympics were Montreal `76, Lake Placid `80, Sarajevo `84, Los Angeles `84, and Calgary `88. That's 4 of out 5 Olympics in North America. Easier to handle that than a European Olympics.

Either way.. ABC faced criticism. CBS faced criticism. So of course NBC is going to face criticism. Is Bob Costas is too snarky, people will complain. But if he was too serious.. people would complain. It's impossible to please everyone, so NBC does their best to please those who really matter.. their sponsors. I know most Canadians have been more than content with their Olympic coverage over the years (not always, of course, but again, that's the nature of the event) and yea, that's a nice standard for NBC to aspire to, but it's never going to happen here. Business concerns, among other things, will not allow that to happen. All we can hope for is for NBC to keep improving their product from Olympics to Olympics, and they definitely have with this one versus Vancouver. At this point, I'd still take them over the alternative, an ESPN or a Fox coming in for the first time and making all the rookie mistakes NBC made when they entered the fray in 1988.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are the TV ratings for Saturday night. As I expected, viewership is down from Vancouver but up quite a decent amount from Torino:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/09/25-1-million-viewers-for-nbcs-saturday-primetime-olympics-telecast/235667/

The big news here is the viewership for the live figure skating coverage on NBCSN--nearly 5 million people, which is more viewers than NBCSN had for any event during the London Games. It seems like the live figure skating is a good strategy so far--it's drawing a lot of viewers to NBCSN, but it's not really hurting the primetime ratings much. I'd be interested to see statistics on how many people watched both the live NBCSN coverage and the NBC primetime coverage. I would guess that NBC is willing to sacrifice a few million viewers in primetime if they can get 5 million + to watch the live coverage on NBCSN.

No doubt 1984 and 2014 are different, just showing those pieces of evidence of how fickle an American television audience is, particularly with an event as wide-ranging as the Olympics. It's almost a compliment to the Olympics that so many people care enough to have such strong appearances. But it also goes to show that ABC, whom so many people seem to fondly remember as having the best Olympic coverage ever, was so roundly criticized for their efforts this 1 Olympics. And even with the `84 Summer Olympics, of course people thought the coverage was great because Americans were winning medals left and right.

I've been able to piece together a decent amount of ABC's coverage of the 1984 Summer Olympics over the years. IMO, ABC set the benchmark for single-network coverage of the Games that was not surpassed by NBC's live/"plausibly live" coverage from 88-96. The slew of American medals gave ABC a lot to cover during those Games, but they managed to jump from sport to sport without missing too many major events.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...