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NBC's coverage of the Sochi Olympics


Quaker2001
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I didn't know that as I don't get NBCSN here. I understand the affliates having commitments to certain programs, but I guess I don't understand why NBC can't tell them we are airing the Olympics every morning after the Today show is over.

Because the business of television in the United States works differently than in Canada. Without getting too technical here..

Most, if not all major television stations in Canada are O&O (owned and operated). Which means, for example, that CBC owns all of their affiliates. In the United States though, most stations are not owned by the parent network. Which is to say that the money made by a local station doesn't flow into that network's bank accounts. So NBC (and the other networks as well) have to cater to the whims of their affiliate if they want to continue to have that affiliate transmit their programming. This is a 2 1/2 week long enough. I know that doesn't sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but for an affiliate, that's a long time to pre-empt programming everyday if they're not getting anything out of it.

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I didn't know that as I don't get NBCSN here. I understand the affliates having commitments to certain programs, but I guess I don't understand why NBC can't tell them we are airing the Olympics every morning after the Today show is over.

Well the Today Show is on from 7:00am to 11:00am now, and the noon news starts at well, noon. So that 1 whole hour of Olympic coverage would be enough to please you?

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For the record, during the 2012 Olympics, I watched most of the events LIVE online, but still watched them again later for the NBC commentary (swimming, for instance). I don't find myself doing that as much this time around.

In general, most events in the Summer Olympics are pretty quick, especially things like a swim race or a rowing event. Whereas more events in the Winter Olympics tend to have competitors go 1 at a time, so they take long to complete. So as opposed to watching a swim final again in primetime, you may have less desire to watch multiple runs of alpine or slopestyle. That might be the reason for it. But that's me.

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For the record, during the 2012 Olympics, I watched most of the events LIVE online, but still watched them again later for the NBC commentary (swimming, for instance). I don't find myself doing that as much this time around.

In general, most events in the Summer Olympics are pretty quick, especially things like a swim race or a rowing event. Whereas more events in the Winter Olympics tend to have competitors go 1 at a time, so they take long to complete. So as opposed to watching a swim final again in primetime, you may have less desire to watch multiple runs of alpine or slopestyle. That might be the reason for it. But that's me.

I find that I'm watching less online this Olympics than I did in 2012 (when it worked), largely because of the live NBCSN coverage. Figure skating is the main event I'd watch live online, and I can watch that on NBCSN. I'd also watch alpine skiing live online if the start times were more convenient, but I'm not enough of a skiing diehard to get up at 2am for the live coverage, and by the time I wake up, I'm watching the live events on NBCSN. For the rest of the events, I don't care enough about them to watch live long-form coverage, so the edited coverage on NBC is perfect for me.

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More good numbers for NBC--ratings for last night exceeded the ratings for the first Sunday of the Vancouver Games, plus another viewership record for NBCSN and huge numbers for NBC late night:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/10/more-than-100-million-americans-have-already-watched-the-sochi-olympics-on-the-networks-of-nbcuniversal/235938/

The primetime numbers are really good considering the Olympics were up against the premiere of the Walking Dead and the Beatles special, which combined had over 25 million viewers.

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Another reason why I have watched less of the primetime NBC coverage is because most of the stuff they show in primetime I already saw earlier in the day on the GoldZone stream or NBCSN.

Now obviously some of these are marquee events. But for instance, the speed skating stuff they are showing now, even though I'm sure I could have found it live online as it happened, I didn't, and so now I'm watching it. Same thing with the women's downhill.

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Bob Costas and his red eyes are getting replaced by Matt Lauer

If only for 1 night, but it marks the first time since 1988 that anyone other than Costas has anchored and NBC primetime show for the Olympics, and the first time since 1998 that any Olympic primetime show has been hosted by someone other than Costas.

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That's where it's gotten interesting, scare-krow. NBC has said primetime is all the crown jewel, but clearly they're trying to prop up NBCSN as well. But it looks like from day 1 (and again, obviously it's a small sample size), that maybe they can have their cake and eat it too. Ratings are there for NBCSN and for primetime. So NBC is able to get those viewers to NBCSN and not even have it cost them ratings points from primetime. It used to be that primetime was everything, but we've seen a gradual shift the past few Olympics to where that's not the case anymore. But even with the emphasis no longer as much on primetime as it used to be, the audience for that show has remained the same size. So if they are losing some of the hardcore junkies to other platforms, it means they must have picked up some viewers from elsewhere to fill the void.

That's what we've been saying for years - it doesn't have to be one or the other.

P.S. Why is the US so obsessed with figure skating? Don't really get the appeal (and ridiculous people can do the same routine in the Team event and Individual event) and now the days of Robin Cousins and Torvill and Dean are long gone the coverage here is relative minimal - the focus is on a much greater range of sports.

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That's what we've been saying for years - it doesn't have to be one or the other.

P.S. Why is the US so obsessed with figure skating? Don't really get the appeal (and ridiculous people can do the same routine in the Team event and Individual event) and now the days of Robin Cousins and Torvill and Dean are long gone the coverage here is relative minimal - the focus is on a much greater range of sports.

Well, although not so much since 2006 or so, the US has traditionally been a dominant power in figure skating. The USFSA is still a very dominant and powerful federation within the ISU even if our international results haven't been the greatest for almost 10 years or so now (yikes!). I have to say, it's my opinion that the US has greatly de-emphasized figure skating compared to what the coverage used to be in the 90s and early 2000s, when figure skating was a legitimately popular sport here. The bottom has really dropped out. I think there is still a niche market that really wants to follow the sport, as demonstrated by the good numbers for the live coverage on NBCSN. Now, some of those are probably still every-4-year fans. But it makes me wonder why they don't show better coverage of the Grand Prix on US cable somewhere.

I don't see any difference between the repetition of programs in the new team event and repetition of the programs in gymnastics. In fact, in Olympic gymnastics they repeat the same programs MORE - qualifying, team, all-around, event final. In both cases there is interest to see if people will be consistent, improve their performance from the previous times, or whatever.

At one time the ISU experimented with the pairs, ladies' and men's skaters having more than one free program. For several years in the early 2000s the ISU Grand Prix final had a short and two long programs. It didn't really work and they discontinued it.

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That's what we've been saying for years - it doesn't have to be one or the other.

P.S. Why is the US so obsessed with figure skating? Don't really get the appeal (and ridiculous people can do the same routine in the Team event and Individual event) and now the days of Robin Cousins and Torvill and Dean are long gone the coverage here is relative minimal - the focus is on a much greater range of sports.

A large chunk of the audience consuming the Olympics is female. So they're into figure skating moreso than the usual sports watching crowd. I certainly don't get the appeal, but that's me. Coverage is hardly lacking here in the United States though. Plenty of events get televised throughout the season, moreso than pretty much any other Winter Olympic sport.

Games that stick out to me are some of the qualifiers and the Bronze Medal game. Maybe even the US-Russia Saturday morning game.

And to me personally it doesn't matter because I have access to NBCSN, but I am it is a big deal for those who don't have it.

NBC has different priorities than they did in the past. Never before have they had an all sports cable network to sell during a Winter Olympics. They didn't put live figure skating on NBCSN for the benefit of the viewers. They did it for the benefit of the network. So far, it's been a smart move.

As for hockey, same story. Remember for London, NBCSN showed every USA men's basketball game except for the final (including the weekend games that in the past have often appeared on NBC). Similar story here.. NBC is showing enough coverage that them not having the and hockey except for the 2 games is not a big deal. I pay for cable, so I should get more than the guy who doesn't pay for cable.

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P.S. Why is the US so obsessed with figure skating? Don't really get the appeal (and ridiculous people can do the same routine in the Team event and Individual event) and now the days of Robin Cousins and Torvill and Dean are long gone the coverage here is relative minimal - the focus is on a much greater range of sports.

Actually, the US is not obsessed with figure skating, that's part of the problem. It now has a fairly narrow fan base. I'm a former skater, so sorry you don't get the appeal, your loss, but then, I'm not a fan of curling or nordic combined either. Horses for courses. If you want to see true obsession with FS, try Japan.

The USFSA is still a very dominant and powerful federation within the ISU even if our international results haven't been the greatest for almost 10 years or so now (yikes!). I have to say, it's my opinion that the US has greatly de-emphasized figure skating compared to what the coverage used to be in the 90s and early 2000s, when figure skating was a legitimately popular sport here. The bottom has really dropped out. I think there is still a niche market that really wants to follow the sport, as demonstrated by the good numbers for the live coverage on NBCSN. Now, some of those are probably still every-4-year fans. But it makes me wonder why they don't show better coverage of the Grand Prix on US cable somewhere.

I don't see any difference between the repetition of programs in the new team event and repetition of the programs in gymnastics. In fact, in Olympic gymnastics they repeat the same programs MORE - qualifying, team, all-around, event final. In both cases there is interest to see if people will be consistent, improve their performance from the previous times, or whatever.

The USFSA is a big federation but it is not as powerful as a lot of people believe at least w/respect to the ISU. In politicking it pales in comparison to Russian, Canadian, and Japanese federations. As for decline of FS in the USA, I think there are a lot of reasons for that--mostly due to factors outside the sport's or federation's control though USFS' ability to deal with a changing world has been rather inept. Historically, it's the 1990's and early 2000's seem to be the aberration, and right now it's back to being a niche sport more similar to the 1970's and 80's.

As for coverage, I'm enjoying NBCSN's live coverage and prefer it to prime time---with respect to figure skating, I prefer seeing the entire field of competitors AND the commentators are better (Gannon, Weir in particular). I'm not a fan of the tired old duo of Bezic and Hamilton + NBC Talking Head. I'm also preferring NBCSN's coverage of other sports vs prime time. Feeling lucky that this Olympics I'm in a position to be able to access it.

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LOL Poor Bob has to sit out and then they put it MATT LAUER. I think there trolling us or something

Costas is seeing RED...or is it pink??? ;)

Interesting top markets for NBC's coverage so far:

Market HH rating/share 1. Salt Lake City 21.7/39 2. Minneapolis 19.9/32 3. Denver 19.5/33 4. Milwaukee 18.2/30 5. Austin 16.7/27 6. Okla. City 16.6/23 7. Albuquerque 16.5/25 T8. Chicago

16.2/24

Doing well in the medium, fly-over parts of the country (SLC, MSP, Denver, MLW) more so than the coasts; and then in the low desert towns of Austin, OKLA & Albuquerque. WHo would've thought that??

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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TV ratings are basically on par with 2010 after the first 6 days of the Games:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/12/nbc-and-nbcsn-post-big-gains-throughout-day-for-tuesdays-sochi-olympics-coverage/236779/

NBC has to be thrilled with this considering that there is no live coverage in primetime this year and almost all of the athletes that NBC hyped before the Games have failed to medal.

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TV ratings are basically on par with 2010 after the first 6 days of the Games:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/12/nbc-and-nbcsn-post-big-gains-throughout-day-for-tuesdays-sochi-olympics-coverage/236779/

NBC has to be thrilled with this considering that there is no live coverage in primetime this year and almost all of the athletes that NBC hyped before the Games have failed to medal.

The first part of that isn't as important as you'd think as we learned comparing London's numbers to Beijing. I'm curious to see the numbers from tonight though. This night in Vancouver was the highest rated of the Olympics, in large part because you had gold medals from Lindsay Vonn, Shani Davis, Shaun White, and also had Apolo Ohno competing. This year, not so much.

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