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NBC and the Olympics, should we talk about it?


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NBC didn't have nancy to leech off, but goodness, i can only imagine the things they would have put that poor woman through for ratings. maybe CBS was just as bad, i don't know. i was 9. (although wasn't tony a recognized bid expert and precocious olympic observer at that age?)

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The NBC streaming coverage gets an A+ from me for these Games.  I had so many issues with poor quality in 2012 and 2014 that I barely watched anything online.  This year, I've been able to watch multi

Quaker you are right about that. ABC had to juggle their soap operas during LA, although they were shorter than usual. NBC did keep their soaps during their first couple of Summer Games, but in 2004,

It's not pointless and stupid for NBC if it makes them more money.  I don't know how that's the case with a 1 hour delay, but that other countries show it live is irrelevant so far as NBC is concerned

10 hours ago, kraussie-kraussie-kraussie said:

really good article if you live outside the US and wondered what NBC was paying all that money for. i'm sure i'm not the only american on here who finds the primetime coverage absolutely useless.

what the article doesn't mention is that winter olympics coverage is actually a lot more balanced since there are fewer american superstars to focus on (but rest assured they over-expose the hell out of the ones they've got).

 

9 hours ago, kraussie-kraussie-kraussie said:

yeah, uh they don't really do that here because my country produces more gold medalists than coverage hours, but i take your point. maybe you were referring to my WOG reference. NBC does love tears and heartbreak but they do not wallow in it and they rarely bet on maybe winners, although upsets do happen. (they were positively scrambling for breakout-star simone manuel pieces but all they had were the standard in-studio interviews they do with all the swimmers to hedge their bets. i don't think anybody talked to her cousin christopher or went to her hometown to interview her third-grade teacher, which they will do for a ledecky).

their pound of flesh is gold medal moments from athletes succeeding against the odds spliced between special interest pieces, and they will have them -- even if they have to go athletes from the home country or the UK or freaking slovenia in the case of tina maze. tom daley got a piece in london (for being gay and british -- both challenges he had to overcome).

and they will find that adversity! in beijing, phelps' ridiculous hardship package was that he was bullied as a kid for his hot swimmer's bod (although i suspect that was more of a plan B after they received a hard "no dad talk" rule from the family because his father wasn't mentioned once).

they literally write the olympics before they happen and they don't let a trifling little thing like results get the way.

 

9 hours ago, kraussie-kraussie-kraussie said:

NBC didn't have nancy to leech off, but goodness, i can only imagine the things they would have put that poor woman through for ratings. maybe CBS was just as bad, i don't know. i was 9. (although wasn't tony a recognized bid expert and precocious olympic observer at that age?)

So tell us, what would make NBC's coverage more "useful"?  Perhaps you watched the men's 400 meters last night.  The last 2 Olympic champions were in the race.  So NBC ran a feature on.. the up-and-coming South African who not only went on to win the race, but set a world record.

Yes, NBC to a fault will over-expose the hell out of certain athletes.  But it's pretty much been proven that their ratings go up when those athletes are competing and winning medals.  Can't really blame NBC for rooting for them.  And it's not like they can shoot and run features on every athlete out there.  In 2008 in Beijing when Matthew Mitcham won gold in diving (as Rols no doubt remembers with a spectacular final dive to beat China), NBC got ripped for not having a feature on him.  Some ripped them for being anti-gay, as if they should have been focusing on him from the start.  That's not how these things work.

Also not NBC's fault that Americans are winning so many medals in these Olympics.  It's not about athletes overcoming adversity, but there needs to be a back-story for these guys and girls or else who the hell are they?  They would love for the Olympics to go according to their script (which they totally are this year), but that's no different from other sports where the TV networks want certain teams to win.  As Rols noted, NBC may be guilty of a lot of what people are pointing a finger at them for, but they're not alone when it comes to Olympic broadcasters in that regard.  There's just a lot of people watching and everyone wants something different from the broadcasts.

And to your last point.. networks have always covered the Olympics the same way, with the puff pieces and everything else.  CBS did when they had the Winter.  ABC did before that.  CBS did of course benefit from the Tonya/Nancy scandal, but I don't think we can blame CBS for Tonya and company hatching a plan to injure her competitor, thus leading to 1 of the highest rated broadcasts in American TV history

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56 minutes ago, Quaker2001 said:

So tell us, what would make NBC's coverage more "useful"?  Perhaps you watched the men's 400 meters last night.  The last 2 Olympic champions were in the race.  So NBC ran a feature on.. the up-and-coming South African who not only went on to win the race, but set a world record.

i hate to be adversarial right off the bat, but didn't you read what i wrote?

i said NBC bets on winners -- even if they're from other countries. it's part of their strategy to script the olympics even before they begin. they cover the olympics as if they're, well, a reality show, with content that can be edited to say pretty much anything. if they want you to hate one athlete and love another, they can do that. if they want the opposite, they can do that too.

Quote

Yes, NBC to a fault will over-expose the hell out of certain athletes.  But it's pretty much been proven that their ratings go up when those athletes are competing and winning medals.  Can't really blame NBC for rooting for them.  And it's not like they can shoot and run features on every athlete out there.  In 2008 in Beijing when Matthew Mitcham won gold in diving (as Rols no doubt remembers with a spectacular final dive to beat China), NBC got ripped for not having a feature on him.  Some ripped them for being anti-gay, as if they should have been focusing on him from the start.  That's not how these things work.

Also not NBC's fault that Americans are winning so many medals in these Olympics.  It's not about athletes overcoming adversity, but there needs to be a back-story for these guys and girls or else who the hell are they?  They would love for the Olympics to go according to their script (which they totally are this year), but that's no different from other sports where the TV networks want certain teams to win.  As Rols noted, NBC may be guilty of a lot of what people are pointing a finger at them for, but they're not alone when it comes to Olympic broadcasters in that regard.  There's just a lot of people watching and everyone wants something different from the broadcasts.

of course it's not NBC's fault for covering american's winning gold medals. it's the way they do that.

athletes do need a certain amount of backstory, i admit, although i can't believe someone from this forum is defending NBC's choice to cover the olympics as entertainment, rather than sport. we cover the superbowl and the world series as sport, but not the olympics. the fluff pieces and ryan seacrest interviewing supermodels eats up most of their primetime coverage, which americans are led to believe is a condensed version of the day's events. but everything is on a tape delay so that men's gymnastics can be tossed out because the US lost, the parade of nations can be commented on by three color commentators who add nothing of substance, and sport (when it is shown) is badly edited, condensed, and out of order.

i encourage you to read the vox article if you haven't already. it's making many of the same points i am:

"But the way NBC covers the Olympics on TV isn’t just unfair to sports fans, or to people who live on the West Coast, or to people who have social media and are spoiled on the results of events long before they’re broadcast. It isn’t just racist and sexist and wedded to certain socially conservative expectations of what makes a family.

No, it’s all of those things — and it’s awful, awful television."

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i fucked up the quote tags :(
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This is the first Olympics I've watched since 2006 - was there in person in 2008, 2010, and 2012 and was too busy with life in 2014. I love the coverage. I can watch whatever I want to live online and then when I'm unwinding at the end of the day, I get the highlights at night. 

If NBC actually showed everything live on its network, would anyone watch? I wouldn't with the possible aside of the ceremonies. The market for all live Olympic coverage is far smaller than I think this message board leaves one to believe. 

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36 minutes ago, kraussie-kraussie-kraussie said:

i hate to be adversarial right off the bat, but didn't you read what i wrote?

i said NBC bets on winners -- even if they're from other countries. it's part of their strategy to script the olympics even before they begin. they cover the olympics as if they're, well, a reality show, with content that can be edited to say pretty much anything. if they want you to hate one athlete and love another, they can do that. if they want the opposite, they can do that too.

of course it's not NBC's fault for covering american's winning gold medals. it's the way they do that.

athletes do need a certain amount of backstory, i admit, although i can't believe someone from this forum is defending NBC's choice to cover the olympics as entertainment, rather than sport. we cover the superbowl and the world series as sport, but not the olympics. the fluff pieces and ryan seacrest interviewing supermodels eats up most of their primetime coverage, which americans are led to believe is a condensed version of the day's events. but everything is on a tape delay so that men's gymnastics can be tossed out because the US lost, the parade of nations can be commented on by three color commentators who add nothing of substance, and sport (when it is shown) is badly edited, condensed, and out of order.

i encourage you to read the vox article if you haven't already. it's making many of the same points i am:

"But the way NBC covers the Olympics on TV isn’t just unfair to sports fans, or to people who live on the West Coast, or to people who have social media and are spoiled on the results of events long before they’re broadcast. It isn’t just racist and sexist and wedded to certain socially conservative expectations of what makes a family.

No, it’s all of those things — and it’s awful, awful television."

19

I'm not sure I understand the difference in sport and entertainment? I think, especially as far as consumptive media is concerned, they're the same thing. 

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1 hour ago, kraussie-kraussie-kraussie said:

i hate to be adversarial right off the bat, but didn't you read what i wrote?

i said NBC bets on winners -- even if they're from other countries. it's part of their strategy to script the olympics even before they begin. they cover the olympics as if they're, well, a reality show, with content that can be edited to say pretty much anything. if they want you to hate one athlete and love another, they can do that. if they want the opposite, they can do that too.

I did read what you wrote.  You told us how the coverage is awful.  That's what I asked how would you make it better?  You're right that NBC places their bets on certain athletes and treats it like a reality show.  Other networks (CBS and ABC) did that before them though, so it's not uniquely NBC.  And it's not like there aren't rooting interests when it comes to other networks and sports. It's just not as overt.  NBC probably does treat the Olympics like a reality show.  But as has been shown, Americans really love reality shows.  I won't defend certain of NBC's editing practices, particularly when they manipulate the flow of an event (as they did with the women's team gymnastics final in 1996, not that Kerri Strug will complain since it turned her into a hero when her vault didn't actually win the US the gold), but they still have to create a narrative or else it's just 8 people in a swimming pool or on the track that no one has heard of.

1 hour ago, kraussie-kraussie-kraussie said:

of course it's not NBC's fault for covering american's winning gold medals. it's the way they do that.

athletes do need a certain amount of backstory, i admit, although i can't believe someone from this forum is defending NBC's choice to cover the olympics as entertainment, rather than sport. we cover the superbowl and the world series as sport, but not the olympics. the fluff pieces and ryan seacrest interviewing supermodels eats up most of their primetime coverage, which americans are led to believe is a condensed version of the day's events. but everything is on a tape delay so that men's gymnastics can be tossed out because the US lost, the parade of nations can be commented on by three color commentators who add nothing of substance, and sport (when it is shown) is badly edited, condensed, and out of order.

i encourage you to read the vox article if you haven't already. it's making many of the same points i am:

"But the way NBC covers the Olympics on TV isn’t just unfair to sports fans, or to people who live on the West Coast, or to people who have social media and are spoiled on the results of events long before they’re broadcast. It isn’t just racist and sexist and wedded to certain socially conservative expectations of what makes a family.

No, it’s all of those things — and it’s awful, awful television."

Are you serious?  You're talking about GamesBids.  There's a section on Ceremonies Discussions that currently has 4434 posts.  The section on Sports / Events Discussions has 464.  That speaks volumes about what the people here care about.  As much folks here like talking about Olympic bidding and all the other ancillary stuff, discussions of actual sports and events seem to be further down the priority list here than one would think.

I read the vox article.  I've read pretty much all the commentary on NBC's Olympic coverage, so I've seen those and many of the other criticisms out there.  But your post proves just how jaded you are and how perception seems to be taking the place of reality.  Ryan Seacrest is barely seen in primetime, those supermodel interviews do not "eat up most of their primetime coverage."  The majority of the primetime show is LIVE, not on tape delay (unless you live on the West coast, but that's a different story).  And for all the commercials that NBC airs (which there are a lot of.. not that there aren't in other sports broadcasts), NBC actually used that to show MORE of the parade of nations this time around than they would have if it was live.  NBC deserves to be raked over the coals for a lot of things, but reading a post like this almost makes me feel a little sorry for them because so much of what you just posted simply isn't true.

So you say NBC should cover the Olympics more like the Super Bowl or World Series.  Those by comparison are easy.  Everyone is in 1 place.  There's only 1 ball.  Games last 3 hours, not a few minutes.  By comparison, not a ton of programming decisions to make there, in comparison to the Olympics where there are a dozen things going on (and less we think that NBC is all primetime, they have nearly a dozen cable channels showing coverage, mostly live, and live streaming of virtually everything) and NBC can't be everywhere at once.  NBC has made numerous mentions of Ibtihaj Muhammad.  It NBC covers someone like her too much, the complaint is that NBC is creating a narrative.  If they don't cover her enough, they're being racist/sexist.  It's next to impossible to find that happy medium because everyone watching wants to see different things.  There's no way to please everyone, particularly where we're a country of 300+ million people.

There are a thousand things NBC could do differently or better.  But you can't compare the Olympics to a football game as if by both being "sports" means they can be treated the same way.  The Olympics is a collection of short event, not a linear 3 hour football game.  The last time NBC tried covering the Olympics as if it was Saturday afternoon sports was 1988 in Seoul.  They got criticized to hell for it.  Maybe it's because of that they've gone so far in the other direction and I do think the comments from NBC execs are a little demeaning and patronizing and that has probably turned some people off.

But this nonsense about "OMG, it's 2016, everyone gets instant results" needs to stop.  People were talking about "instant" results 30 years ago and couldn't have imagined what we have now.  I like to bring up the men's downhill in the `94 Olympics.  CBS came on the air at 9am.  The very first thing they did was say that Tommy Moe had won the downhill, knowing they wouldn't be showing it on TV for another 12 hours.  Viewers will watch Olympic events (again, most of which are pretty short, not like a football or baseball game) even if the know what happened, more than would watch it live on a Wednesday afternoon.  NBC can't just throw the Olympics out there and treat it like a buffet with "here's everything, take what you want."  If the other extreme is creating narratives to try and sell ads, I can live with them doing that.

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Right now I'm extremely annoyed on how the NBC channel is tape delaying the gymnastics event finals. Last night they did a disaster of a job editing the event finals, and if I'm not mistaken they didn't even bother airing the pommel horse finals where Alexander Naddour at least won a bronze medal. Instead they aired the floor exercise where both Dalton and Mikulak choked. And I'm sure they'll do something similar tonight as well.

What's also irritating is that they're not even trying to give it a chance and airing it live or even during the day. Instead they're airing synchronized swimming, which is obviously not a huge US audience draw because we're not even remotely good in it. Although today's gymnastics events finals have since ended, tape delaying it just an hour until the end of the beach volleyball game (which the US was knocked out of) in place of something so dumb as synchronized swimming would have made a whole lot more sense.

Because track & field this week and swimming last week took the primetime slot gymnastics has been pushed back to about an hour summary after all those competitions end, and that just isn't right to a sport who has been bringing us some medals, at least in the women's events

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48 minutes ago, LatinXTC said:

Right now I'm extremely annoyed on how the NBC channel is tape delaying the gymnastics event finals. Last night they did a disaster of a job editing the event finals, and if I'm not mistaken they didn't even bother airing the pommel horse finals where Alexander Naddour at least won a bronze medal. Instead they aired the floor exercise where both Dalton and Mikulak choked. And I'm sure they'll do something similar tonight as well.

What's also irritating is that they're not even trying to give it a chance and airing it live or even during the day. Instead they're airing synchronized swimming, which is obviously not a huge US audience draw because we're not even remotely good in it. Although today's gymnastics events finals have since ended, tape delaying it just an hour until the end of the beach volleyball game (which the US was knocked out of) in place of something so dumb as synchronized swimming would have made a whole lot more sense.

Because track & field this week and swimming last week took the primetime slot gymnastics has been pushed back to about an hour summary after all those competitions end, and that just isn't right to a sport who has been bringing us some medals, at least in the women's events

Give it a chance?  NBC has over a billion dollars invested in the Olympics and they only last 2 1/2 weeks.  It's not like they can take a chance for shits and giggles and then deal with the consequences of being wrong.  Doesn't work like that.  What they did in Sochi by airing figure skating live on NBCSN wasn't taking a chance.  It was a calculated business decision.  Putting gymnastics on the daytime show on a Monday afternoon and weakening primetime sounds like a really bad business decision.  No.. it makes no sense from a business standpoint.  And NBC is a business.  It is their goal to make money.  The big money is in primetime.  Even taped/edited coverage of gymnastics is more valuable there than it is during the afternoon.

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When the big (American) stars perform well, I don't think tape delay has much, if any, negative impact on viewership.  In fact, we saw in London that tape delay actually drives more viewership.  Even with all of the live coverage this year, the three highest-rated nights so far were the first Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday - the nights that NBC showed women's gymnastics on tape.  The ratings are down this year, but they're still outpacing Barcelona, Sydney, and Athens by quite a bit, which is pretty amazing given how many more viewing options there are now than in the past (barely 50% of households even had cable in 1992).

In some cases, I actually think NBC should have been showing more events on tape during primetime this year.  Like tonight, for example - there was no reason to show all 45748 heats of the women's 400m hurdles.  They could have shown the event finals from men's gymnastics during that time and just shown the heats with the Americans on a short tape delay after they finished.  There have also been some great American performances here that deserved some primetime attention - like Kayla Harrison in judo, for example.  Her gold medal match lasted 4 minutes and surely could have been worked in somewhere.  That would be of more interest to people than yet another heat in track or semifinal in swimming, which could easily be shown on tape shortly after they happen.

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30 minutes ago, Barcelona_'92 said:

When the big (American) stars perform well, I don't think tape delay has much, if any, negative impact on viewership.  In fact, we saw in London that tape delay actually drives more viewership.  Even with all of the live coverage this year, the three highest-rated nights so far were the first Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday - the nights that NBC showed women's gymnastics on tape.  The ratings are down this year, but they're still outpacing Barcelona, Sydney, and Athens by quite a bit, which is pretty amazing given how many more viewing options there are now than in the past (barely 50% of households even had cable in 1992).

In some cases, I actually think NBC should have been showing more events on tape during primetime this year.  Like tonight, for example - there was no reason to show all 45748 heats of the women's 400m hurdles.  They could have shown the event finals from men's gymnastics during that time and just shown the heats with the Americans on a short tape delay after they finished.  There have also been some great American performances here that deserved some primetime attention - like Kayla Harrison in judo, for example.  Her gold medal match lasted 4 minutes and surely could have been worked in somewhere.  That would be of more interest to people than yet another heat in track or semifinal in swimming, which could easily be shown on tape shortly after they happen.

Thank you for illustrating the dilemmas NBC faces on a nightly basis.  What to show and not to show, because there's not enough airtime for anything.  Wouldn't people complain about only showing Americans if that's what they did with the heats of the 400 hurdles?  Do they need to show the entire Kayla Harrison match again when it's been seen already on cable?  There's no way to please everyone.  Each viewer will have their own vision of what they want to see.  Thankfully between all the cable coverage and the streaming, most people can customize their on Olympic experience.  Primetime still needs to be what will appeal to the masses.  No easy answer to what that should include.

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14 hours ago, daniel anderson400 said:

I've wondered how NBC has changed their attitude to their soaps. In Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta and Sydney, they didn't bump the soaps, but since Athens they have done so.  has the landscape changed that they don't need to air their daytime shows(apart from Today?)

Does anyone under the age of 70 give 2 fucks about soap operas anymore?  NBC only has 1 left on their schedule, Days of Our Lives.  The rest of the schedule these days is talk shows.  So yes, the landscape has changed that it's easier to bump Steve Harvey and Ellen Degeneres off the schedule (they can go on break for 2 weeks).  This is not the 1980s anymore.

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3 hours ago, GoNutz said:

Just to add a dose of positivity to this thread. Gold Zone is amazing, and should be made one of those pop-up channels on cable/satellite lineups.

The NBC streaming coverage gets an A+ from me for these Games.  I had so many issues with poor quality in 2012 and 2014 that I barely watched anything online.  This year, I've been able to watch multiple streams at once, both on my computers and iPhones, all in perfect HD with absolutely no buffering or freezing.  The ability to watch through my X1 box has been amazing as well.  Streaming has been by far the best part of NBC's coverage in 2016.

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I want to know what I am doing wrong because I am have yet to have a completely satisfactory streaming experience on my laptop. The video still stalls every so often. I have shut down all the background apps (I'm on Windows 10 and did the recent anniversary update), and  cleared out my temporary files numerous times. It has to be something with my computer because I will stream on my Roku and phone with few problems.

As for NBC, the actual over the air coverage means little to me since I do most of my viewing online. I tune in each night and get a laugh out of how much has changed in how I follow the Games. The sliced and diced highlight form with the occasional live event worked great back in the day, well maybe not so much since I remember doing my fair share of complaining about the coverage to anyone who would listen. It was while I was browsing through the Centennial Park Superstore in Atlanta that I saw all these TV's broadcasting the AOB feed from different venues that I mused that that is the way to watch the Games. Never thought it was possible back then, but 12 years later it was a reality, and i am so thankful. The on-demand feature allows me to work the Games around my life (it used to be the other way around) and spend only a fraction of the time watching my chosen events for the day as opposed to countless hours flipping through the channels hoping they might show what I want to see. Thank you NBC for allowing me to do the Games my way.

 

 

 

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I feel like NBC maybe is beginning to respond to the anger of delaying ceremonies. I am able to watch, on nbcolympics.com that is, the closing ceremony live and without commentary in addition to what appears to be a live w/ commentary version.

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Caveat: I have only been able to catch about three hours of nbc's coverage this year. But . . .

People comparing NBC's Olympic coverage to a reality tv show cannot be serious.

i am working with the production crew of a reality tv show right now. Last week they left one of their scripts in our boat. Absolutely nothing about "reality" tv is real.

Yes, NBC is biased. But every broadcaster around the world is rooting for their local athletes and the star athletes like Usain Bolt. That is not the same as scripting the olympics.

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People just like to bitch. In real life most Americans only really care about US Athletes. Maybe they wanna see a couple heartfelt stories about people that overcame some kind of adversity to get there but that can wear thin with a lot of people quickly. I think they can get away with a few Canadian or British athletes that have gotten pretty popular in the mainstream, or people they want to dramatize like le Clos. I think my only real criticism is their lock-in with cable companies, but what should we really expect when Comcast owns them, they're not going to do anything that doesn't help or benefit cable companies.

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On 8/17/2016 at 6:06 PM, Barcelona_'92 said:

The NBC streaming coverage gets an A+ from me for these Games.  I had so many issues with poor quality in 2012 and 2014 that I barely watched anything online.  This year, I've been able to watch multiple streams at once, both on my computers and iPhones, all in perfect HD with absolutely no buffering or freezing.  The ability to watch through my X1 box has been amazing as well.  Streaming has been by far the best part of NBC's coverage in 2016.

The streaming this year was awesome. I'm sure the NBC coverage was horrid, but I could care less. Just give me the streams and I'm 100% happy. 

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I'd like for there to have been a commercial-free option for the live stream.  I would've been more than willing to pay extra for it!

I don't know how many times I was slowed down by the same advertisements, and endless promos for "The Voice".

It'd seem to only get worse, whenever I would start scrubbing!

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59 minutes ago, A-Money1983 said:

I'd like for there to have been a commercial-free option for the live stream.  I would've been more than willing to pay extra for it!

I don't know how many times I was slowed down by the same advertisements, and endless promos for "The Voice".

It'd seem to only get worse, whenever I would start scrubbing!

Odd. I didn't see one commercial during the live streaming. Perhaps it's because I have the AdBlock Plus plug-in added to my browser. You should get one, it's amazing.

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11 hours ago, LatinXTC said:

Odd. I didn't see one commercial during the live streaming. Perhaps it's because I have the AdBlock Plus plug-in added to my browser. You should get one, it's amazing.

Yep, I also have an ad blocker and didn't watch a single ad even though I was streaming every day.  I could tell when they cut to commercial, but the stream would just continue to play.

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12 hours ago, LatinXTC said:

Odd. I didn't see one commercial during the live streaming. Perhaps it's because I have the AdBlock Plus plug-in added to my browser. You should get one, it's amazing.

Opera. Best browser around. Just get it. Was especially awesome for the Olympics as the developer version had free VPN servers. 

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