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31 minutes ago, krow said:

just as a PS, i don't agree that mikey's academia is either here or there, and i while do assume some things about what he will experience it's only because i believe it to be self-evident. i obviously have no idea whether he will see it that way and i stated that. and again, you and i simply have different opinions. i don't think anything i could say would color mikey's opinions of NBC's coverage after he sees it, and i won't censor my replies in threads he starts because he might read them and become biased by them. mikey is an academic and he is surely well trained in how to cope with various opinions and draw objective opinions in spite of them. so please don't try to make me feel bad about stating my opinion first when you've been doing the exact same thing for three replies straight. i'm convinced that mikey is smarter than the two of us put together.

 

It's ok everyone is entitled to their opinion. I certainly am forming my own opinions on my topic which is backed up with evidence and facts. I was interviewed by the media during the games and it was published online by Fairfax Media and I certainly read a lot of comments by the public following its publishing (about 159 commented on the article). My opinions aren't swayed by one opinion or one comment. :) 

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oh, mikey, why would you even want to torture yourself like that? i'll give you the highlights: female athletes are only successful because of a man, ryan lochte is just a "kid", and despite high

"hey, they only called those female athletes useless whores because it makes them more money. they're a business, you can't argue with that." while ignoring the fact that ratings weren't all that

I really didn't find that many flaws with their daytime show, or late night.  It's the prime time that needs more tweaking.

10 hours ago, A-Money1983 said:

By the way, I'm curious as to what NBC tried and failed with in Seoul.

I know it had to have lead to the formula in 1992, which was cutting edge at the time (even if it was the same Arledge formula long-used by ABC before).

This should answer some of those questions.. http://www.si.com/vault/issue/702553/102/2

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8 minutes ago, A-Money1983 said:

Interesting.

I'm curious as to why ABC lost so much money on Calgary.  It had the most stories that lead to cinema (Eddie the Eagle, Jamaican Bobsled, Katarina Witt), and was in our time zone.

 

Perhaps they bid too much.

Rights fee for Sarajevo in 1984.. $91.5 million

Rights fee for Calgary in 1988.. $309 million (for reference, ABC paid $225 million for Los Angeles)

So yea, there's no "perhaps" on that one.  They did bid too much.  Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican bobsled team aren't exactly big draws for coverage so much as they make for good Hollywood movies.  There were plenty of good stories to highlight from Calgary, most notably from the figure skating, but the rights fee sunk them from the start.

For some more context.. WINTER OLYMPICS : Commentary : For ABC, It's Been Downhill

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1 hour ago, A-Money1983 said:

Interesting.

I'm curious as to why ABC lost so much money on Calgary.  It had the most stories that lead to cinema (Eddie the Eagle, Jamaican Bobsled, Katarina Witt), and was in our time zone.

 

Perhaps they bid too much.

1988 was the first time that the IOC controlled the TV rights negotiations.  Prior to 1988, the networks negotiated directly with the host city organizing committee, and the IOC got 1/3rd of the cut.  The IOC took control of the process ("in conjunction with" the organizing committee) after they got screwed on their cut of the rights fee for the LA Games.  ABC paid $225 million for the rights, but they claimed that $125 million of that was for "logistical purposes."  They determined that the true rights fee was only $100 million, so the IOC's cut was only $33 million.  The IOC put Dick Pound in charge of the U.S. negotiating process for the Calgary (and future) Games, but by that time ABC had already been in talks with the Calgary organizing committee.  When the IOC announced a truly competitive bid process between the U.S. networks, ABC thought they had a deal that once the bids got to a certain level (around $275 million, IIRC), the process would end and ABC would be declared the winner.  Instead, ABC and NBC duked it out until ABC bid $309 million and NBC folded.  In the end, ABC would have lost money even at the $275 million level, and there were other problems at the network at the time that compounded the loss, but that process (along with a number of management changes at ABC throughout the 80s and 90s) resulted in ABC never really making another serious bid for the U.S. TV rights.

ABC made a bad programming decision in Calgary to focus far too much attention on the U.S. hockey team.  Aside from the weekends, ABC had only 3 hours of coverage per day (8-11pm Eastern), plus a 30 minute late night show that had no actual sports coverage.  Four of the first seven nights of primetime were devoted almost entirely to showing live U.S. hockey games, with taped highlights of skiing and other events worked in during the intermissions.  The U.S. hockey team did poorly, the U.S. won only 6 medals at the entire Games (and only 1 in the first 7 days), and the ratings tanked.  They picked up in the second week with huge viewership for ladies' figure skating, but it was too late.

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Yet at the time, those 94 hours ABC broadcast from Calgary seemed like a lot. This was the first 16 day winter games and there were only 46 events on the schedule. There was a lot of dead time to fill (especially on days when the weather wreaked havoc on the schedule), which they did with hockey.They showed a lot more than just the US games, which I though was really cool at the time.

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9 hours ago, krow said:

o boy quaker, if missing the point were an olympic sport you'd have more gold medals than michael phelps.

this is NOT criticism of the US media in general, who we've established has a jealous incentive to tear down NBC. this is criticism of NBC's primetime coverage. that's it. sexism is rampant in all media? well of course it is. but that doesn't give NBC a free pass.

the hosszu comment was "taken out of context"??? oh, boy, i need to lie down for a minute. how is that comment taken out of context? katinka hosszu is a world-class athlete in the prime of her career having the olympics of her life. attributing her success to a man without even a hedeword of "helped" is so demeaning and dehumanizing. i told you we can't have this conversation and i meant it. i will not concede that comment was taken out of context. that comment was sexist. period, end of sentence.

I'm not asking you to give NBC a free pass.  I'm asking you to look at the bigger picture here and realize how the echo chamber of social media frames everyone's opinions on this one.  Particularly in this political election cycle where there's so much discourse about people trying to frame a narrative (I can already sense you rolling your eyes here), if people are hyper-sensitive to something, it's going to be easier to find it.  Which is to say if media in general is full of sexism, 1 person is going to point out a comment like this one, everyone else is going to jump on it and it's all going to build.  That's the echo chamber at work right there.

So let's look at the Hosszu comment.  I'm well aware - as I'm sure you are - of what was written about her relationship with her husband in the lead-up to the Olympics.  But are you actually taking Hicks' comment at face value or is it easier to have that fit your narrative?  Do you honestly think Hicks was trying to imply that the credit Hosszu's success all belongs to Tusup because he's her husband and not just her coach?  Michael Phelps is a world class athlete too.  Does he not have a coach who has helped him out?  If NBC pointed a camera at Bob Bowman and said "there's the man responsible for Michael Phelps' success," (and I'm betting at some point, that has actually happened), would you think the same thing of that comment?  Probably not because it doesn't fit a narrative that you're trying to create.  Again, I'm not disagreeing with the idea that NBC does that, but for you to look at that sentence on the surface and not realize there are many more layers to their relationship, maybe you'd realize that you think this comment is sexist because you want it to be sexist based on what you think Hicks is saying and your perception that NBC is trying to push an agenda.  That's framed by your bias of NBC's coverage.  And let me make it clear.. I'm not pointing a finger at you for taking something out of context or how you read it.  This is why this whole incident went viral, not simply because Hicks said something that could easily be taken as demeaning or dehumanizing..  What Is Everyone Trying To Tell Us About Katinka Hosszú And Her Hot-Tempered Coach-Husband?

11 hours ago, krow said:

researchers, if you read the link, are analyzing past coverage for specific phrases used for men vs. women and finding abundant cases of sexism. is there more sexism now than during atlanta (which i guess is what you're asking?), i have no idea, but it's entirely beside the point. the point is that this is 2016, right now, and it cannot continue into 2018. it's unacceptable. that's the point. if a sexist comment during primetime goes "unnoticed" that doesn't make it any less sexist and that doesn't make it any less unacceptable. do not defend or absolve NBC's sexism because it's par for the course.

I read the article.  Once again, I'm not trying to absolve NBC.  I'm merely pointing out this is all media (and not just the Olympics) that act this way.  You're absolutely right it should change, but it misses the point to make this issue then about NBC and their coverage of the Olympics.  Not to mention that some of the examples that are being used to try and prove a point don't necessarily prove that point.  Again, if you're looking harder for sexist comments, you're going to find them more easily and probably, to a fault, highlight comments that aren't actually as offensive as they seem, but it's easier to frame that way.  If those researchers come to the conclusion that coverage of these Olympics are most sexist than in the past, I'll take them at their word.

11 hours ago, krow said:

for the tenth time, this thread was started about NBC. my first reply was specific to NBC primetime. this entire thread is specifically directed to criticism of NBC's primetime coverage. that is the subject we are discussing. we are not discussing chicago newspapers or any other media other than NBC primetime. we are allowed to level criticism of primetime independent of other media coverage. 

I'm aware of that, but this is still where you need to acknowledge the echo chamber.  Someone points out a headline in a newspaper and says it's sexist (which, out of context, it is.. in it's original context that most people aren't aware of, not so much) and now you're looking that much harder for sexism in NBC's coverage and will point to any evidence that it's there that you might not have thought about if you didn't examine their coverage so closely.  If you find sexism in that coverage, that's your opinion, and I'm aware that's shared by a lot of other people.  But it's hard to deny where that close examination comes from when there's a desire to prove a point and back it up with any commentary that speaks to that point.  In that context, pointing to the Hosszu comment largely now frames your entire view of the rest of NBC's coverage.  That's the continuing problem with NBC having had the Olympics for so long.. far too easy to be jaded by years of what many think is awful coverage and point to that narrative and be able to say it's true.  Many of the criticisms are perfectly valid, but don't turn this conversation into "I don't want to talk to you unless you validate my opinion that NBC's coverage is sexist" as if this is some political discussion where I'm not allowed to look at this differently than you are.  Exclamation point.

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the editing was bad during this olympics. nothing atlanta gymnastics worthy, but still disingenuous for a (the) global sporting event. NBC apologists like you love to point out that they aired every single country during the PON, but then ignore it when they edit out entire countries from competitions because there's only so much time and most people care only about americans etc etc. i've heard it all before and i'm not impressed.

The editing has been bad every Olympics.  I'm not defending them on this one.  And not just the editing, but the programming decisions where they missed parts of events and expect you not to notice.  I'm not oblivious to the fact that this happens and when it is noticeable, even I'll call them out on it.  That's where I take umbrage to the "we are curating the telecasts for you" line, because on occasion that does serve a purpose.  Other times not so much.  There is still, however, a balance that needs to be found between showing every country (which, despite what people say, is not what they're looking for) and NBC cutting things down too far.  And the idea that Americans care more about Americans than non-Americans.. the ratings bear out that in general, that is factually correct, not simply some NBC spin that they're trying to shove down everyone's throats.

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ok, i agree with you, but do see my point about the networks driving coverage to primetime for 50+ years. we are living a different world, where people react (and are capable of reacting) much more quickly.

i don't know what to tell NBC, except that they should show the ceremonies live, and outnumber male commentators with women 2/1 for women's events, and rethink their narrative formula for the modern social media age. i think they can do better. the WOG are the perfect opportunity because there are fewer american superstars and more foreign winter superpowers that they can plausibly give airtime and soft features to (canada). i prefer the WOG anyway because the backdrop is all whitewashed and they have to work a lot harder to make us care. make them earn their billion-dollar contract.

 

I do see your point, but for everyone who said all these things 4 years ago, the ratings were as high as ever.  4 years later they're not.  And I do question if the world has changed that much in the past 4 years and if it has, is that responsible for the ratings drop we saw from London to Rio.  Even I took to Twitter when it was announced that NBC was going to time-shift the Opening Ceremony and got met with some resistance on that with the same ideas that I float at people here sometimes which is that NBC knows better and their research (plus that of the advertisers.. they play a big part in this as well) said this was the right move.  I didn't buy it then and for the little glimpses where it made some sense, I think that set a bad tone that may have hurt them throughout the Olympics.  Although to be fair, ratings for the trials were down from London, so perhaps we should have seen this coming.

I said it a number of times during these Olympics that maybe we have finally hit that crossroads where NBC needs to re-think their formula, not necessarily to tear it down and start from scratch, but to evolve what they're doing.  I believe they can do that without going back to the drawing board because they do need to start to reach that younger audience they're having trouble getting to consume the Olympics and that's no easy task once we're in Asia.

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I have been reading critiques of the track and field coverage devoting too little time to the "field".  I know a 2012 discus thrower in my city, who was especially upset.  It even lead to Dwight Stones leaving the network.

I really appreciate the OBS presentation and commentary.  I learned more about the Women's Triple Jump and Men's Pole Vault by how it would naturally build through the night, instead of being shoehorned into small 30-second updates.  

What also comes to mind is CBC's coverage which us shown more from a national perspective than a star perspective.  The only example I really have is the 2006 Winter Olympics DVD I have since NBC didn't have one that year.  I naturally learned more about Jenn Heil, Duff Gibson and Cindy Klassen than I did from most US Stars.  That was the same Olympics where Bode washed out, Jacobellis gained silver from a tortoise-and-hare style finish, infighting from speed skaters, which is tough for NBC being so narrative-driven.  There were still great stories such as Shaun White, Joey Cheek and Kwan's retirement, but the ratings suffered.  I'm not sure how they were in Canada.

The Torino tangent may seem a bit random, but that's one example of contrast I can think of.

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10 hours ago, Quaker2001 said:

I said it a number of times during these Olympics that maybe we have finally hit that crossroads where NBC needs to re-think their formula, not necessarily to tear it down and start from scratch, but to evolve what they're doing.  I believe they can do that without going back to the drawing board because they do need to start to reach that younger audience they're having trouble getting to consume the Olympics and that's no easy task once we're in Asia.

I completely agree - one thing we can say for certain is that the number of people under 40 who subscribe to cable is going to continue to decline.  Many of these people don't even have an antenna, so if the coverage isn't made available online (generally in short clips), they don't watch it at all.  I understand why NBC and most networks require authentication to watch streaming content, but if NBC wants to reach the younger audience, they're going to have to consider selling streaming packages directly.  There's a lot of untapped potential here - they could sell a full-Games package with access to everything, a one-day package, or sport-specific packages.  This isn't necessarily how NBC wants people to view the Games - they'd still prefer that people watch the TV coverage and use streaming to supplement instead of creating their own viewing experience without TV - but surely they could find a way to make this profitable on top of authentication for people who do have cable subscriptions.  Viewership for people under age 35 was down over 30% this year, so if NBC doesn't find a way to reach this audience quickly, they're going to lose an entire generation of Olympic viewers.

I do think there were a few factors outside of NBC's control that led to lower viewership this year.  In many parts of the country, school now starts in early-mid August, which means that a lot of families were gearing up to go back to school and perhaps taking end-of-summer vacations.  (Yes, the Beijing Games began on August 8th, but fewer people were taking vacations that year due to the tanking economy and $4+/gallon gas prices.)  I also think all of the negative press (about Rio, Zika, doping, etc.) led to reduced enthusiasm for these Games.  Once the competition started, viewership did pick up considerably during the first week, but I attribute the 30% drop for the first two nights largely to the fact the people just weren't that excited for Rio.

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If old geezer (and cord cutter) me was able to get both an online NBC account as well as see coverage from other countries, I'm sure the kids under 35 who wanted to watch were able to do it as well. Current broadcast/profit models are breaking down. Some creative folks need to figure this out.

Just curious... anyone here order the Olympic Triplecast back in '92?

tumblr_inline_obm7kjfm5G1r18uik_540.png

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Given that NBC is so narrative-driven, does anyone think the Refugee Team was a missed opportunity for them?

 

Aside from a Jimmy Roberts' story on the first full day, which I really liked, there was very little said about them here in the States.  If I wasn't the hardcore aficionado that keeps track of everything, there's no way I would've known how they did.

My best guess is they didn't want to hype someone up, and see them finish 40th or 56th.  It's hard enough for them when one of the household names finishes off the podium.

More could have been said about Yusra Mardini winning her heat, or Popole Misenga winning his opening round in Judo.

Same goes for Majlinda Kelmindi winning Kosovo's first-ever medal- it being gold.

I did like how rugby was covered on the other networks. However, I could see that doing well in prime time because it is a contact sport and the games are finished in 20 minutes.  Fiji is also a team real easy to get behind.  USA  is also easy to follow, because they had an NFL player and Carlin Isles is so unbelievably quick!

I probably seem anti-NBC, but I'm not… I just wanted them to relive the same success from Vancouver and London!

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2 hours ago, A-Money1983 said:

What also comes to mind is CBC's coverage which us shown more from a national perspective than a star perspective.  The only example I really have is the 2006 Winter Olympics DVD I have since NBC didn't have one that year.  I naturally learned more about Jenn Heil, Duff Gibson and Cindy Klassen than I did from most US Stars.  That was the same Olympics where Bode washed out, Jacobellis gained silver from a tortoise-and-hare style finish, infighting from speed skaters, which is tough for NBC being so narrative-driven.  There were still great stories such as Shaun White, Joey Cheek and Kwan's retirement, but the ratings suffered.  I'm not sure how they were in Canada.

The Torino tangent may seem a bit random, but that's one example of contrast I can think of.

When I was in college (late 90s/early 2000s), I was fortunate enough to have a cable TV system that somehow pumped in CBC from Canada.  So I got to experience that side by side with NBC (and CBS for 1998) to compare and contrast.  CBC's coverage is less reality show than NBC's, but when you say "national perspective," they'll make sure you know when there's a Canadian in an event, as much if not moreso than NBC pointing out the Americans.  And for all that we'll remember Rio for the Ryan Lochte mess, I've seen Brian Williams lose any and all objectivity when, say, Ross Rebagliati gets stipped of his medal, or Sale/Pelletier get screwed out of gold.  As for Torino (not that random), yes NBC suffered from their big names not doing well.  The irony is that the US finished 2nd in the medal count (repeating their finish from Salt Lake), but the lack of star power hurt them.  

2 hours ago, A-Money1983 said:

I have been reading critiques of the track and field coverage devoting too little time to the "field".  I know a 2012 discus thrower in my city, who was especially upset.  It even lead to Dwight Stones leaving the network.

I really appreciate the OBS presentation and commentary.  I learned more about the Women's Triple Jump and Men's Pole Vault by how it would naturally build through the night, instead of being shoehorned into small 30-second updates.  

Here's the thing about those critiques.. how many people actually are interested in watching an entire field competition (which is available via streaming).  Yes, there should be more extensive coverage and I thought that's what NBCSN would serve, but it's one of those things that people say they want more of but wouldn't necessarily consume it in big numbers.  Yea, the OBS coverage is a lot more raw and honest and there is a market for that (as the Triplecast - in spite of awful marketing - proved in 1992), but viewers would be turned off if NBC stayed there for large chunks of time.  That's 1 of those unfortunate truths that most people don't seem to realize.

2 hours ago, A-Money1983 said:

I also wonder if the high marks that have been given to the streaming service can also be attributed to the knowledge and presentation from the OBS.

No.  The high marks this time around are due to the fact it actually worked well, whereas it didn't so much with London.  Only hardcore Olympic fans like us care about things like knowledge and presentation, and again, streaming is there to be a mostly raw feed of these events, so that's what people are expecting and getting when they consume that coverage.

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54 minutes ago, zekekelso said:

If old geezer (and cord cutter) me was able to get both an online NBC account as well as see coverage from other countries, I'm sure the kids under 35 who wanted to watch were able to do it as well. Current broadcast/profit models are breaking down. Some creative folks need to figure this out.

Not to the extent many people want to believe.  The status quo may not be working as well as it has, but it's still working.  Ratings from these past Olympics notwithstanding, the formula live sports is what is keeping the status quo in place.  There may come a point where that bubble bursts, but we're not quite there yet.

As for the Olympics.. a lot of people say they will go to coverage from other countries, but we've been hearing that for years now and I still don't buy it as a legitimate threat.  I do think NBC needs to find a way to draw in cord cutters.  I know in Australia they offered some sort of pay-per-view like online package for all the streaming and that's something NBC should strongly consider.  But now that streaming of all events is there to a majority of people out there, how many people are going to go through the steps of accessing coverage from another country?  I know it's not a difficult thing to do, especially for anyone with any semblance of technical knowledge, but it means using up your Internet bandwidth to watch a less-than-ideal quality version of something you can get anyway.  There are people driven to do that, but many probably would look at it and figure it's not worth the trouble.  Different for us here, who remain interested in and talk about the Olympics the rest of the year, to want to look at other countries' coverage as a basis of comparison rather than a primary outlet because NBC's coverage is so abhorrent that we'll go to lengths to find an alternative.  Most people are too lazy to go that route.

1 hour ago, zekekelso said:

Just curious... anyone here order the Olympic Triplecast back in '92?

tumblr_inline_obm7kjfm5G1r18uik_540.png

I wanted my parents to get it, but our cable system at the time wasn't properly set up with the right PPV access to get it.  For all the marketing missteps they made with the Triplecast, that turned off a couple of potential customers that would have otherwise been interested in purchasing the package.

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1 hour ago, A-Money1983 said:

Given that NBC is so narrative-driven, does anyone think the Refugee Team was a missed opportunity for them?

 

Aside from a Jimmy Roberts' story on the first full day, which I really liked, there was very little said about them here in the States.  If I wasn't the hardcore aficionado that keeps track of everything, there's no way I would've known how they did.

My best guess is they didn't want to hype someone up, and see them finish 40th or 56th.  It's hard enough for them when one of the household names finishes off the podium.

More could have been said about Yusra Mardini winning her heat, or Popole Misenga winning his opening round in Judo.

Same goes for Majlinda Kelmindi winning Kosovo's first-ever medal- it being gold.

I did like how rugby was covered on the other networks. However, I could see that doing well in prime time because it is a contact sport and the games are finished in 20 minutes.  Fiji is also a team real easy to get behind.  USA  is also easy to follow, because they had an NFL player and Carlin Isles is so unbelievably quick!

I probably seem anti-NBC, but I'm not… I just wanted them to relive the same success from Vancouver and London!

There are 11,000+ athletes, 300+ events, and 200+ countries at the Olympics.  You can't play that game where you ask "well, maybe NBC should have covered more of this or that" as if that would have lead to higher ratings.  Didn't you say earlier that " Maybe the perfect formula is accentuate more finals, leave heats to the streaming, and keep the human stories the way they are."  You cannot give a big stage to every individual athlete out there just because they win a heat or an opening round.  Like you said, that's what streaming is for.  I know this is the Olympics where we sometimes celebrate these things, but you can't just throw out random names that no one has ever heard of and say "this person's story should have gotten some airtime" when there are 11,000 stories to be told in a very short amount of time.

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Yes, I said those things.  But, I do think the Refugee Team was a unique novelty with great storytelling potential- especially for NBC.  It just seems like a PB&J fit.  Maybe it's the Bud Greenspan element in me.  I know they couldn't tease them as "coming up," only to finish 40th or 50th, for the same reason they couldn't overhype the Tongan flag bearer- and see him lose 16-1 to the Iranian.  On the broadcast end, I heard more about the ROT from Bach's protocols than I did from NBC's coverage. (Roberts story aside)  More could've been said without requiring a seismic shift in programming.

As for the field events, I watched OBS when they staggered every race along with it, so no I wouldn't watch a field event in it entirety alone.  It was nice seeing the finalists with their own introduction, as the numbers would dwindle down.  Once they reached the medals, I knew who they were.  Not just a random girl from Colombia.  My only regret from watching OBS on super Sunday is not seeing NBC's story on van Niekerk.

 

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NBC has been a bunch of overpaying-suckers for some time, and that's on them.   

With so many alternate uses for discretionary time, US society in general--and under-40's in particular--just aren't into watching sports competitions that much anymore, beyond perhaps their favorite pro or college major sports (US football, baseball, basketball) team.   My wild @ss estimates:  out of 300,000,000 population, maybe 5,000,000 have significant to passionate interest in the Olympic Games across all sports, another 20,000,000 have considerable interest but only in one or a small number of sports and maybe the Ceremonies, and another 35,000,000 are happy to watch if it's interesting and convenient.   The rest are either children,  comatose, disinterested, or irritated that their normal prime-time and daytime programming has been disrupted.   

If you frame the equation as not having 300,000,000 "potential pairs of eyeballs"  but instead having a country of more like 60,000,000 (5 + 20 + 35 MM) pairs of eyeballs, I think you consider the financials in an entirely different light.   The lack of "conversion" of the younger adult demographic is particularly troubling to the networks and I'm not sure that "more and better technology to reach them" is any sort of magic bullet.   

I am sure that the NBC fossils executives that put together the broadcast coverage need to be retired/replaced.   The executives can take some of their commentators out to pasture with them--start with Trautwig.  Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Rio's worse-than-expected ratings wasn't so much an aberration, but a more extreme result of a negative trend that's been going on with Olympics for a long time.   However, I wouldn't put the entire burden on NBC and its own failings; a lot of this is societal shift and that may not be reversable under any combination of content + technology.  The interest of American society in the Olympics may have peaked some time ago.   I do think the Olympic Games as currently presented by the IOC is also part of the problem but that's a different topic thread.

 

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I hear all the Baby Boomers describe the "glory days" when it was always the US amateurs vs. the dopers from the Eastern Bloc. Now, it's just first to the finish line, etc.. instead of us vs. them.

Interest is there, according to the number of streams distributed.  It's just suffering on the network side for the second Games in a row.  I'm just trying to figure out ways the presentation could've been better, because I hate hearing how the ratings are down.  Yeah Michael, Usain, Simone, other Simone are great..  But, there were other great stories untold.

I also don't think low ratings are a reflection on poor competition.  Sydney had lower ratings than Athens, although it was far superior from an athletic and logistical standpoint.  NBC couldn't do anything about the mid-September start and the 16-hour time difference.  I also don't remember that much hype and promotion for it.  (I watched the whole Games on YouTube many, many years later.)

Rio didn't have any of those detractors and ran promos constantly on NBC, as well as the branch networks- going back as far as Super Bowl 49.

It also had the greatest sprinter, swimmer, and gymnast of our generation competing for the same Olympiad... Not to mention the other great side stories- Brazil soccer (not a side story to them), Fiji rugby, Refugee Team.

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5 hours ago, A-Money1983 said:

Yes, I said those things.  But, I do think the Refugee Team was a unique novelty with great storytelling potential- especially for NBC.  It just seems like a PB&J fit.  Maybe it's the Bud Greenspan element in me.  I know they couldn't tease them as "coming up," only to finish 40th or 50th, for the same reason they couldn't overhype the Tongan flag bearer- and see him lose 16-1 to the Iranian.  On the broadcast end, I heard more about the ROT from Bach's protocols than I did from NBC's coverage. (Roberts story aside)  More could've been said without requiring a seismic shift in programming.

PB&J fit?  Oy.  You had the Roberts feature, which not so coincidentally ran the day after the Opening Ceremony.  There's a thousand different things that "more could've been said" about.  That's where everyone is going to have their own preferences as to what they wanted to see more of.  There's only so much time and far too many athletes out there who have a story to tell.

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As for the field events, I watched OBS when they staggered every race along with it, so no I wouldn't watch a field event in it entirety alone.  It was nice seeing the finalists with their own introduction, as the numbers would dwindle down.  Once they reached the medals, I knew who they were.  Not just a random girl from Colombia.  My only regret from watching OBS on super Sunday is not seeing NBC's story on van Niekerk.

LOL, again the irony here that NBC ran a feature on someone and you didn't see it because you were checking out another segment of the coverage.  That's how it goes with the Olympics.  It's impossible to consume everything and be informed about everything and everyone.  So you do the best you can to consume what you want.

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I actually watched on average seven hours a day, in the process- kept a journal of the daily events (medalist nations) overall medal table, USA medalists, USA team events, Refugee Olympic Team, other notable medalists as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.  And, I'd run a highlighter over the US athletes (from a USA roster), as well as events where USA would medal. 

I plan to do something similar for the Paralympics, but a lot less extensive.  There are too many classifications for me to catch every event one-by-one, so I will zero in on the events with Jessica Long, Tatyana McFadden, Bradley Snyder, Lex Gilette, Alana Nichols and Oksana Masters.  I'll probably try to catch all of the team events (wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, goalball, sitting volleyball).  The Olympic process was rather exhausting for even a diehard fan as myself, so I imagine the casual fan will not be as knowledgeable.  Honestly, there were a few sports where I'd watch for two minutes at a time, and the rover to something else.

To me, it's a hobby- much like how someone else can sculpt a statue, paint a picture, build a model railroad.  This was probably the most work I've ever done, and found myself needing a break at some point.

That said, it also gives me an eagles-eye view on ALL of the sports, so it's easy for me to spot the stories most people might have normally missed.  Seeing it so comprehensively makes it easy to see how very few know about Majlinda Kelmendi, Isaquias Queiroz, and the triumph/tragedy of the German Canoe/Kayak team.

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3 hours ago, A-Money1983 said:

I actually watched on average seven hours a day, in the process- kept a journal of the daily events (medalist nations) overall medal table, USA medalists, USA team events, Refugee Olympic Team, other notable medalists as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.  And, I'd run a highlighter over the US athletes (from a USA roster), as well as events where USA would medal. 

I plan to do something similar for the Paralympics, but a lot less extensive.  There are too many classifications for me to catch every event one-by-one, so I will zero in on the events with Jessica Long, Tatyana McFadden, Bradley Snyder, Lex Gilette, Alana Nichols and Oksana Masters.  I'll probably try to catch all of the team events (wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, goalball, sitting volleyball).  The Olympic process was rather exhausting for even a diehard fan as myself, so I imagine the casual fan will not be as knowledgeable.  Honestly, there were a few sports where I'd watch for two minutes at a time, and the rover to something else.

To me, it's a hobby- much like how someone else can sculpt a statue, paint a picture, build a model railroad.  This was probably the most work I've ever done, and found myself needing a break at some point.

That said, it also gives me an eagles-eye view on ALL of the sports, so it's easy for me to spot the stories most people might have normally missed.  Seeing it so comprehensively makes it easy to see how very few know about Majlinda Kelmendi, Isaquias Queiroz, and the triumph/tragedy of the German Canoe/Kayak team.

You kept a journal?  Not sure if I find that impressive or just wacky.  I do admire your dedication and this is coming from someone who has made it his mission to record every hour of Olympic coverage I can dating back to Albertville in 1992.  And it was most definitely a daunting task for this past Olympics.

Yea, I guess it is easier for you to spot stories.  But again, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of them out there.  And nothing quite drives interest and ratings in this country like the big stars.  That's not just NBC's narrative, either.  That's playing to the audience that is the United States.  We see it in other sports leagues as well, so I wouldn't expect the Olympics to be any different in that regard.

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11 hours ago, jiejie said:

NBC has been a bunch of overpaying-suckers for some time, and that's on them.   

Overpaying suckers, yes.  But in spite of that, they (so they claim) have made money on more Olympics than they've lost it on.  It's almost crazy to think how much more money they might have made if they didn't over-bid so badly a couple of times.  The big question for them is can they continue to see increases in ad revenue to match the rights fees going up.

11 hours ago, jiejie said:

NBC has been a bunch of overpaying-suckers for some time, and that's on them.   

With so many alternate uses for discretionary time, US society in general--and under-40's in particular--just aren't into watching sports competitions that much anymore, beyond perhaps their favorite pro or college major sports (US football, baseball, basketball) team.   My wild @ss estimates:  out of 300,000,000 population, maybe 5,000,000 have significant to passionate interest in the Olympic Games across all sports, another 20,000,000 have considerable interest but only in one or a small number of sports and maybe the Ceremonies, and another 35,000,000 are happy to watch if it's interesting and convenient.   The rest are either children,  comatose, disinterested, or irritated that their normal prime-time and daytime programming has been disrupted. 

If you frame the equation as not having 300,000,000 "potential pairs of eyeballs"  but instead having a country of more like 60,000,000 (5 + 20 + 35 MM) pairs of eyeballs, I think you consider the financials in an entirely different light.   The lack of "conversion" of the younger adult demographic is particularly troubling to the networks and I'm not sure that "more and better technology to reach them" is any sort of magic bullet.   

That's one of the stupidest things I've ever read here.  Please tell me that comment is directed at "sports competitions like the Olympics" and not sports in general.  Pro football is the highest rated show on television these days and the audiences are as big now as they've ever been.  It's not just people watching their favorite teams.  Live sports are one of the biggest sources of ad revenue in all of television.    US society in general hasn't stopped using their discretionary time on sports.  If that were the case, we wouldn't have literally dozens of niche cable networks dedicated to sports.  I don't know where you could possibly get that idea from.

As for your wild ass estimate, here's a hard ass fact.. 217 million people in the United States watch at least part of the London Olympics (I don't know if there is a number out there for Rio yet).  Yes, that includes people that may have only watched a few minutes as opposed to those who tuned in day after day.  Either way, NBC would be extremely foolish to say to themselves that 4 out of every 5 Americans aren't interested in the Olympics and to completely write them off.  A network like NBC isn't a niche product like an all-sports network that can afford to only promote itself to a segment of the audience.  They're angling for everyone out there.  The Summer Olympics are taking place at a time where there's not much else going on in terms of major events, television or otherwise.  So if they have an event that can draw millions of people night after night and out-drawing everything else on network TV by a significant margin, that's a win for them.  The enormous price of the Olympics notwithstanding, there's nothing out there short of the Super Bowl (and even that only has an average audience of around 110 million, approximately 1/3 of the country) that can draw more than 35 million people.  If that's what NBC gets in primetime for the Olympics, that's a big number for them.

Your last point however is extremely accurate.  Audiences for a lot of things on television, including sports, are trending older as the younger crowd are less likely to be cable subscribers than in the past.  Better technology is not a magic bullet, but it's definitely a good place to start.  Either way, it's not a demographic that NBC can or should ignore and it needs to be a major part of their strategy going forward to try and reach that audience.

12 hours ago, jiejie said:

I am sure that the NBC fossils executives that put together the broadcast coverage need to be retired/replaced.   The executives can take some of their commentators out to pasture with them--start with Trautwig.  Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Rio's worse-than-expected ratings wasn't so much an aberration, but a more extreme result of a negative trend that's been going on with Olympics for a long time.   However, I wouldn't put the entire burden on NBC and its own failings; a lot of this is societal shift and that may not be reversable under any combination of content + technology.  The interest of American society in the Olympics may have peaked some time ago.   I do think the Olympic Games as currently presented by the IOC is also part of the problem but that's a different topic thread.

Which executives would that be?  The ones who will be claiming a giant profit from these past Olympics in spite of worse than projected ratings?  That's a big deal going forward, and something the execs need to look at it.

As for negative trends for a long time, you're talking out of your ass again.  Ratings from Beijing to London went UP, not down.  By many measures, London was 1 of the most-watched Olympics in a long long time.  So no, Rio is not the continuation of a trend.  Maybe if you base it off Sochi, but if you're looking back at London, this is something new.  NBC's supposedly tired old formula had been producing positive results until this Olympics.  It's completely untrue to point out a trend when no such thing exists.  All the claims of "this doesn't work anymore" didn't really hold true in London.  So you can't point to the numbers from Rio and say now that it didn't work for a long time when 4 years ago shows that wasn't the case.

I do agree that interest in the Olympics has waned over the years for a variety of reasons.  The IOC probably hasn't helped matters.  And yes, it is a difficult road NBC has ahead of them to address.  But make no mistake.. this is the Olympics that offers evidence that NBC needs to change how they present the Olympics.  It is not the culmination of a trend.  It's something brand new.  NBC is not insane.  They did the same thing over and over because it made them money (Vancouver being an exception there, but that was due to a soft advertising market following the financial crisis, and of course a big time over-payment on the rights fees), so no, they didn't expect a different result.  This time they got one.  The only thing that saved them was a strong advertising market in the lead-up, perhaps from those who felt the ratings would be there.  And NBC needs to be careful if they all come back now that the numbers bear out NBC didn't deliver what was expected of them.

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but doesn't NBC have to pay some of that ad money back since they didn't deliver what they promised in terms of ratings?

*and as for the sexism conversation, that's doa. i told you i wouldn't, so if you want to play "but what if the sexism really isn't sexism?" despite the hard research and evidence i presented, then you can feel fucking free to do that somewhere else. the rest of us -- who live in reality -- will continue to hold NBC responsible for its outdated and unacceptable behavior. obviously you don't. i feel really bad for the women in your life who have to deal with your casual apologist behavior to everyday sexism but whatever. this isn't a youtube comment section so we don't have to have this discussion.

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