CBS President Indicates He Likely Would Utilize Tape-Delay Strategy For Olympics
CBS President & CEO Les Moonves “supports NBC's primetime-first strategy” in its coverage of the London Games, according to Andrea Morabito of BROADCASTING & CABLE. Moonves said, "They had no alternative to do that. What are they going to do in primetime? They would have had to show events at 5 o'clock in the morning." He added, "They don't happen that way. If you don't want to know the result, don't go online. If you want to know the result, go online. But I don't know what people expected of them and I think they're doing a very good job of balancing it. I really do." Moonves also said that if the Olympics aired on CBS, he would “most likely employ the same tape-delay strategy to preserve the primetime viewership” (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 7/30).
SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST: The NATIONAL POST’s Eric Koreen wrote the “same hand-wringing happens every two years with NBC,” and it “will not change.” NBC took a “financial beating in Vancouver, so high remains the price of winning Olympic broadcasting rights.” NBC “needs the Olympics, especially the Summer Olympics, as much to be a launching pad for its fall programming as for immediate advertising revenue” (NATIONALPOST.com, 7/30). In Chicago, Richard Roeper notes NBC “packages the elite sports events into tape-delayed prime-time packages because it translates into ratings gold.” Much of the “whining on Twitter seems laughably naïve” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/31). In L.A., Scott Collins writes, “Surprisingly, audiences seem blithely unconcerned even about spoilers.” Univ. of Alabama sports media professor Andrew Billings said, "If people are really hating the Olympic coverage, they have an odd way of showing it, as ratings are terrific by almost any objective measure" (L.A. TIMES, 7/31). More Billings: "The ratings are surprising to me. I thought social media would be more of a detriment than an attribute. I thought more people would not tune in because they knew the results" (AP, 7/30).
SPOIL SPORT: In N.Y., Michael Starr notes the London Games are being called the "Twitter Olympics" because of the "huge impact -- good and bad -- that the super-quick social media is having on NBC.” But so far, with partners like Twitter, NBC “must be asking who needs enemies?” Not only is NBC “being pilloried for different aspects of its coverage, but Twitter users are playing spoiler by posting results well before the events air on TV.” It “appears as if sites like Twitter may actually be driving more viewers to watch” (N.Y. POST, 7/31). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Rosman, Holmes & Stewart write the “hope is that people gorging on Twitter and blogs all day long will continue talking about the live events -- even if the talk is negative -- and that talk will keep pushing up the prime-time audience” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/31).
A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME: In Baltimore, David Zurawik cited analysts as saying that the “disconnect between NBC’s success on TV and failure in social media highlights not only the landmark transformation taking place in media these days, but also the radical change in audience expectations and behavior.” City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis said, “This kind of reaction to tape delay in Olympics coverage has always been there. People have never liked it. But now with Twitter, you can hear the complaints from the people formerly known as the audience” (Baltimore SUN, 7/31). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes by the ’16 Rio Games, when there will be “more technological advances in the way we get our information, a tipping point will be reached.” NBC will be “forced to put its tired format on ice and come up with something new” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/31). In Pittsburgh, Dejan Kovacevic wrote, “NBC’s executives think people will willfully tune out everything just to better enjoy their prime-time programming? That rates somewhere between arrogant and astoundingly stupid” (TRIBLIVE.com, 7/30). Blogger Ed Sherman wrote, “I’ll watch primetime, because that’s what I do. But I won’t enjoy it as much if I know who won and lost” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 7/30).
LATE-NIGHT LAUGHS: NBC's tape-delay coverage is drawing some notice from the late-night talk show hosts. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert said, “The London Olympics are finally underway. I tell you, there is nothing like the thrill of seeing Team USA triumph in an Internet headline and then waiting to see it confirmed on NBC seven hours later” (“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central, 7/30). Meanwhile, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart said of NBC editing out a tribute to British terrorist victims during the Opening Ceremony, “NBC, the network that to commemorate 9/11, actually re-runs 9/11. You wouldn’t air a six-minute tribute to the rest of the world’s terrorist victims because the world’s most overexposed land-based mammal (Ryan Seacrest) had a chance to speak with world’s most over-exposed water-based mammal (Michael Phelps)” (“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central, 7/30).