NBC’s Olympic Coverage Takes a Social Media Beating Online
By John P. Mello Jr.
More television viewers than ever are parking their eyeballs on NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games, but the network is getting hammered online for everything from advertising placement to delayed coverage of events to lame commentary.
Over the weekend, NBC says it racked up record-breaking numbers for Olympic viewing. The U.S. audience for the opening ceremony, although delayed seven hours, garnered 40.7 million viewers, and Saturday’s primetime audience reached 28.7 million, two million more than watched the 1996 games in Atlanta in that time slot.
The network, though, may be setting another record, one for tweets by disgruntled watchers. Among the hashtags where grousing about the network has been posted are #nbcfail, #nbcdelayed and #nbcsucks.
Tweets Mock NBC’s Delayed Events
Tape delays of events have spawned a stream of tweets mocking NBC’s sense of timeliness in covering events. Those tweets are typically slugged with “BREAKING” followed by news such as “Orville and Wilbur Wright’s machine flies,” “Mark Spitz wins gold in 100m freestyle,” and “Roman Emperor Theodosius bans Olympic Games, NBC delay to catch up shortly.”
Other tweeters address the event delays more directly. “NBC—Not Broadcasting Coverage of the Olympics until 5 hours later,” complained Tochi Notgunnatellya.
Another Twitter subscriber, Mark Jaquith, added: “BREAKING: USA wins gold medal in synchronized NBC bashing. Tune in to NBC tomorrow for coverage of the event.”
Advertising has been a burr to many Olympic watchers on Twitter. “Is car advertising an Olympic sport?” asked Guy Adams, of the Independent. “There’s been little else on NBC today.”
“#NBCSUCKS with random commercials during live Internet feeds,” complained Jill Harmon. “Right in the middle of a gymnastics routine!”
Commentary by the Peacock Network has also been a target of derision on Twitter. “NBC just described women Olympian gymnasts as emotional divas,” Jodi Hicks reported. “Male athletes are determined and passionate.”
Perceived athletic jingoism by the NBC team drew this left-handed jibe from Twitter subscriber T–W: “Another thing that’s amazing: BBC’s commentators aren’t afraid to praise other countries who deserve it.”
Complaints About NBC Live Streaming
While NBC is offering live streaming of Olympic events, its Internet presence hasn’t been working smoothly for some of its Twitter critics. “It’s just taken me an hour to log into NBC streaming Olympics coverage,” reported Neva Renee García.
Its app isn’t faring much better for some. “NBC live app total fail,” wrote Meoskop. “Ads load but not Olympics.”
Twitter had its own problems leading up to the Olympic Games. The day before the opening ceremony, the site went down for about an hour and half.
According to a number of media watchers and IT professionals, the Olympics will have a significant impact on worldwide communications traffic so more disruptions may be in the cards for Twitter users. NBC, though, probably won’t be complaining when such outages occur.