August 6, 2016
Olympics tape delay is a relic of the past
While Canadians watched the Olympic opening ceremonies live on TV and swapped reactions on Twitter, Americans seethed as they waited for NBC’s notorious tape delay.
Commentary, pictures, even the occasional video were all there under the hashtag #OpeningCeremony — making it all the more obvious to U.S. viewers that they were being left behind.
Americans living near the border could turn to CBC, but most were left to grind their teeth or voice expletives.
NBC’s bizarre explanation was some gibberish about women and reality shows. I’ve read this missive three times and still find it baffling.
More women watch the Games than men, and for the women, they’re less interested in the result and more interested in the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and mini-series wrapped into one.
The statement has been called patronizing and straight out of the ’70s.
I’m pretty sure the whole thing comes down to executives thinking the network would get better ratings this way. They know they’re pissing some viewers off, but they figure those people are a vocal minority.
There may be some truth to that, but criticisms over tape delays go back at least six years for both winter and summer Olympics.
People pay plenty for cable TV in an age where it’s more and more tempting to cut the cord and go with streaming services like Netflix.
What stops many people is the idea of losing live (as opposed to tape-delayed) news and sports. The norm these days is instant gratification. And an increasing number of people are becoming tech-savvy enough to find ways of getting around artificial limitations.
NBC ignores this at its peril.