Putting NBC’s Terrible Olympic Coverage Into Context

Will Leitch takes the sane approach:

There’s a good argument to be made that networks and corporations should pay utmost heed to what their diehard customers want, rather than just be blandly generalist. If you make your most loyal customers happy, they’ll stick with you during down periods, providing you a solid customer base. But the Olympics are absolutely not the time to make that argument. There are no loyalist Olympic fans. This is an event that comes around every two years, featuring sports that, in any other context, no one cares about. There is no solid customer base. Everyone’s just dabbling, so NBC is selling accordingly. The Olympics are a two-week episode of the “Today” show, pitched at that level and sold accordingly. It’s the only way to do it.


I believe that NBC has screwed up a ton at these Olympics, particularly with some of its ridiculous decisions during the Opening Ceremonies. I agree with almost all the frustrations. But who cares what I think? I am not the target audience for NBC. Its target audience is people who watch television at night and then go to bed and then work all the next day until they watch television when they get home. They are normal people, who actually like not knowing the results of the television program they’re about to watch. They have real jobs. They are, quite simply, America, and there’s a lot more of them than there are of us on Twitter. So relax, everybody. It’ll all be over in a couple weeks, and then we will forget all about any of this.

His entire piece is worth reading for a bit of a reality check for those of us that live and breath on the Internet. It’s unfortunately, however, that NBC could strike the right balance between appeasing the Internet masses and those watching the tape-delays. Honestly, I doubt very much the audiences crossover much. Putting live coverage online won’t ruin the ratings for those waiting to watch on television.

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