You don’t need to spend more than three seconds on the Internet before you see someone complaining about the tape delay of major Summer Games events by NBC.
It’s actually not a horrible idea, when you think about it — ratings are typically down in the summer, especially in the afternoon. So while it will upset the viewers who are available to watch the big events live, keep in mind most people aren’t going to be sitting around on a Sunday afternoon, waiting for a two-minute swimming final to go down.
Saving it for the prime-time crowd is the best way to get the ratings for the event NBC paid billions to broadcast. If it was your money, you’d do the same.
The gripes of the masses won’t matter, because NBC gets to show the biggest events to the most people by putting the premier matchups on their stations in the middle of the evening. Maybe in 2016, when the Summer Games are in Brazil (only an hour ahead of Eastern Time), we won’t be dealing with tape delays. But they’re here to stay for the London Games.
It has led to some awesome parody accounts on Twitter:
BREAKING: Orville and Wilbur Wright’s machine flies.
— NBC Delayed (@NBCDelayed) July 30, 2012
But it also brings out a bigger question: why are people upset with writers’ spoilers as they tweet and write about live events we won’t see for five hours? To me, a writer, that’s a little unfair.
It’s not a writer’s job to withhold stories they’re writing until the event “happens.” They’re in London to do their job, and they can’t be catering to the small percentage of readers whose day is ruined because they found out the result of an event before it is shown on tv.
Additionally, most people are still going to watch the event five hours later, even if they already know what happens. If an American won the event, wouldn’t you still tune in to watch?
I know I would. NBC knows that, and they’re still pulling in great ratings as a result.
What do you think — are you upset about the tape delays or are you OK with them?