Will NBC’s Olympics broadcast finally meet viewer’s expectations?
NBC will broadcast Winter Olympics from South Korea live across all U.S. time zones next year, finally breaking the old strategy of delaying coverage. With that move, NBC wants to provide instant access to Olympic events, so live coverage from Pyeongchang will be airing throughout the day, in prime time and late at night. Replays of prime-time coverage will broadcast late at night too. According to the network, viewers will be able to watch the Games on NBC, NBCSN and across the networks of NBC Universal, as well as online – on NBCOlympics.com – where every Olympic event will be available to stream live and on-demand, as it will be on mobile devices if you download the NBC Sports app.
That means social media won’t be ahead of the action in any time zone, and as a result, none of our viewers will have to wait for anything. This is exciting news for the audience, the advertisers, and our affiliates alike.Jim Bell
Stay in the Olympic spirit 24/7, 365. You're welcome.— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) June 15, 2017
Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA is coming July 15! pic.twitter.com/G5hJ3E0TKU
NBC’s tape delaying has long been criticized by viewers who were exposed to spoilers which then ruined all the excitement of a live global event as such. Complaints intensified during Rio Olympics last summer, when Americans were pretty annoyed with sports events playing out in one timeline on NBC’s TV networks and in another on social media.
Even though NBC Olympics and Facebook started their collaboration in 2012 for the London Olympics, only since last year they announced their “Most Live Olympics Ever” motto, under which they offered about 7000 hours of live coverage on TV and streaming platforms, but also published highlights and recap videos of the events in Rio to Facebook and Instagram, as well as broadcast interviews with athletes and commentators directly to Facebook via Facebook Live video tool. Those videos have been available to U.S. Facebook users through NBC’s Facebook page. Regardless of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to make Facebook a new TV with possible live streams of the actual competitions, NBC limited that access to broadcast networks only.
This partnership is about reaching fans on Facebook and Instagram with NBC’s great and compelling Olympic content. It’s about fueling the Olympic conversation and driving interest in watching the Games.Gary Zenkel
Yes, it took the Olympics a very long time to get with the social media program, but that was primarily because all this time „…the International Olympics Committee (IOC) wanted to control the way the Olympics are perceived, that they didn’t even want athletes to take photos”, said Olympic historian David Wallechinsky. It’s different now though. They have finally realized that social media can work in their favour. IOC have changed their conservative rules about sharing photos so „athletes are now allowed to use social media to broadcast their own Olympic experience, with certain guideline restrictions.“
In last ten or so years, Olympics have become very popular on social networks. Some of you might remember the rush of tweets and hashtags regarding Beijing Olympics in 2008 when Twitter was still a very young social network. And you also might remeber the following Summer Olympics in London in 2012, when Twitter established itself as the leading social platform for all the live updates of the games, that even media labeled it „The Twitter Olympics”.
According to The International Olympic Committee, during the Sochi Winter Games in 2014, Olympics’ social media ‘exploded’; there was a large increase of new followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as more than half million new fans on VKontakte (VK), the most popular social network in the world for Russian speaking population. Apparently, around 3 million visitors in total were recorded on Olympics social platforms in February 2014, when the 2014 Winter Games were held. Instagram, however, was host to several channels dedicated to the Olympics and is on top as a photo sharing platform so it’s very convenient for athletes to share their own favorite moments while interacting with their fans.
NBC recently closed the deals with Snapchat and BuzzFeed again. Not only will two famous social media have exclusive original content and coverage from the next Winter Olympics, but NBC and BuzzFeed will work on the production of content which will appear on Snapchat Stories every day, but again, for U.S. social media users only. NBC already cooperated with Snapchat during Rio Olympics last year with “Discover” channel, showing short clips from Brazil, operated by BuzzFeed. It’s undisputed that the Olympics will always have their audience, but in the digital era that we live in, one must constantly strive to be better, to be progressive and up to date, only to remain competitive in a global market.
NBC surely is trying hard and considering secured U.S. broadcasting rights to the Olympics all the way through 2032 in a $7.75 billion worth deal – which covers all media platforms; free television, subscription TV, Internet and mobile rights as well as their collaborations with leading social networks – their broadcast should definitely become what viewers expected and hoped for.
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