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  • Give the people what they want

       February 17, 2010

    As we've discussed, NBC's Olympic coverage sucks. Henry Blodget at Business Insider put it best when he wrote:

    So, right now, for us, NBC isn't the network that brings us the Olympics. It's the network that prevents us from watching the Olympics. And we hate NBC for that.

    Exactly. NBC is doing what so many other unsuccessful marketers do: they're giving us, showing us and telling us what they want to instead of giving us, showing us and telling us what we want.

    What NBC wants to do is deliver expensive ads to a big prime time viewing audience. And that is exactly what they're doing. If they get that big prime time audience, that'll be evidence of their "success".

    What we want to do is watch the Olympics, but NBC has clearly decided that if they show the Olympics, it'll mean fewer people will watch their prime time Olympics show.

    You'd think there would be some common ground between the desire of viewers to watch the Olympics and the desire of NBC to provide an audience to advertisers. I'd argue that the more live events NBC shows, the stronger ratings they'll get at night. People aren't hermetically sealed into cubicles all day. We're online. We're watching TV. We're talking. If something incredible happens at (god forbid) 3 pm Eastern time, people who can't watch it live are going to hear about it from those people that did and want to see it later that night. It's piquing their interest. The live, hardcore audience that NBC desperately wants to screw are exactly the same people that they should be catering to because they're the folks that are going to talk about the Olympics and get other people interested in them. One passionate Olympics fan is worth dozens of slick ads.

    I know it's revolutionary thinking for marketers, but if you give the people what they want, you might just get what you want.

    Posted by at February 17, 2010 12:24 PM

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    #  February 17th, 2010 12:36 PM      kris
    I'm kind of focused on the live coverage thing - but the other thing in their coverage that's maddening is that it's too focused on a pre-determined storyline. It's one thing to have a storyline going into a sporting event, but with the Olympics what happens is that they will just literally not show it if it doesn't pan out. There's no sense of something unfolding in front of you and that's the fun of sports. NBC thinks we want to see "Shaun White". And while I like him, what I'd really like to see are people competing to see who can do the coolest tricks on their snowboards. Again - that shouldn't be two entirely different things, but it is in their coverage.

    It'd be like if in the Super Bowl the pre-game coverage was all about Reggie Bush but then because Bush wasn't having an impact they only showed half of the 4th quarter.  
    #  February 17th, 2010 12:54 PM      BVBigBro
    First of all, it shouldn't be too difficult to have an actual chiseled in stone start time for the various events combined with a a schedule that puts certain events in prime time or on weekends. As it is what we get is coverage as if it were run by the cable company: we'll be there sometime between 7:00 and midnight with something. I should be able to tune in at 8:00 and know a speedskating final is imminent and will in fact be shown.

    Second, aside from the fact that figure skating sucks because it has become a jumping contest, there are other sports and those sports are popular regardless of whether or not an American is participating, such as the downhill. The downhill should play second fiddle to nothing. It should be the focus of an entire nights' live coverage or several live hours on the weekend.

    Finally, get rid of the inane commentary during every single event and let me watch. It's not a baseball game on the radio where I need to know the count. I can see what's going on. Save the commentary for the post event analysis.  
    #  February 17th, 2010 12:57 PM      kris
    There are chiseled in stone start times and, to be fair, the men's downhill was supposed to be on the first weekend. But, for example, the women's downhill is starting right now and the men's halfpipe will start tonight at 9:15 central time (actually, I think NBC is wrong and it's really at 9:50). However, NBC doesn't want to tell you that because they want you to watch the entire broadcast hoping to see what you want to see. Of course, that isn't what happens. People tune out instead.

    They could improve their current sucky coverage just by adding a ticker along the bottom with info or a PTI-style countdown on the side.  
    #  February 18th, 2010 9:31 AM      kris
    I was just looking at NBC's schedule and they are not even showing skiing live on the weekends. WTF? It's like they actively hate their viewers.  
    #  February 18th, 2010 9:38 AM      kris
    Also, apparently the Opening Ceremonies were on tape delay and NBC cut out a whole French-themed section. So, instead showing it live and letting it end when it ended, they started it later, cut crap out and made it end past the bedtimes of all future Olympic viewers. Way to think long term there, asshats.  
    #  February 19th, 2010 10:23 AM      kris
    So NBC carried Tiger Woods' statement LIVE this morning. WTF? But there's no one around to watch it? Shouldn't they have kept their video until prime time???

    #  February 20th, 2010 11:42 AM      kris
    So - just for the record, NBC will be showing women's aerial qualifications in 15 minutes rather than than the women's ski race that also starts then featuring Vonn & Mancuso LIVE.

    It's the weekend!!

    God, I hate them.  



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