NBC may very well drop The Torch with this summer’s Olympic coverage.
That is what several leading analysts and marketers have been warning of, and the warnings are certainly not without merit. Some of the chief concerns are very significant indeed:
- China’s lack of respect for the copyright (may cheapen NBC’s exclusive coverage deal)
- Increasing pervasiveness of cheap electronics (think of a nation of several million personal video cameras)
- Rising Connectedness of the nation (the nation now has more internet users than the US and Canada combined)
- Use of Mobile technologies on the rise (not to mention most mobiles also come equipped with video cameras)
- Time difference between live events and the times they are broadcasted in North America (thanks to NBC’s policy to time-shift and delay events until Prime Time)
- Expectations for latest coverage and up-to-date information
- “What I Want, WHEN I Want It” attitude that IPTV and VOD online and mobile video has been creating worldwide
-Chinese internet users are already well-accustomed to existing IPTV and online video offerings from Youku , Tudou to Baidu and desktop P2P client PPLive (which has been used in the past to stream important events such as the annual New Year’s Spring Festival)
- Large demand on NBCU servers may far outweigh their bandwidth capabilities, even when considering any failsafes they have in place… ALOT of people will be accessing in and navigating out sporadically, and the high network contention related with all the connections could even bring the games to a screeching halt
These factors will almost certainly fragment Olympic viewership in China, and will also likely affect the audience here in North America. Add to this the clear desire for each athlete’s fan base to create unique support communities around their favorite athlete, and you can clearly see that the NBC Omlympic coverage leaves much to be desired. The lack of breadth and depth in terms of diversity of coverage is also apparent. The copyright and online streaming issue, especially, could be a significant “hurdle” for NBCU to conquer. NewTeeVee has been reporting on these problems while discussing “The Official Olympics Video Player” and how “Online Video (will be) an Olympic Feat for NBC”. jkOnTheRun also covers the issue of circumventing the licensed broadcasters in “5 ways to watch the games“.
A simple case study reveals that NBCU, through their official Olympic website at NBCOlympics.com is simply not ready to treat the Olympics with the unbiased universal coverage that it deserves. Browsing the front page you will quickly understand how the statistics and “latest news” feeds skew American. Of the featured athletes, at the time of this writing, only 2 were from a country other than the United States (and one was the Chinese-born American NBA star Yao Ming):
Furthermore, when you browse through “All Athletes” you are bombarded with more pro-American coverage, and the few athletes making the ranks on the first few pages are not treated with a very complete Bio or information.
For example, compare UK Sailing favorite Paul Goodison’s page on the NBColmpyics site
To his personal website at: http://paulgoodison.com/
Neither of which are linked to, for the convenience of his fans or supporters, and the poor coverage he receives on NBC seems to show that despite the multi-million dollars invested in this year’s games, they really haven’t put much effort into the most important aspect of the games, the Athletes, and are indeed poised to drop the Olympic torch.
In the end, it appears that P2P citizens journalism and coverage of big events such as the Olympics will take over, this author just hopes its sooner rather than later!
- NBC Hands 2012 Olympics Duties to ‘Today’ Producer (adweek.com)
- NBC Names Jim Bell Executive Producer for Olympics Coverage (nytimes.com)
- On Our Radar: Ports 1961 Lights the Fashion Torch For NBC (fabsugar.com)
- Cablevision Customers to Enjoy NBC Universal’s Comprehensive Coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games (prweb.com)
- Q&A: For Marketers, Media, Fans, NHL Brand Is Hot On Ice (thebiglead.com)
BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money
The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:
1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.
2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.
3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.