Update: All the channels mentioned in this story are down, replaced by the message “Content from this channel removed at the request of the copyright holder. This channel will be accessible again in 24 hours.”
As we’ve been writing all week, tape delays are an excellent way to ensure that people find a way around the official means to watching the Olympics. So, for instance, if you were to head over to Justin.tv right now (which often carries unauthorized sports footage, which tends to conclude before the DMCA notice makes it out of the lawyer’s office), you could see multiple live streams of the tail end of the opening ceremonies and ongoing soccer matches.
We’re not condoning this behavior, but we have to say we’re mighty frustrated to see evidence that the Olympics is happening all around us, but when we turn on NBC, we get Today Show hosts yapping about Chinese breakfast foods.
Post-mortem: The Justin.tv channels were taken down, but that was just after the fireworks concluded — a.k.a. when it ceased to matter. And as commenters are noting below, more channels are springing up there and elsewhere. I just spoke with Brian Stelter at the New York Times, and he said the U.S. is the only country he can find where the opening ceremonies were tape-delayed. Between the two of us, we didn’t find evidence that hundreds of thousands of people were using these illicit streams, so maybe we’re making a mountain out of a mole hill — and this could be considered successful anti-piracy action. The reality, though, is tape delay is a total anachronism.
However, my conclusion is that NBC missed the opportunity for the biggest live-streaming event to date. With all the work they’ve put into NBCOlympics.com and all the lucrative advertising they’ve sold, they could have had millions of people watching simultaneously this morning, feeling that global togetherness/warm fuzziness at the same time as everyone else. Instead we have to settle for stale warm fuzzy feelings tonight on tape delay. Lame.
Another update: Here’s Brian Stelter’s article.