Blog Post

Bolt Of Lightning Doesn’t Fall Anywhere Near NBCOlympics.com

imageMichael Phelps who? In what is probably the greatest moment in this Olympics, Usain Bolt of Jamaica won gold 100m dash in 9.69 seconds, a new world record…and he didn’t even have to try after the first half of the race. But you wouldn’t know it if you were here in U.S…well, if you were not online actively searching for a video clip of it. NBCOlympics.com has a lame text story online, and with a lamer *Getty* Images-supplied photo slideshow. Not that we were expecting anything different from NBC today, but it does add up to the growing frustration with the “bottled-up” (not my phrase…Jeff Zucker used it in a CNBC interview yesterday) coverage by the network.

If you want to watch the clip, don’t go to YouTube…the “illegal” copies are being squashed every second by the regulators there. Go to DailyMotion, the French site, and search for “Usain Bolt: and sort by “Most Recent”…plenty of French language clips from Canal Plus, in decent resolution. The best way: use a proxy server to log into BBC’s sports site, which has the full race and interview with Bolt in high res.

On Zucker, he said this yesterday on CNBC: “One of the great things to come out of these Olympic games is that the tremendous use of our digital properties online and the great viewership online and the tremendous number of page views is really teaching us a tremendous amount about what people want to consume great content. And so we

32 Responses to “Bolt Of Lightning Doesn’t Fall Anywhere Near NBCOlympics.com”

  1. Shikera

    I am a Jamaican living in Jamaica and this is a topic that has been always always been on my mind, when ever there is a Olympic games. Over the last 10-15yrs our local stations have had to take the broadcast form the American news agency (most likely NBC) and it is something that we have had to struggle with. NBC only show American athletes win or and especially when they lose. Other participating athletes from other country get little or no air time. Yes i know they are catering to the American population, but i think is it rather bias and dutty when a win nation has won gold in ANY thing and all I was seen where pictures of the the US athletes who have received a silver or god forbid a bronze or never medal at all.

    I am a child of the facebook/youtube age. Through out the last couple months I have been watching video on youtube of the meets the Asfa Powel and Usain Bolt (and Mr. Gay TRAGIC race in the US 200m trial.. that one i looped over soo many times) .. but now it the Olympics and i want to see these races again (we here in Jamaica are watching it LIVE WITH UNBIAS COVERAGE as we have sent to of our own reports to cover the athletics) .. over and over…but wait i cant watch it…. NBC is pulling everything off youtube.. BBC says i can watch the video due to my location … ah i want to watch a video about my own country man. what!!!

    Cooperation such a NBC and its media company need to wake up!! I want to access video live or right after events have taken and i want to see it at my own time a leisure. this is a age of choice, these companies need to wake up and free up their video content. I understand that advertisement run their business but they need to figure out how they can fund their business so that maybe ill go over their site just to watch a video.

  2. devon (JAmaica)

    what is worst is that Bob Costas has the nerve to criticise Usain Bolt's Celebration as being unsportsmanlike and disrespecting his competitors. In his dictionary if its not "USA win" it must be a disrespect……. I enjoyed the gymnastics and swimming, but that was where NBC's coverage ended…. thatnk-God for our own CMC pictures…. actaully in JAmaica, NBC is blocked out so we only get to see their pictures selectively on our local channels…. Initially I thought it was unfair, but now I see its a blessing in disguise…

  3. To you Usain Bolt haters: The fact that Phelps and many other swimmers shattered world record after world record at these olympics doesnt say much about the sport of swimming. The 100m "Fastest Man" race has always been the marquee event of the olympics globally and no matter what you Americas say, that will never change.

  4. I am an Ozzie, so yeah I am sports mad.

    I lived in CA for the 2000 games and I couldn't believe how bad/limited the NBC coverage of the Olympics was, especially as I was expecting it to be so good. In fact coverage is not really the right word because they really didn't "cover" too much. The low and illustrative point for me was near the end of the swimming when due to failing to meet advertising viewership requirements NBC cut events broadcasting even further and put in even more commercials they showed only a portion of the 1500m swimming about 4 laps to start with them commercials and then about the last 2 or perhaps 3 laps at the end. I was amased!

    I didn't mind the US centric focus too much , this is to be expected and I am sure most countries do this (although NBC does raise it to an art form) but the lack of coverage and the amount of influence NBC has on the events (e.g. scheduling) just seems to do the US audience a huge dis service in terms of the breadth of the event they can access.

    So yep the web is wonderful because you can turn off NBC come olympics time !

    Tom

  5. MSNBC sent out the following "Breaking News" alert before the race:
    "American sprinter Tyson Gay fails to qualify for Olympic 100m final" 2008-08- – and yet did not send out an alert around the actual race results.

    Wouldn't want us to realize the race was at 10:30 am EST as opposed to 10:30 pm – on NBC of course….

    source: http://www.Breakingnewsornot.com

  6. Staci D. Kramer

    Curious … Linda and others, would you pay a license fee for coverage of events like this — as is the case with the BBC? Would a government broadcaster be preferable?

  7. NBC should not be permitted to cover historic events like this. In fact, I would argue none of the American networks should, and rather we should arrange something with the BBC, or any other country with reasonable coverage and temporarily broadcast their coverage. This year's coverage has been tragic in so many ways…. ompletely inept, incompetent, blithering idiot coverage. People should lose their jobs over the BOTCHED job NBC (No Brains Channel) has done with thee olympics

  8. "In what is probably the greatest moment in this Olympics"

    Bolt ran a *great* race, but let's get some perspective. By 2028, 20 years from now, Bolt's record time will likely have been bettered many times, and only devoted sports fans will remember who won the event in 2008. Michael Phelps' amazing 8 golds in one Games, 7 of them achieved in world-record time, is going to stand for a long, long, long time, and his name will — deservedly — be etched in Olympic lore forever.

  9. Richard

    What's funnier is the fact that on most American websites you have the USA wining the olympics, based on quantity of medals – whereas the results SHOULD be in quantity of Gold Medals (the official IOC way) putting the USA in 2nd (behind China [with Phelps getting half of them]). The Olympics shouldn't be an exercise in politics – the US are not winning. That's a fact.

  10. We have to give both NBC and their partners a lot of credit for the games online. Zucker said that he was not in the business of trading "broadcast dollars to digital pennies" so to see *any* type of content available (especially when we know that digital revenue is a small % of the total) is impressive. If the games were not online, how would NBC quantify the lost revenue/ viewers? Would they issue an industry report (as is common for entertainment content?)

    http://hmmconvenient.blogspot.com

  11. How ironic that the US media disses China about lack of freedom of the press, and here we have NBC controlling the Olympics news in such tight-ass fashion. Sure the apologists will claim that the circumstances are different, but the nett effect is still control of the way the news is disseminated and when. And not only that, by presenting a hugely American bias to it, even to the extreme exclusion of other news, its effect is similar to censorship. Whether it is for political or commercial gain and control, the effects are similar and NBC has certainly lost some moral authority to comment on the state of the press in China.

  12. While we're at it, let's discuss NBC's blatent 'pro america' bias in the coverage?

    "Great race for the #6 racer who's american he had a cold everybody. just so everyone should know, USA came in 6th and the guy had a cold. oh yah and the democratic republic of boogawooga came in first whatever"

    To all the NBC apolagists. Does CNN hold back news about the wear in Iraq until prime time? so that the maximum viewers can see the news and up their ad revenue?

    You're supposed to be a NEWS SERVICE. Not a record label!

  13. I find it interesting that the view from the NBC "HQ" behind the chair of Bob Costas is that of one looking over the front gate of the Forbidden City. As one who has spent some time in Beijing, I thought it seemed far fetched that China would allow NBC to build some sort of bradcast facility in this spot – even if temporary. Across from the front gate and the famous Mao portrait is Tienamen Square and home to a massive Chinese flag, which again seemed like unlikely locations to set up shop. So is NBC "faking" their broadcasting location? During shots of the marathon they panned this area and there didn't seem to be any temporary buildings, so maybe Bob is actually filming from Tulsa!

  14. Other coverage complaints: In the swimming I'd like to know which country is in which lane. The best they can come up with is showing the leaders country flags as an overlay ON TOP of the competitors as they do their kick flips and obscure them breaking the surface. And on the computer, why no full screen?

    Bottom line, I've been spending most of my time watching The Wire on DVD during The Olympics since I can't see what I want in the ways I want.

  15. I've been pretty disappointed with both the broadcast and online coverage. Try finding a specific wrestling or judo match. Best they can do online is give me a 4 hour scrub bar for all events on a given mat on a given day. Tell TiVo the same and I end up with 8 hours of MSNBC. It's all about the gymnastics, swimming, track and US athletes apparently.

  16. gregorylent

    nowhere in the world can you see the olympics in a decent way, and yet we think we are sooo global, so plugged in. not at all.

    i am stuck with the indian broadcast, you are stuck with the american, both completely unsatisfactory.

    will it be different in 2012? what do you think?

  17. Haha, biggest event in the history of the Olympics? and Michael Phelps who?

    You guys have got to be kidding me. Michael Phelps just won 8 gold medals with 7 of those being world records and you guys are making a bigger deal out of this? Don't get me wrong – this is an incredible accomplishment and is one of the biggest moments in Olympic history. And I completely agree with your points on NBC's dismal coverage. But to act like this is a bigger moment is ignorant.

  18. Chris, you're incorrect. Viewership for the event tonight wouldn't decrease if they put the video online. If they were concerned about that, they wouldn't have put pictures of the event online. They wouldn't have written the results of the event on their site. The truth is that NBC is incompetent and don't understand how to leverage technology to provide customer satisfaction and maximum monetization. It's a shame they are so clueless, I now get my Olympics info solely from Yahoo. NBC has proven how completely pathetic they are through their Olympic coverage and God-awful Olympics website.

  19. Staci D. Kramer

    Trust me, the point isn't missed. I was referring to the bit about when it would be posted, trying to give information for people wondering when it would be online. At the same time, not everyone is as dismayed or even dismayed at all and that's the part of the equation NBC is counting on.

    As for the race itself, truly impressive until he got carried away with winning.

  20. @BCK

    In my opinion, you just illustrated basically the entire point of the article and for sure the biggest problem with NBC's strategy in covering these Olympics. What we hoped NBC would learn is that the days of spoon feeding people clips on their own artificial timetable was a thing of the past. People want content real time, not 12 hours after it happens and they'll find a way to get it if NBC doesn't give it to them…

    I think NBC really missed the boat with these Olympics. They could have given us all the ability to see amazing things like Bolts run the SECOND it occurred regardless of the timing issues with the US market. Instead they decided to hold it for later (if ever) and in the end the people looked to alternatives to get what they wanted.

    Another opportunity lost!

  21. Staci D. Kramer

    BCK is right …. according to NBC, the video will be posted soon after the west coast broadcast as has been the case with all video held back until prime time and with video of live prime time events.

  22. The event happened at night Bejing time, not the normal mid morning period most of the major events have been run at (I'd assume to make them easier for the US to see). So of course NBC isn't going to run the clip on nbcolympics.com as the pre-recorded clip has yet to be seen on NBC itself. The clip will undoubtably be posted later tonight / early tomorrow morning US time, as that will prevent the majority of people from watching it online and not tuning in to the pre-recorded broadcast on NBC. I don't blame them for holding the clip back, as the recent data has shown that the primetime showcase has draw a lot of traffic.