The first Olympic Games were held in 1896, if we’re excluding those held by the ancient Greek. People traveled from around the world to attend, much like many still do today.
Much unlike the 19th century, however, viewers today are given the opportunity to watch on television, via the Internet, and on mobile devices. Just this weekend I sat in a car with my family driving to a birthday lunch while watching the Olympics on a mobile device.
With social media bigger than ever, people have been able to voice their opinions—and they have—much to NBC‘s chagrin. Olympics fans have expressed continuous complaints on Twitter with hashtag #NBCfail regarding the play times of their favorite games. Events as widely publicized as the Michael Phelps versus Ryan Lochte 400m Individual Medley swim have been aired on television with a large delay.
In addition, people were up in arms when NBC failed to deliver the live stream of the opening ceremony. Though the opening ceremony brought in a record number of television viewers, few were satisfied with the fact that it occurred hours before they could watch.
Though NBC is most likely airing the popular events during prime time hours for revenue purposes, most people miss the thrill of watching the games live. Years ago, it might have been more difficult for a viewer to check event results online, and therefore it would be acceptable for a channel to air the games past their live play times. However, with modern technology at our fingertips, it’s extremely commonplace for fans to check the results online.
NBC undoubtedly assumes people will do so if they really want to know results. Unfortunately for NBC, most people really want to know results.
As social media and technology develop, it will be interesting to see how NBC will air the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and how people will react. Since NBC has a contract to broadcast the Olympics until 2020, one would hope the broadcaster takes note of the voice of the people—and maybe even earns an #NBCpass hashtag next time around.