Viewers Venting Anger About NBC’s Olympics Coverage — With One Main Complaint

Jul 30, 2012  •  Post A Comment

NBCUniversal’s wide-ranging coverage of the London Olympics isn’t sitting well with some viewers, and they’re mainly irked about one aspect in particular: tape delay.

A new Twitter hashtag — #nbcfail — is distilling television viewers’ anger over perceived failures of NBC’s Olympics coverage, reports The New York Times. Angry posts under the #nbcfail hashtag rose Sunday after NBC’s newly hired chief digital officer retweeted a message that read, “the medal for most Olympic whining goes to everyone complaining about what happens every 4 yrs., tape delay.”

As previously reported, that executive, Vivian Schiller, resigned last year as chief executive of NPR amid controversy.

Now Schiller has "quickly became the corporate symbol of anger about tape-delaying sports and the opening ceremony. And she isn’t even in the sports division," The Times points out.

"To a degree, she wasn’t wrong. Complaining about tape delay is an Olympic sport in its way," the story adds.

The tape delay stems from the 1960s, when ABC’s Roone Arledge pioneered the tool as a way to keep the most popular sports for prime-time broadcast.

But fans are angered by the continued reliance on tape delay, given that major sports outside the Olympics are always telecast live and the technology is available to NBC, via multiple networks and the Internet, the article points out.

While NBC is offering live streaming via the Internet, it doesn’t allow replays for marquee sports such as swimming and gymnastics until the sports have run on the tape delay during prime time, the story notes.

"While NBC took a big step into 21st century digital realities by letting everything stream live, it isn’t carrying everything, including the marquee events, live on TV. The belief is that viewership might diminish if your best events are seen too early on TV," the piece reports.


  1. People bitching and moaning about something they are getting for free. No one is forcing them to wait until it’s aired on TV. If they want it live, watch it on the internet.

  2. Let’s take a moment to get real here. NBC is attempting to recoup the dollars it expended on airing the Olympic games. In order to do so, there will be taped depayed so as to maximize earnings.
    Yes, in our “give it to me in an instant world,” there continues to be taped delays.
    Get use to or turn off the set!
    Next … please

  3. Yvonne, the TV set was turned off.
    When Saturday night’s “Nightly News” gave me the results to the swimming competition that NBC would broadcast later in prime time, I realized it was time to abandon television and go to the Web.
    (I hope this helps to recoup dollars)

  4. It’s one thing to tape delay an event that’s happening 5-8 hours before prime time, but my complaint was with the Vancouver games being tape delayed for the west coast, why tape delay something that’s happening in our time zone?

  5. The real valid complaint is that NBC News is not playing along. If the network is going to tape delay, the news division should not be giving out the results. Where can someone go to watch the news if they don’t want the results? If NBC was smart they could probably raise their ratings by advertising to the prime time viewers that they aren’t giving results o teh nightly news. Many of them may wish to switch from their regular news program.

  6. I am done with all of NBC!! glad i live near canada will watch their coverage!! 1000% better! so long NBC!!

  7. Do you think anyone cares?

  8. #NBC_DoesSomethingRight!

  9. #NBC-Winning

  10. Who ever thought that playing background music louder than the people are takling was a good idea? Wake up you artistic nuts and let us hear without turning up the volume and trying to cyfer out the words.

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