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.