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Monday, February 22, 2010

PostHeaderIcon NBC defends its Olympic strategy

Despite the anger over how NBC is broadcasting the Olympics, the fact is people are watching. The 2006 Turin Games were one of the lowest rated ever thanks in large part to a huge time-zone difference.

The 2002 Salt Lake Games were rated very high but that is because it's on home soil and, as a lot of people forget, it was only a few months after the tragic events of 9/11 and I personally remember a lot more people getting into the games and being very Patriotic.

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games are being tape delayed and pushed around to minor cable channels. Add in a weak economy and bad winter weather which keeps people at home and you have a recipe for good ratings.

NBC defends its actions of tape-delaying big events to keep people watching in primetime. Personally, I think it's detrimental to the Games but I also understood that NBC overbid on the Games, will lose money, and has to do whatever it can to make some money back. Putting the men's hockey game against Canada on MSNBC so ice dancing is on the main network is just a bonehead decision, though.

The next Winter Games will be in Russia in 2014 so the tape delay issue will not be much of an issue. Ratings probably won't either as events in distant time zones like this generally have a hard time getting viewers.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Each morning here at 7:30, inside a compound at the International Broadcasting Center roughly the size of Belarus, NBC Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol gathers a small flock of his key lieutenants to discuss contingency plans and every possible scenario for that day's coverage. Along with everything else on the agenda for the tired executives and producers, Ebserol preaches one mantra:

Protect the primetime show.

"It's no secret: the primetime show is the flagship" said David Neal, the executive vice president of NBC Olympics. "That show has to be protected. That show has to be compelling every night. That is the mother ship, and we have to maintain it as an attractive vehicle no matter what." (....continue reading....)

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Welcome to Olympic Updates, my continuing blog to following the Olympic Games. Founded in 2007, I have enjoyed providing news and information on the 2008 Beijing Summer Games and I look forward to keeping you up to date on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

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