Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What #NBCFail Tells Us About MSM Today

There are moments in a culture, when you realize that people (and people's viewing/listening habits) have surpassed the medium currently promoted. Film attendance put the nail in the coffin of theatre-going as a regular pasttime. Big-screen TVs caused film attendance to drop. Radio finally realized (too late) that the iPod had changed forever how people listen to music.

We have another of those moments now, although it's been going on for some time already.

And it kinda looks like this.

This image is significant in several ways.

Let me back up a bit. At this moment, in real time, I was on my computer, hooked up to the Internet that Tim Berners-Lee invented, as he was on this stage at the London Olympics, Tweeting "This is for everyone." And, on Twitter, it was like suddenly "everyone" (including me) was responding: "Thanks, Tim Berners-Lee! And isn't this amazing and incredible?" Here we are, in Canada and Brazil and China and Australia and Germany, all able to watch this amazing Olympics Opening Ceremony TOGETHER on the World Wide Web of his creation.

It was stunning poetry, and really touched my heart. Touched that it was nearly the finale of the genius creation that Englishman Danny Boyle had created, a poem to England if ever there was one. The images that he put forth, which I'd been watching (commercial-free) created a stunning portrait that seemed to (according to the Tweets I was reading) touch Englishfolk most of all.

The National Health Service and Harry Potter and Mary Poppins and the English countryside and MUSIC! Oh the MUSIC! Best of all, those dastardly boys of the late 1970s, reviled in their country at the time (spit on at gigs), the Sex Pistols, punkers now dressed up almost as Cabbage Patch dolls, pogoing in their leather jackets joyfully. A British commentator later intoned (paraphrasing), "They used to be banned, but now they are as much a part of Britain as anything else." Something that gets you all warm and fuzzy. (And the Queen was watching!)

The ceremony took my breath away. In many segments.

Subversive in many ways, brilliant in all. I need to rewatch the entire thing.

But all those countries that I mentioned earlier that were watching in real-time? Not among them? The United States. If you played by the rules in America (which, being a punk rocker, I don't), you had to wait NINE HOURS (on the West Coast) after the Opening Ceremonies to see them. And to see a MUCH edited version of them. That whole joyous Sex Pistols moment I described above? Not there. It showed the beginning of the song "Pretty Vacant" (they played the WHOLE SONG), and then cut to commercial. Came back just in the final words of that song.

Another significant thing not there? Really significant, considering that America is all about "stamping out terror" and all that in our propaganda, was a long segment dedicated to the terror victims of 7/7. I think it's safe to say that that moment resonates with every Brit the way 9/11 resonates with every American. And one would think that "terror" kinda resonates everywhere. It was a really poignant, special moment of the ceremony. I can just see the NBC exec, looking at the lineup on paper. "Nah, we don't need that. We can cram plenty of commercials in that part. Look how long it is!"

So you had to watch the whole thing nine hours after the fact, if you wanted to watch NBC's version. You didn't get to share that "This is for EVERYONE" moment with the rest of the world. (In fact, NBC commentator Meredith Viera didn't even know who Tim Berners-Lee WAS. Although she did have that nine hours to Google it, for heaven's sake, so there's no excuse.)

And if you didn't want to wait for the ceremony, for the first time ever, NBC is (supposedly) offering real-time coverage of the Olympics (with every event broken out). This, however, did not include the Opening Ceremoniues (one assumes they will also not include the Closing Ceremonies). The best you could get from NBC (initially) was photographs on their website from what was happening live.

People were on Twitter when this was happening, first complaining that NBC tape-delays its coverage, second that all it was giving anyone was photographs. NBC must have heard people, because soon, it started live Tweeting what was being broadcast. THAT YOU COULDN'T SEE. For nine hours.

Cause, you know, if you saw it, that would be lost revenue for them, and all those commercials they had packed in there at premium dollars.

Here's the thing, though, NBC. I'm a Internet user (thanks to Tim Berners-Lee). If I want to watch something right now, I can pretty much find a way to get it. And so I did. From the United States. So did lots of others, I'm sure.

And, I kept reading these lamenting posts from TV critics and commentators, who were trying to view it through normal (NBC-approved) channels. I felt bad. So I sent them the link. That someone had sent me. After all, This is For Everyone. :-) And that's how the Internet works.

For better Olympics coverage, every day of the Olympics so far, check out #NBCFAIL on Twitter. It tells of all the ways that NBC is screwing up. They seem to be endless.

One thing is sure. The people have moved on in their viewing habits. One day, NBC will figure that out.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment. I encourage and welcome the dialogue.