The options for tuning in to the Olympics using social technologies have proliferated since the 2008 summer games, as my colleague noted a couple weeks back. But since the start of the games on Friday, it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride for viewers and media companies alike.
During early events, mobile networks were so overloaded with tweets and status updates that some broadcasters got a taste of their very own fail whale.
Complaints have been flying on Twitter about NBC’s time-delayed broadcasts, and when Twitter banned a journalist for sharing an NBC exec’s email address, the uproar only increased.
Jeff Jarvis summarized both sides of the argument very well on his blog, earlier this week. It basically boils down to the demands of a real-time-obsessed audience versus the economic realities of the network that needs to recoup its $1 billion+ spend on broadcast rights.
Jarvis argues that, “business models built on imprisonment…is no strategy for the future” [sic]. And he’s right; media companies cannot expect to retain a firm grip on their content in the future. They will need to face the future of media proliferation or be undermined by the masses empowered by more agile technologies.
But you can’t fault NBC for trying to protect its investment. They’re dealing with a lot of powerful stakeholders both within the organization and outside it that would surely balk at the idea of just “putting it all out there,” as it were.
And give NBC some credit; they may seem behind the times, but they are trying to evolve. If you have a cable subscription, you can now live stream the games online – that’s a new feature.
Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was Twitter, for that matter. Let’s see what happens at the 2016 games.
Ali Skodol is an Associate Director of Social Media in the New York office. Please direct all cute animal pictures to @aliskdl
Image is courtesy Twitchy.com