NBC will no longer employ delay tactics during Olympics

Lee Hee-beom, president and CEO of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG), delivers a speech during a media conference in Sapporo, northern Japan, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. Lee expects the 2018 Olympics to usher in a new era for winter sports in Asia. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

NBC said it will not use tape delay for its coverage of the 2018 Olympics in Korea. 

The issue:

For recent Olympics, NBC broadcasted all events through official online streams, but stubbornly insisted on tape delays for televised broadcasts of the games. For example, NBC chose to save popular events, competitions with big-name athletes, and even the opening ceremonies (which were last seen live in the US in 1996!) for more lucrative prime-time television slots, even when the actual event had taken place hours beforehand.

NBC President Jim Bell:

“Nothing brings America together for two weeks like the Olympics, and that communal experience will now be shared across the country at the same time, both on television and streaming online,” said Jim Bell, president of NBC Olympics production and programming. “That means social media won’t be ahead of the action in any time zone, and as a result, none of our viewers will have to wait for anything. This is exciting news for the audience, the advertisers, and our affiliates alike.”

A schedule:

On most nights of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the primetime broadcast will begin at 8 p.m./7c. It will be followed in all time zones by local news, and then a “Primetime Plus” program, consisting of live continuing coverage from PyeongChang, South Korea. A replay of the primetime program will follow “Primetime Plus.” NBC’s PyeongChang primetime coverage begins February 8, 2018. The opening ceremony takes place on Friday, February 9, 2018.


The plan is also aimed at staving off any further erosion of ratings for the Olympics, long one of the rock-solid mass-audience attractions of broadcast network television. NBC’s coverage of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro averaged 25.4 million viewers over 17 nights last summer, a massive audience, but down 18% from the 2012 Games in London.

No good for NBC:

The biggest question:


What do you think? Is that the right decision?

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