Earth to NBC: The Internet is here

Smarter people than I will write about this, but I’m interested so….

Is NBC aware that the Internet and social media has changed the world of news? It’s hard to tell.

* Last night, Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera claimed not to know who Sir Tim Berners-Lee is. As a result, they embarrassed themselves and the network to millions of viewers.

* The first big event of the Olympics was the 400 medley pitting Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. Did NBC, which half-a-dozen channels at its disposal, show the race live? No. But damned if you couldn’t watch endless cycling, soccer, volleyball, fencing, etc.

* At the 6:30 p.m. nightly news broadcast, Brian Williams apologized to viewers for being a spoiler and announced that Ryan Lochte won the 400 buttterfly medley earlier in the day. Awkward for a newsman announcing the day’s top story, but OK. Then the network doesn’t actually show film of the race itself. Shows only stills.

* At 7:30 p.m. the network promotes the 400 butterfly as “tonight’s race” between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, even as it — and many viewers — knew that Lochte already won the race. Difference between the news division and entertainment? Embarrassing? Absolutely. The local affiliate, WXII, did the same in its special report preceding the 8 p.m. Olympics coverage.

* At 8 p.m. Bob Costas, to his credit, announces that everything the network is showing is taped and that the network is not going to announce results before it shows the races. No spoilers, he says.

I’m sure there are others. I’ve not watched much of the Olympic so far, but so far I’m not impressed.

Sunday update: Yes, there are better observers. Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOm is one. Jeff Jarvis has another.



5 thoughts on “Earth to NBC: The Internet is here

  1. Just FYI, but the big Phelps/Lochte race was the 400 Individual Medley, not the butterfly. There is no 400 butterfly.

  2. I feel that it’s disingenous of NBC to pretend as though the people at home have no idea what happened. I appreciate that Bob Costas doesn’t want to outright spoil the results for people who may have been under rocks and didn’t hear the results, but that it is silly to act as though no one knows the finish. They need to acknowledge that many viewers might know the ending without spoiling the ending.

  3. Their numbers/ratings and approval numbers agree. The Big 3 are much smaller and with the Internet as a fact checker, less influential.

  4. It’s rather parochial to dimiss other sports as not “big” just because *you* don’t think they are.
    The cycling had world champions, Tour de France jersey winners and stage victors in it. It even had an American with a good chance of a medal – Taylor Phinney. And if we’re going to dickwave – for the Tour the most watched stage of 2009 was stage 20, from MontĂ©limar to Mont Ventoux in Provence, with a global total audience of 44 million, making it the 12th most watched sporting event in the world in 2009. Think swimming could ever get that many viewers ? That wasn’t even for placings.

    Every Olympic sport is “big”. It is crass to say otherwise.

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