BBC Olympics

After Diamond Jubilee coverage that was widely criticised for being inane poorly presented by supposed “youth” brand faces such as Fearne Cotton, many were concerned as to who the BBC would fare with the Olympics. There is little doubt, however, that the BBC are excelling with their coverage of the London 2012 Games by offering the British public the ability to watch any sport live and then any individual race/game/fight on demand almost immediately after it finishes.

The BBC are offering HD coverage of much of the sport through Freeview, Freesat, Virgin Media, and Sky, with numerous choices available to those with a “red button”. It is online, however, where the BBC has truly shown itself a leader in modern broadcasting – with users able to watch anything they desire from the Games at any time using the BBC’s populat iPlayer technology.

27 million people, about half of the population of the UK, are reported to have watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony, where the BBC learned its lessons from the Jubilee and presented their coverage with people who had a good understanding of the countries and people involved. The lack of any need for advertising due to the way the BBC is funded by the license fee also helps with coverage of longer events live events as they do not have cut away for ad breaks during coverage.

The same success has not been repeated by the US broadcaster NBC where their coverage of the opening ceremony was interspersed with numerous advertising breaks which meant US viewers missing much of the show and complaining of a lack of fluidity. NBC also cut various sections from the ceremony including the memorial to those who lost their lives in the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London which occurred the day after the UK won the competition to host the Games.

NBC has used a tape delay for their coverage in order to gain the most eyeballs in primetime for their advertisers, but with the rest of the world and even their own Twitter account reporting on the competition and results live – many Americans are turning to pirate streams to watch live.

The NBC anchors have also come in for criticism for inane comments which showcased some of the international community’s worst stereotypes as they lacked any knowledge of some of the countries entering the Games, insulted others, and told their viewers to “Google” Tim Berners-Lee – a man celebrated in the Opening Ceremony and considered the inventor of the World Wide Web.

The coverage has been so bad that the #NBCFail hashtag has been trending on Twitter continuously for much of the time since the London 2012 Olympic Games kicked off. Here are a few select tweets complaining about their coverage:


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