Olympics on Demand

On average I watch TV an hour a week, swear.  If anything I’ll watch a few sporting events on the weekend while lounging around.  Total background noise.  So for me to park myself in the family room after dinner to watch TV is a total rarity but hey, the winter Olympics are on. 

I really enjoy watching the winter Olympics.  The downhill skiing, jumping, slalom and snowboarding is awesome.  The speed skating is pretty sweet too.  But oh, how I forgot we spend most of the evening watching ads.  We also spend too much time on the 5 – 7 minute "up close and personals" with the sports casters.  It is so annoying.  All I really want to see is the competition in the comfort of my own home. 

NBC is also putting out a show from 730 – 800 called the Olympic Zone.  Pure hype with no sports.  Why don’t they take that time to show us more of the races?  Who knows.

I want Olympics on Demand.  NBC is probably spending a tremendous amount of cash producing the Olympics and bringing it into our homes.  The ads pay for it so that is why we get the pleasure of watching so many.  Why don’t they just set up a few camera persons at each event.  You can choose which one or ones you want to see that night and pay to see them, like pay-per-view. 

I’d be thrilled to pay for the opportunity to sit on my couch and watch the entire day of snowboarding.  No ads, no play by play, perhaps a small interview with the athlete that won the medal (small being the optimal word here) and NBC would make their money through the viewers.  My guess is, in time, that they would have more viewers and make up the costs.  They could also stream over the Internet and you could pay to have access to that too. 

As excited as I am about watching the Olympics, I dread the rat-a-tat-tat that precedes the show and during the events.  So, I tevo it and watch later so I can fast forward over all the crap.  Wouldn’t it be better to make me pay for watching all the racing vs. the hand picked events by NBC. 

Is anyone out there listening?

Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave

    This is why I don’t watch sports on TV.

  2. alwayslookaround

    I agree! The network coverage of the Olympics ruins the Olympics for me. It would be a much more enjoyable viewing experience if there was an option to cut out all the garbage.

  3. David Dundas

    I think this model works for people who are Uber busy…but there are millions of people who sit there and watch TV for hours on end and just surf to watch. It is likely those people who advertisers are aiming to reach. Think of how many millions of downloads NBC would have to sell to recoup one sponsorship. Additionally, TV has always been passive. So making the couch potatoes go out and seek on demand content for everything may be a bit too much work logistically, and less people overall may end up watching the Olympics. We get caught up sometimes in our forward looking tech lives that we end up forgetting about the avg consumer ….

  4. Rob Poitras

    You can watch some videos on nbc’s olympic site but you have to have patience for the videos to load and the confusing navigation.

  5. kip

    I agree with you regardign all of the extras. The openining ceremonies reminded me of the skit a decade ago on SNL where (I think it was) John Lovitz is the radio guy talking during every point in a song where there aren’t any lyrics.
    They are trying to be rainmakers of drama where there really isn’t any need to be.
    And to be honest, I’d love it if biathalon got more attention, as its got to be one of the hardest things otu there yet 90% of the watchers have no idea of what is going on here. Spare me the skating Skating, the non racing kind, as it is so not impartial anymore and it pains me to watch it.

  6. Tom

    Didn’t they try this concept years ago and it bombed tremendously? Once bitten twice shy works in the real world. In the corporate world, once bitten means ain’t going there again, ever. No way, not again.

    Living in the venture capital world is a longs ways away from the mega corporate take no risks world of NBC/GE.

  7. Derek Scruggs

    I remember back in the 80s that NBC experimented with showing some NFL games without announcers. Whatever happened to that?

  8. Terry Bain

    I hate it so much that I haven’t even turned it on so far.


  9. Charlie

    Didn’t they try this back in ’92, the first year of the dream team? I vaguely remember a red channel, white channel, and blue channel… 100% coverage of every event. I don’t think that many people bought it.

  10. Todd Humphrey

    TIVO – it’s the only way to watch anything on TV. Even if you only watch an hour or two a week, your time is certainly worth the $13 per month!

  11. Brent

    Allen Weiner did a nice vlog, “The Future of the Olympics on TV”, on this very same subject. It would seem many people are questioning the Networks continued attempts to completely control our viewing habits. However, it is just a matter of time as “the times are changin’.”

  12. Michael Pate

    Derek, That was one game. Oddly enough, I remember it well: On Dec. 20, 1980, NBC aired the New York Jets at the Miami Dolphins. The Jets were 3-12 entering the game and the Dolphins were 8-7. (Jets won 24-17). Since the game had no playoff implications, NBC decided to let the sounds from the stands and the PA announcer serve as the sole audio. No players were miked. Dick Enberg set the scene for viewers at the beginning of each quarter and then viewers were taken to the stadium. – NFL

  13. Rob Wiesenberg

    Just to reinforce what others have said. TIVO or your cable provider’s version is the answer. Record it and just start watching twenty minute to a half-hour later and skip through the Olympics. Shame on the networks for making this such an unpleasant experience.

  14. Roger S. Sanford

    Reality: Both models work. This is the new digital divide: Active TV vs. Passive TV. The under 30 “Generation M” are more active in habits, consuming more media simultaneously. They focus on what’s relevant vs. “what’s on”. The networks (or Yahoo) could offer up the unedited satellite feeds with interactive “spots” inside the video stream. The online broadcast rights are different from traditional rights, but the end result will be (wait for it) another layer of media to go to your set, computer and handheld. The technology is here today, but the habits will take longer to develop.

  15. Ann

    Sitting here in Europe with a broken knee, watching uninterrupted snow (outside) and sport (inside)…

  16. Mike

    Makes perfect sense. However requires a mindset change for televison executives, which I suppose will come soon enough by necessity as the old television business model slowly dies. I also would happily pay to watch the sport without the packaging and the advertising. I bet you didn’t know this though: if you access nbcsports.com from outside of the US (in my case, from Canada), you can’t watch the videos. They won’t serve them. Thankfully, we have good old cbc.ca/olympics providing stellar online coverage of the winter olympics!