IOC defends NBC for not broadcasting London 2012 100m final live
Monday, 06 August 2012
August 6 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today refused to criticise NBC for not showing the men's 100 metres live even though the broadcaster is the IOC's official partner in the United States and paid $1.2 billion (£772 million/€971 million) for the rights to show the Games.
While a majority of countries are showing the Olympics live – the BBC is providing 2,500 hours of programming for instance – NBC's tape-delayed broadcasts, notably including the showpiece Opening Ceremony, are causing consternation in some quarters.
Some 20 million viewers in the United Kingdom tuned in to watch Jamaican Usain Bolt's victory (pictured above, lane seven) live but, given the time difference, NBC are primarily concentrating their efforts on edited prime-time packages that are shown at the optimum time to attract advertising.
The United States had three sprinters in a race that was dubbed the fastest Olympic final in history, including bronze medallist Justin Gatlin (pictured above, lane six).
However, IOC spokesman Mark Adams stressed it was not for others to dictate how NBC operated.
"I'm not sure the 100m final has been shown live in the US for many years," Adams said.
"It's not unique to London.
"It's up to the broadcaster to decide – they are a very good partner and have record figures for these Games.
"It's not for us to tell them how to reach their audience.
"They try to catch the biggest audience they can."
The race was streamed live on the internet but there were complaints that it was impossible to watch because the feed was buffering.
Earlier in the Games, NBC were forced to deny that they were behind a decision to suspend the Twitter account of British journalist Guy Adams, The Indepedent's Los Angeles correspondent, after he criticised their decision not to broadcast the Opening Ceremony live.
NBC instead aired Danny Boyle's extravagant show during prime time as a "tape-delayed" event, leading Adams to call the network "utter, utter b******s" on his Twitter page.
Twitter subsequently apologised and restored Adams' account.
Adams is just one of tens of thousands people who in America who have taken to Twitter to complain about NBC's policy of holding back televising the main events until prime time when it brings in the most viewers and advertising revenue for the network.
It was also forced to apologise after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold.
Yet, despite all the criticism, NBC's coverage is still setting Olympic records.
The network said each night. including the Opening Ceremony, has averaged 28.5 million viewers or more for the first time in the history of televised Olympics.
August 2012: London 2012 wins a gold medal in TV viewing figures
July 2012: NBC deny they are behind Twitter ban on British journalist after he criticises London 2012 coverage