US viewers were too fatigued to watch Paralympics, claims NBC chief
Saturday, 29 September 2012
September 29 - There was only limited coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics in the United States because it was held too soon after the Olympics and American viewers were suffering from "fatigue", it has been claimed by Gary Zenkel, President of NBC Olympics.
There was widespread international criticism of NBC because they did not show any of the Games live and coverage was limited to four 60-minute highlight packages on one of its cable teleivision channels and a 90 minute show a week after the event finished.
Zenkel has claimed that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) should in future consider making the gap between the two Games bigger, which would also help attract more sponsors.
"As an event its positioning, one or two weeks after the Olympics, is difficult as there is a tremendous amount of fatigue," said Zenkel, speaking at the Royal Television Society's Digital World Conference in London.
"A US audience, probably...commits a tremendous amount of time to the Olympics.
"They change their whole lifestyle.
"They don't go to the laundry, don't go to the movies.
"When it ends reassembling that audience [for the Paralympics] is very, very difficult.
"Commercial support is very difficult.
"It is also fatigued and very difficult to re-engage the sponsor base to support the coverage.
"We respect and believe in power of the [Paralympics] and how it can inspire.
"We'd love to do more.
"It needs to be positioned, at least in the US, when the audience will gather and commercial sponsors return."
Zenkel claimed that NBC had actually broadcast more action than at any previous Games.
"The Paralympics was a spectacular event, it clearly reached new heights in London," he said.
"We participated in a consortium that included the US Olympic Committee, the Paralympic rights holders, YouTube and Universal Sports in making available more coverage in the US than historically.
"That said, there was plenty of criticism of not adequate coverage of the Paralympics.
"I will only say that we provided a fair amount of coverage over the course of the Paralympics.
"We are a commercial broadcaster."
September 2012: More Paralympics coverage needed in the US says IPC chief following NBC snub
August 2012: USOC announces record London 2012 Paralympic coverage after criticism of lack of live action