Broadcast Engineering celebrates quality of NBC Olympic coverage

Broadcast Engineering celebrates the quality of NBC’s 2012 Olympic coverage, extolling the technical setup and the quantity of material provided across various platforms and channels

Obviously the technology was used in an optimal manner. As for the spectators, the excessive manipulation, time-shifting and editing of the events caused a backlash, the hashtag #NBCfail raged during the whole event on social networks.

Failure to carry live the opening ceremony enraged part of the US viewers and made them envious of the British ones. The ones who could, accessed the BBC programming via proxies, the rest just expressed their frustration all over the web. Once they finish patting themselves on the back, the people who made editorial decisions at NBC should analyze their decisions and how they communicated them to the public. In 2012 you cannot slice and dice the coverage, time-shift it and omit essential elements, because people have access to information on the web and they will use it. And, although NBC tried to tell their audience, initially, that they had no reason to complain and that they should be happy with what they were given, they had to accept that a vocal section of the audience were unhappy with the way Olympics were presented in the USA.

Because of regional segmenting of web streams, I could not access the actual NBC programming from Europe. However, judging from the comments of disgruntled viewers and my past experience with the US TV, I believe that the European PSB (Public Service Broadcasting) model is superior to the all-commercial US model. Yes, paying a licence fee is a nuisance. But how many people actually access TV for free? The majority have to pay fees to cable or satellite operators to get a usable signal. That fee is usually greater than a licence fee in Europe. US viewers can also add premium packages to the mix, like in Europe. Altogether, they spend the same or more for lower quality programming, plagued by constant interruptions for commercials. We have commercial TV in Europe, with similar quality of programming and commercials – but not exclusively. European public broadcasters may be far from perfect, but they provide at least a modicum of cultural content, like high quality documentaries and own productions of drama and quality programming.

Not all is lost for US viewers: the public broadcaster PBS still exists, although Republicans have been and continue to try smothering it. Just a few dollars a year from each viewer would provide the US with a strong, high quality broadcaster, capable of competing with the established networks.

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