For all the "the model no longer works" comments: what's the proof? The number of people I know complaining about the model is dwarfed by the number of people I know who have cable and have been watching stuff on both TV and online all day long.
I've seen a lot of legitimate complaints about how they're handling the time shifting stuff (which, surprisingly to me, has mostly been along the lines of "it's too easy to find out what happened" instead of complaining about the time shifting in the first place), but I don't see a big hole in their delivery system. They don't want to give people less reason to have cable -- and for all the money they could possibly make broadcasting the Olympics for-pay to non-cable subscribers, that's just a couple weeks every couple of years. The real win for them is if you still want to maintain a cable subscription.
More and more people no longer channel surf, and more and more people no longer watch tv (even if they have it) even at a rate of once per month. Increasingly people are watching other content or consuming tv content differently (through netflix, for example). And just as the trend of going without a landline telephone started with the younger, more tech savvy folks and spread from there so has the trend of going without traditional cable tv.
The writing is on the wall. It will likely be a good while before the decline in subscriptions makes a big impact, but it's very much on the horizon, and the networks and the cable companies ignore it at their peril.
They won't change until the absolute last second, if even then.
This is especially true in the case of big companies that are much less agile than their competition. The traditional tv companies are facing a very similar fate as the newspapers, they just don't know it yet.
So many businesses today are profitable because they have a monopoly or oligopoly on some aspect of a supply chain. The onset of ubiquitous computing, network connectivity, automated manufacturing (3D printing et al), and so forth will disintermediate damned near everyone. A lot of those intermediaries have become fat, lazy, and myopic due to how easy it has been to hold onto their business up until now, for the most part they won't know what hit them until it's far too late to do anything about it.
Just as a comparison, NFL Sunday Ticket Max on DirecTV is $299 for the season. Standard Sunday Ticket is $199. No brainer.
NBA - http://www.nba.tv/nbatv/subscribe $5/month = $60/year
NFL - http://www.nba.tv/nbatv/subscribe from $110/year, $130 or $200/year (depends on what you want)
So, range for the three would be $230/year, $250 or $320/year. I went for the season pass in NFL, so $250/year.
I have cable, but my cable provider does not offer a package with MSNBC so I'm out of luck.
Funnily enough we dumped it because at the time Desperate Housewives was a season behind the US, and by the time we'd get to see it the ending was already spoilt.
We've only this year got Breaking Bad.
Instead it's a subscription to an NNTP provider. High quality, we can choose where and when we watch, and we don't have to wait for some high authority to decide if/when we get to see it.
That's why NNTP "sharing" is so popular here.
PS: Then again I have cable and I have yet to watch any of the Olympics this year, but I assume some people care.
Uh, yeah. It's something you need in order to run a company. A company that employs people and gives them, guess what? m-o-n-e-y. And how does it do that, and how does it continue doing that? By being profitable, which it does by having (among other things) exclusive content and advertisers who want to be seen alongside that content.
But no, NBC should just put all their stuff online, where it's less clear what kind of profit they would make, because fuck them, this is the internet, and money is bad. We internet people can work at companies that don't have a business model or make a profit, so why can't everyone else?
Not giving something to someone for free just because they demand that they should have it is not sacrificing customer satisfaction.
In fact, broadcasting the Olympics is a massive _LONG_ term bet since NBC loses tons of money on the games themselves.
If you are not a cable subscriber (i.e. over-the-air broadcast receiver), you are NBC's product only, and not their customer.
Anyway, the core of your argument seems to be that it is okay for a company to do what it can to make money but even ignoring legal/illegal activities, companies are supposed to provide value and people are supposed to give them money for that exchange of value. This is a company milking money because they can. This isn't price gauging; this isn't stores in flooded areas selling doubly marked-up bottles of water and flashlights. In those cases there is a real cost and shortage of those goods. In this case the olympics could be put on the internet for pocket change (relative to gov't or NBC spending).
And what about this "exclusive content" defense? The line is fuzzy for sure but surely it exists somewhere separating what kind of content companies should be allowed to have exclusive rights over. Moon landings? Presidential addresses? Presidential debates? Emergency alerts? Emergency news? Weather?
Money isn't bad. But abusive monopolization is.
(the critics at 4chan must be on to something when this blind loyalty to raw capitalism and wannabe entrepreneurship gets 2nd in this thread)
This is not true. They broadcast about 20 hours/day of olympic programming for free OTA. Most of it live, they delay high ratings events. I know it so 20th century, but they provide you free and legal option to watch Olympics.
The fact that this guy is literally asking people on an internet blog not to watch what will inevitably be viewed by tens of millions of people kind of does more to prove this point than anything I can say here could.
I haven't had a TV for almost 3 years and I suffer through missing out on lots of stuff. However, until the economics change (e.g. cable companies die) it's going to be like this for several more years. At least I got a real streaming Superbowl this year.
Rather than complain, let's change the economics and help to make the transition faster. Btw, http://justin.tv is a going place to start in a pinch. :-)
Of course it is, think out of the box. Netflix is already doing it, see the discussion elsewhere in the thread. Apple/Google might buy the Olympics rights and put it in iTunes/Play.
Are you sure that's better than the current model? You have to be very careful about listening to customers, because what people say they will pay for is quite different than what they will actually pay. Aggregately I might pay $80 for access to the Olympics and several other channels as well (I already do this, so this isn't really a stretch). I'm not so sure I'd pay $1.99 to watch the US Men's Basketball team play one game, and even if I would, NBC makes its money through advertisements. There is no proof that a pay-per-view model would bring nearly as much revenue as advertisements over wide broadcast would.
And this says nothing of the people who don't necessarily live in Silicon Valley and have ready access to broadband and iTunes.
Note that NBC stands to lose $1-200 mio on the olympics (I think is was in this week's Economist), so it's a loss leader for them as well.
Anyway, my point was merely to react to the idea that "I can't think of a better business model off the top of my head" somehow equates "it can't be disrupted".
They need to provide live streaming coverage of a wide variety of events, whether for free (with ads) or for a fee. That's the minimum bar these days, if they can't meet that bar people will just get their olympics coverage some other way (such as pirated bbc coverage) and NBC will still have lost out on a massive amount of potential revenue. And in the meantime they will have tarnished their brand as well.
By making this stuff available online, the amount of money they can get for the primetime TV spots is reduced, because fewer people will watch the primetime stuff, and it has less cachet because it's no longer exclusive. They will recoup some of that loss by charging money for internet access and having ads on the internet stream, but the ads online will be even cheaper, because that's just how internet ads work. Not only that, but they have to have a platform that they can use to deliver and charge for this content at scale (they might already have such a platform, but it may not be up to this kind of scale, I'm honestly not sure.) So that costs money, too. It's likely the folks at NBC did this analysis and found that it didn't work out in their favor, or there was too much uncertainty.
Meanwhile, most people will be at worst annoyed by the lack of internet coverage, but they'll just record it on their DVRs, or miss out on an event here or there. A very small number of people will go the trouble of pirating it, but those people are likely a margin of error in the grand scheme of things.
What's not clear, as with the newspaper industry, is what the alternative is.
Henry Blodget, tarnished prophet that he is, has been beating this drum loudly and fairly convincingly for a few years now:
But who am I kidding? Nobody's going to stop watching NBC permanently because they won't air the olympics in a timely manner.
An option could be to double down on the tape delay, and uniformly embargo results until the airing: pretend that when something airs on NBC is when it really happens, at least for NBC-property purposes.
Sportsmanship left the venue, if not always the specific athletes, a long time ago.
Or even shorter, everyone wants to get stuff, lots of stuff without having to lift a finger.
Out of this, every company-customer relationship has to be dysfunctional.
The idea that the economy is a perfectly fair system where everyone profits equally in a transaction is a fairy tale. It completely ignores the imbalances of power inherent in social systems. In a perfectly free market, imbalances of power will be compounded over time, similar to the theory of the big bang where small imperfections of the early universe are fundamental to the large structures that follow.
We don't know how to make such a world exist. The claim is not, "if we could snap our fingers and make the world look like anything we wanted, the happiest world we could create would also be the world with the most massive profits". It's closer to, "if we want to optimise for happiness going forward from the world we have, then we should also optimise for allowing companies to make profits".
(Not to say I agree with the claim, but that particular argument is missing the point.)
Some companies make products that make people happy, and profit as a result. Examples: Apple, Southwest, Uber, Sonic.net, Flip etc. I would like more of these companies to exist, and for companies to focus more on customer satisfaction.
To my chagrin it's not clear these companies are any more profitable than their competitors who focus less on customer satisfaction.
(To be fair, I would say most hardcore libertarian philosophy is based on natural-rights type views, and doesn't make arguments about maximizing outcomes at all.)
Another problem is that humans and fairies are not omniscient, nor are we perfectly economically rational, no matter how much the sparkles in our hearts may ache with yearning to be so! Perhaps there is a way to replace NBC with something far better, and in order to make it happen, all we need is some hard work and a few billion dollars of investment money, carefully applied. If only we had the foresight to take such a gamble -- but in this imperfect world, none of us have the clarity of foresight needed to make such a huge gamble reasonable.
And that's before we need to worry about ugly stuff like regulatory capture and violent coercion! If you can improve any aspect of this situation, I will shoot abundant glitter out of my wand in your honor, and the world will be improved!
Sincerely, the market economics fairy!
I'm quite happy to see angry @replies. I don't anticipate them changing how they're doing things mid-games, but maybe they'll realize they made a mistake if every "Such and such just won the blank event!" gets multiple angry responses.
I saw the 400 IM was on at 2:30pm today, so I turned on the tv to NBC - only to see yet another pointless interview with Ryan Seacrest (why is he doing sports coverage??). Had to watch a stream of the race live even though NBC was airing Olypmics coverage at the same time!
I have not looked thoroughly, but from what I have read and seen briefly, NBC is working hard to make it easy to view and access online streams of the individual events if you know what you want to watch. I could be wrong though on actually how easy it truly is.
Also, the argument about money. They are a company that is in business to make money. Is this not the one of the main reasons for going in business? To make money. Why would they spend all that money on exclusive access if they were going to lose it all?
It's impossible, unless you're already an NBC cable subscriber. If you _are_ an NBC subscriber already, it's only pretty painful (involves passwords you basically never use otherwise and so forth).
But yes, they're working hard to make it as easy as they can within the "you can't get this if you're not already one of our customers" constraint.....
> In a break with predecessor Dick Ebersol, new NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus promises to show all events live rather than saving the best for tape-delayed coverage in prime time.
So I guess they figured it's not profitable. But I wonder how many people have been pissed at missing the live coverage, see the results on twitter or the rest of the Internet and then just not bothering to tune in during prime-time?
How about charging $X to watch it live online? And if you don't want to pay that money then you can just wait until Prime Time.
The NBC Olympic coverage sucks.
The BBC thing is neat but quite unwatchable.
Out of curiosity, why the hate?
The IOC is deeply corrupt, and the olympics have long ceased to be about sports.
They are about selling officially branded merchandise from official sponsors and
simultaneously squashing local competition with ridiculous, speciallly drafted
laws, which cricitically impacts the local economy even after the games are long
over. It's akin to a swarm of locusts, really.
Also, the branding police of the IOC puts the MAFIAA to shame - you might have
heard about their petty attempts at censorship ("you may not link to our sites
if you report negatively about us!!1!1" or banning anyone from using word
combinations such as "London 2012" and "Summer Games" - which the internet of
course spitefully ignores).
Perhaps on the local level this is all true. But (anecdotally, at the very least) for every viewer I know, it's about national competition between incredible athletes. The excitement about seeing a world record broken, the upsets when an up and coming young fencer takes gold, and the warm feeling I get when my flag is raised and the anthem is played.
All of your reasons are why it sucks for the host city. That's a problem that can be solved without sacrificing the best athletic competition in the world.
That's like asking people in China about how the government treats dissidents,
because hey, they watch TV. Surely that will be on TV, yes?
And yes, the comparison with China is apt. The IOC is a bunch of corrupt,
corporate prostitutes who will do anything for their corporate overlords. London
is in a state of military lockdown for the duration of the games - heard about
the missile pods on civilian houses, for example?
Besides, about those "incredible athletes" - the olympic games were never about
that, either. It's supposed to be a friendly competition between amateurs.
Professional atheletes have their world championships/cups/leagues/whatever, and
should have never been admitted to the games. They have absolutely no
business being there.
My point still stands: the very absolutely and definitely last thing the
olympic games are about is sports. It's about mind-numbing commercialisation,
corporate greed and senseless destruction of local economies, all neatly hidden
behind entertainment for the masses - panem et circenses!
>All of your reasons are why it sucks for the host city.
Yes, and that's more than enough reason to boycott the games, and loudly
demand their abolition, instead of hiding behind "it doesn't concern me" and
mindless patriotism. It concerns millions of people. Show some compassion. We'll
lose nothing by abolishing the games that hasn't already disappeared long ago.
No, that's reason to loudly demand their reform.
Not about sports? That's beyond cynical.