Apparently it doesn't matter to U.S. viewers. Despite creating a social media firestorm by tape delaying all the good stuff, NBC is enjoying record ratings at the London Olympics.
NBC averaged 36 million viewers for their Sunday prime time Olympic coverage -- the best First Sunday rating for any non-U.S. Olympics since 1960, and the 36 million viewers is higher than any Night from the Beijing, Athens or Sydney Games.
All that and a twitter war to boot.
This Olympics is the first to test time-shifting results while also dealing with a world where results are instantaneously available through social media, especially the tweets from reporters in London.
Phelps wins heat, will not be seeded first, did what he had to do to set up tomorrow night. Clary made final as well.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) July 30, 2012
Reporters like Pat Forde are keeping their followers updated to the minute, and some people are complaining to him and the others that they are spoiling the results. The obvious answer to these complaints is that if you want to watch the event in prime time "DON'T GO ON TWITTER!"
The other part of the twitter war is being waged by those who are ripping NBC to shreds for taking events that are run 6 hours ahead of time in the UK. and taping them for prime time showing here. They even delayed the opening ceremonies.
Snarky tweets like this are showing up
NBC could not care less. As a matter of fact the Mountain and Pacific time zones have the biggest audiences, even though their delay is even longer than the rest of the nation. NBC has the Olympics available live on various apps, and they are also getting record numbers of IPad users.
The reason NBC is not having much of a problem with the "tape delay" brouhaha is they have spent a lot of money (1.3 Billion) for these games, and they have done their homework on just exactly who is watching.
NBC research of the 2008 Olympics showed that 206 million Americans watched at least part of the games. Of that 206 million, over 96 million never watch ESPN. Over 69 million don't watch the NFL.
They are not sports fans. They are fans of the pageantry of the games, and for the odd and unusual sports that never show up on TV except during the Olympics (synchronized diving anyone?)
Beginning with the 1968 Summer Olympics, ABC Sports President Roone Arledge expanded Olympics broadcasts beyond the competition by including personal profiles of athletes. He brought the idea of "Up Close and Personal" reporting to sports, and he invited the casual fans (i.e. women) to tune in and be drawn in with his patriotic storytelling.
It's a big reason why the tape delay problem seems to have had little effect on the prime time audience.
For the first 3 days, Austin ranks 16th overall in viewing for the Olympics. So far, 22% of all TV households in Austin have tuned in nightly, and 40% of all TV households with their TV sets turned on are watching the London Olympics.
So NBC says twitter away with your anger - just as long as you keep watching.