NBC Olympics Content #fail

A lot has been written about how seriously NBComcastUniversal takes their coverage of the 2012 Olympics, particularly the lengths to which it will go to protect the brand. The fear of pirated unlicensed, pirated content somehow slipping into the public consciousness has been driving a lot of what’s behind the planning for this year’s coverage.

Somewhere along the line, though, it appears that NBC has lost sight of the fact that piracy and unlicensed use of content is driven by one thing — demand. The Olympics are a big deal when it comes to content. NBC knows that and has invested tremendous resources into covering the games, but they appear stuck in a mindset that misses the potential to leverage all of that content to meet the demand.

Lance Ulanoff at Mashable offers up several examples. First, he wonders why Americans had to wait to watch the opening ceremonies:

Why, for example, didn’t NBC simply run the ceremonies live in the afternoon (at around 2:30 p.m. ET) and then run it again in the evening instead of trying to pretend that the opening ceremony hadn’t happened yet? NBC and the IOC’s attempt to control the flow of content and information failed almost immediately as participants and audience members started tweeting and Instagramming and, worse yet, at least one website started streaming pristine video live from the event.

It’s a great question. NBC appears so stuck with an outdated broadcast mentality that it totally missed an opportunity to increase the buzz surrounding the opening ceremonies. What if NBC streamed the ceremonies live across its digital platform when they were happening? They could have optimized that experience for the social media space, encouraged content sharing, and by the time it was prime time on the East Coast, the whole world would already be talking about an event that hadn’t even hit TV screens in the U.S. yet. NBC could have used its live stream of the opening ceremonies as a commercial for its broadcast coverage. Did they really think that people wouldn’t watch it on TV on tape delay if it had already been streamed live? That seems like a huge misunderstanding of the media landscape in 2012.

Ulanoff goes on to point out a huge missed opportunity by NBC to highlight some memorable moments:

As one memorable moment after another flickered before our eyes, we began to search for and share memorable moments. The Bond video, we found. It was cute watching the Queen play along as an equally dour-faced Daniel Craig gave his best stoic Bond performance as he led the aging monarch to a live appearance at the stadium in London.

NBC made sure to squeeze dozens of advertisements into the rerun. Again, we were fine with this. At least the spectacle was good and performances like Atkinson’s silly synth player, were viral gold.

Because it had been hours since the live performance, multiple versions of the Atkinson segment appeared on YouTube. None of them, though were official. This seemed odd, but Mashable, like other outlets selected the best one to share. Within minutes the video was gone and replaced by this message:

“This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”

Other videos appeared, but soon succumbed to the same fate. It was a digital game of whack-a-mole.

In all this time, no official video from NBC. What were they thinking? Network execs had to know this was a gem and yet they couldn’t offer it.

How is it possible that NBC didn’t have its digital content chop shop serving up these viral gems for the world to watch and share? Did they really not think people would care? That’s a huge content #fail!

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