A pint of Olympic TV notes: Why NBC can ignore the slings and arrows of the ‘minority’ Twitterverse by just putting on more archery


There’s a fine line between being engaged and enraged in the television coverage, and depending on your technology-driven platform, how it’s expressed can reveal more about you than what you’re saying.

These self-dubbed “Social Media Games” have already seen two athletes banned from the Olympic village for inflammatory Twitter posts, the U.S. women’s soccer goalie look juvenile for getting into a techno-spat with an NBC commentator, and one L.A.-based journo having his Twitter account suspended because of an NBC protest (with its business partners, no less), only to have it all reinstated the next day without much of an explanation.

Yet the original tsunami of Twitter criticism seems to have dried up and redirected itself to something else glittery and shiny.

The reality is that NBC’s numbers have muffled the 140-character gripefest which may have helped topple governments but can’t always get what it wants with unfiltered frustration.

If it seems to be a cause-and-effect relationship, it’s effectively a lost cause because it hasn’t affected NBC’s bottom line: Ratings, in such proportions that they’re even quietly hoping it could turn a profit rather than take a projected $200 million loss.

“We’re over-delivering on every measurement,” said NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus during a conference call today, emphasizing that the network has been careful mixing innovation with tradition.

“We’ve had some challenges and they’ve been documented and the critics on social media have their voices heard. Some of it is fair.

“Everyone’s got the right to their point of view and an overwhelming number of them are voting with their clicker and mouse and fingertips – we’re enjoying this and please continue.

“We understand that some don’t like it, and they’re a loud minority. The silent majority is with us the first six days.”

Use your loaf on this one: NBC has a recurring template-tested system that’s remains female-friendly, inflamed-retardant, revenue-generating, streaming-capable, delayed-ungratifying, Nielsen-bloated and Twitter-repellant.

In the end, it’ll be #NBCprevail. The sleep-deprived majority rules.

“The guys in the office who make the most noise complaining about NBC’s tape delay (then) watch it for four hours each night,” Anthony Crupi, a staff writer at Adweek, told the Associated Press.


== Archery, according to the great and powerful NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel , is the new curling.

Not waltzing? Not yet.

As the network also heavily promotes a new fall series called “Revolution,” where there’s a lot of actress Tracy Spiridakos sporting a crossbow in a post-apocalyptic, technology-disabled planet (NBC’s wishful thinking?), the swagger of American archer Brady Ellison and “The Hunger Games” halo has an average of 1.5 million viewers finding the sport on one of NBC’s cable channels.

That’s a bigger number than the average viewership for men’s basketball – the U.S. men attracting most attention, but the rest of the games dragging down that average number considerably.

Lazarus said he predicted archery to be a younger-demo attraction, and “we’re trying to feed that appetite.”

Alas, the men’s final Friday ends the archery competition.


== Wurtzel said of the tape-delay aspect of the prime-time coverage that a recent third-party survey of 1,000 viewers last Sunday showed 43 percent admitted they heard results of events during the day but, counterintuitive, they were also watching more prime-time events than those who said they didn’t hear results.

As for NBCOlympic.com use: 28 million have so far visited the site, up eight percent to those who did during the Beijing Games of 2008, and 4.6 million have used the mobile site, double that of Beijing.

“The Olympics are changing consumer media behavior,” Wurtzel said. “For the first time, a majority of the website and aps have live content, and 75 percent say they are streaming on their tablet for the first time. Eighty-six percent of the smart phone users are streaming video for the first time. Even on the website, 36 percent of the users say they’ve used live stream for the first time. And 68 percent of the visitors to London’s Olympic site didn’t even visit the Vancouver (Winter Games) site two years ago.”

From an age demo standpoint, he also said teenage viewership is up 28 percent versus Beijing, teenage girls are up 52 percent and kids 2-to-11 are up 33 percent.

“Why is this important?” said Wurtzel. “Because it’s cultivating the next generation.”

== One last Pat O’Brien generation-inspired moment before we change the channel: He started today’s Bravo broadcast by introducing the day’s lineup highlighted by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (pronouncing it right this time) against Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer vs. John Isner: “If those matchups can’t get you fired up (chuckling at his own joke) then we suggest you are part of a generation that maybe just cannot be inspired.”

We suggest …. naw, never mind. It’s a generational thing obviously. Those who stopped being self-proclaimed hip and/or cool in the mid-’80s wouldn’t get it.

== It appears we’ve seen every segment from the first three episodes of Matthew Perry’s new fall NBC sit-com “Go On.” He’s a sports-talk show host in rehab. Modeled after . . . whom?

== L.A. is tied with San Francisco for No. 24 with a 20.8 rating and 39 share in the list of metered markets for the Olympics after six nights, where Salt Lake City (27.3/48) remains on top, and San Diego is tied for fifth (24.3/43).

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