Everybody knows that the Olympics start officially on Friday with the opening ceremony going off on 8/8/08 at 8:00PM Chinese Time (GMT+8) or 7:00AM Central Daylight Time (GMT-5), or at the time that the Today show starts on NBC most days in the Central time zone (for those who may not know it, NBC and all the other networks air their morning shows on a schedule of 7-9AM no matter where you watch it, so viewers in my area are actually watching a show that is an hour old-by the way, for Aussie insomniacs or shift-workers who see these shows on 9 or 10 at 4am or whenever, take a note of the upper left – it usually will say Live EDT or Live PDT there-that’s the sign that it’s been shifted).
Now, most rational people would assume that this would mean that the Today Show, for one day out of, oh, however many thousands of days, would be pre-empted for a live, nationwide broadcast of the Olympics starting at 6AM, an hour before the ceremony started, right? I mean, it’s not unprecedented as people in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and a lot of other countries are going to do the same thing. Heck, here in the States, the AC Nielsen company counts repeat viewership as part of ratings now, so they’d make even more of a killing by playing it live and then replaying it at night (like CBC is doing).
However, Dick Ebersol, along with the NBC programming department have decided that it is far superior to ignore the time of the actual event and air it whenever they feel like it. In this case, 6:30PM CDT has been declared as the time that the Olympics shall start on NBC, three hours later if you’re on the West Coast, a delay of 11½-14½ hours. Thankfully NBC can rest safe in the knowledge that people don’t have access to things where they can, oh, watch the opening ceremony live via legal and, ahem, other methods. 😉
Oh wait. There’s this Internet thing. How many people do you think will forego having to listen to whoever NBC have chosen to host the ceremony blabbing over the whole thing (though without Katie Couric it shouldn’t be so bad this time, but Mary Carillo is just as annoying), and find their way to a foreign-sourced broadcast of the ceremony, and have access to it before it even starts broadcasting here? Oh, the irony that the one thing that they love to bandy about to people who want to show old footage of old TV shows – Piracy – is only solution to a problem that they’ve created by ignoring the fact that an Olympic opening ceremony is designed to be an event shared by the world as one.
Remember that the next time you see a clip on YouTube removed "Due to a claim of Copyright by NBC-Universal", will you? 🙂
Oh, and one last thing, here’s a couple of lists comparing who is showing the ceremony live and who isn’t. It must be lonely at the top of Rockefeller Plaza… 😉
Nations airing the Opening Ceremony live
- Australia (something I personally confirmed by calling 1800 777 777 and speaking to Matt on Saturday Afternoon)
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- All of Europe (Eurosport)
- South Korea
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
Nations NOT airing the Opening Ceremony live
- United States of America
So much for caring about the viewer – I guess they need to make the money somehow to pay for the billions of dollars they have to pay the IOC…but of course, air the ceremony twice, you can instantly double the advertising revenue. 😉