NBC’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics wasn’t live, a move executives called better for business, even though ratings did not agree.
Commercials engulfed the festivities of the Opening Ceremony last night [Friday, August 5]. John Miller and his NBC affiliates warned reporters last month of the network’s pre-taped broadcast at a July press conference.
According to philly.com, Mark Lazarus of NBC Sports Group wanted to add “context” to Rio’s history while pleasing shareholders with ads. But it was executive producer Jim Bell who had the power to make delay the broadcast an hour after realtime.
“First of all, it’s not a sports competition, it’s a ceremony that requires deep levels of understanding all the various camera angles and meanings for the host country, and our commentary laid over it,” Bell said. “We talked about prime time being important. I think that for most people, it’s fair to say that after 8 o’clock is a time when most people can watch.” Unlike NBC, international networks and other media professionals on-site reported realtime.
The words of Miller, marketing head of NBC Olympics, were not specific to the Opening Ceremony. Miller spoke of the delay of various Olympic broadcasts. And it was these words that reemerged on social media last night that upset many. His comments on the decision are under fire as some call them sexist, reports NY Daily News.
“The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans,” Miller said. “More women watch the Games than men, and for the women, they’re less interested in the result and more interested in the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and mini-series wrapped into one. And to tell the truth, it has been the complaint of a few sports writers. It has not been the complaint of the vast viewing public.”
This is not the first time that NBC delayed coverage of the Olympic Games. But Variety reports that this Summer Olympics received the lowest rating in 10 years. Even comparing to the Winter Olympics, Rio’s Opening Ceremony does not rank as high.