Aussies pan tape-delayed NBC showing

E-Mail from DOWN UNDER

September 29, 2000|By John Eisenberg

Australians are mad at NBC for its decision to broadcast the Olympics on tape, thinking disappointing TV ratings in America will persuade the International Olympic Committee never to take on the 15-hour time difference and bring the Summer Games Down Under again.

It's easy to blame the network when you're sitting at the tennis venue watching Venus and Serena Williams playing doubles for a gold medal in a match that could have been shown live in prime time on the East Coast but instead will be shown 24 hours later.

Yet, NBC's decision wasn't simple: The Canadian Broadcasting Company has shown many events live in the middle of the night and drawn minuscule ratings.

Maybe NBC's mistake was to commit to showing every minute on tape. The network could have shown a few live events in prime time, a few live events in the morning and the rest on tape.

Whether that would have helped ratings, who knows? But NBC wouldn't be getting viciously ripped in the Australian media.

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