Delayed coverage is also causing issues for NBC newscasts at affiliates like Baltimore’s WBAL as they try to balance reporting Olympic results without harming prime-time ratings.
So far, WBAL has treated Olympics results as a TV or movie critic would “spoilers” in a preview. During the sports portion of its early-evening newscasts, viewers are warned that results are going to be flashed on the screen, so that they can look away if they want. The sportscasters and anchors never announce the results.
“We will continue to do it that way to respect the people who don’t want to know,” WBAL general Manager Dan Joerres said Monday.
“But we certainly are not withholding information,” he adding, pointing to the results posted online and shown silently in the onscreen graphic during the sportscast.
Mary Beth Marsden, afternoon anchor at WBAL radio, said Monday that her station was reporting Olympics results fully as they are known throughout the day.
She acknowledges herself being “one of those griping” about NBC’s tape-delayed coverage.
Overall, even Jarvis acknowledges that NBC Universal is “giving viewers a great deal live in video on the net and in apps.”
The irony of the complaints on Twitter and Facebook is that people are using new social media to say how mad they are that NBC is messing with their old-media, live-viewing TV experience.
“That says there’s still an affection for the old-fashioned broadcast channel TV experience,” Jarvis says.
“So, in a way, NBC would be wise to see this complaint as a valentine. But because they’re not listening, they’re squandering an opportunity to superserve viewers. People still want a super experience on the broadcast channels. And that could be good news for NBC.”