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The Internet & The 2012 Olympics: Not Quite a Perfect Match

August 07, 2012


Amid the complaints of coverage by NBC, social media spoilers and cord cutters, the common denominator remains the same: The Internet.

The World Wide Web has provided a means for Olympics fans to skirt NBC’s tape delays of the event, a sore spot for both NBC and viewers, mostly because loss of intense criticism for the former and spoilers galore for the latter. Although NBC has claimed that they’ve done far better than anticipated revenue-wise, the network has been highly unresponsive to its viewers and the #nbcfail social media campaign. It’s because of this that viewers have tried to find others means to watch events live, some illegally.

A lot of Internet users are finding ways to bypass country-based restrictions by using unofficial websites or VPN/proxy services to stream the 2012 Olympic Games. People using a VPN or proxy server to make themselves appear as if they’re consuming the video from within the jurisdiction the broadcaster is licensed to distribute it in are running a great risk, particularly when it comes to breaching the foreign broadcaster’s terms of use. But because of NBC’s financial decision to broadcast events during primetime, which translates to more money, viewers are taking to the ether to get what they want: live coverage.

That number, however, appears to be small, according to Yahoo’s! Tech It Up.        

The other bone of contention of not being able to watch the Olympics live is the many spoilers by Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook users. With social media in full swing, Olympic spoilers have people turning off their phone alerts or avoiding social media altogether.

Despite the rights to shut down signals from outside the United States to protect NBC’s monopoly, even NBC has tripped on its own locked-down formula. Six minutes before airing the women’s 100 meter backstroke race, NBC ran a promo for The Today Show, which led off with "When you're 17 years old and win your first gold medal, there's nobody you'd rather share it with. We're there when Missy Franklin and her parents reunite…"

With all of this hubbub, it’s quite clear that the predicted marriage of old and new media by the 2012 Olympics has yet to materialize.

Will networks begin to fade as we see new media come to fight for rights and acquisition?  

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli