Some U.S. Olympic Fans Look For Foreign Coverage

Posted on August 9, 2008

The New York Times reports that NBC's 12-hour tape delay on the Olympic ceremony had some U.S. residents checking for updates and scores elsewhere.
NBC's decision to delay broadcasting the opening ceremonies by 12 hours sent people across the country to their computers to poke holes in NBC's technological wall - by finding newsfeeds on foreign broadcasters' Web sites and by watching clips of the ceremonies on YouTube and other sites.

In response, NBC sent frantic requests to Web sites, asking them to take down the illicit clips and restrict authorized video to host countries. As the four-hour ceremony progressed, a game of digital whack-a-mole took place. Network executives tried to regulate leaks on the Web and shut down unauthorized video, while viewers deftly traded new links on blogs and on the Twitter site, redirecting one another to coverage from, say, Germany, or a site with a grainy Spanish-language video stream.

As the first Summer Games of the broadband age commenced in China, old network habits have never seemed so archaic � or so irrelevant.

"The Olympics to me is a benchmark for how fast we've gone with technology," Brad Adgate, the senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, a media buying firm in New York, said. "Thirty months ago, no one was talking about YouTube. Now, it's a verb."
U.S. residents can get information on foreign sites like BBC News and CBC.ca although the videos are blocked for U.S. viewers. NBC's own coverage is online at NBCOlympics.com. It's not all delayed like the Opening Ceremony either as NBC is said to be planning 2,200 hours of stread live coverage.

Delays may not bother everyone as the time zone difference makes many of the live events at occur at times when many U.S. residents are sleeping.