Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Olympic Coverage

Well, the Olympics are over, and so I think it is finally time to add my thoughts on the matter. There were quite a few things I liked about the coverage, but at the same time, far too much I did not like.
I enjoyed the events. I did not enjoy the coverage.
When I learned that NBC would show coverage of the events online, I was excited. Come to find out, live events were only shown online when they were not going to be aired in prime time. This left a bad taste in my mouth.
Then, when it was time for the prime time coverage, it became evident the Olympics were all about money - at least to the executives of NBC. It was hard to watch a single event without interruption of commercials. How hard would it be to show a ten-minute medley relay in the pool uninterrupted? For the NBC executives, apparently, that was too hard of a task to master. Same thing goes for the volleyball, instead of showing uninterrupted coverage of a set, we had to take commercial breaks in and around the set, only to return to the game eight points unseen; just in time for a timeout and more commercial breaks.
The amount of commercialization is simply absurd. I don't know when product placement has become such a big industry, or when commercials dominated our society, but it is all too true of a fact. The commercials are fine (honestly, I do believe in advertising) when in tune with the programming, and even would have been fine for the Olympics, but why interrupt an event in progress for the endorsements? There existed plenty of opportunities to have words from the sponsors, but not during an event - a likely taped event at that which could have been edited if you MUST place the ads, but, for the most part, were not.
The coverage could have been so much more, but when I was already able to read the results of the events before seeing the coverage (because online content was unavailable) it certainly left a lot to be desired. If only the forum on the internet had lived up to its billing, perhaps this would not have been such a great issue in my eyes, but the fact that I was forced to endure tape delayed coverage, only to have that coverage interrupted every few minutes for commercials is beyond absurd. Surely, there exists a better way to get the sponsors names out to the public without breaking from the only medium that was offered to view some of the events.
More than once I stopped watching an event due to the absurd ratio of event coverage vs. commercial breaks, and this is truly unacceptable.

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