Tape Delay an Olympic Dilemma

Instant-update world get results from Twitter, not NBC broadcast

By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 11, 2010 11:33 AM CST

(Newser) – The good news for NBC is that the North American location of this year's winter Olympics means far less tape-delaying of events than usual; the bad news is that in an era when Twitter can tell you instantly who won the gold medal, delayed broadcasts annoy audiences more than ever. That's especially bad news for the West Coast, which won't see any major daytime or primetime event live, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Olympic broadcasters have long depended on tape-delays to get events on the air during primetime in time zones that are often halfway across the world from the games—and NBC says its research shows viewers prefer the delay over events airing at inconvenient times. Still, NBC says the "vast majority" of events will air live in primetime, and to combat the frustration, it's posting results instantly to its own website and has staff working around the clock to stop exclusive footage from turning up on YouTube.

Tony Benshoof of the United States practices during a men's singles luge training session at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.
Tony Benshoof of the United States practices during a men's singles luge training session at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Guilbaut Colas of France  goes airborne during a practice session on the moguls slope at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.
Guilbaut Colas of France goes airborne during a practice session on the moguls slope at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
A.J. Rosen of Great Britain takes a practice run during the men's singles luge training session at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.
A.J. Rosen of Great Britain takes a practice run during the men's singles luge training session at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Israel's Alexandra Zaretsky and Roman Zaretsky practice their routine for the figure skating ice dance competition in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.
Israel's Alexandra Zaretsky and Roman Zaretsky practice their routine for the figure skating ice dance competition in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
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