Saturday Night and #NBCFail

Just hours into the Olympic Games and Twitter is abuzz with comments on NBC’s Olympic broadcast. While there is no definitive way for us to conclusively measure Twitter sentiment negativity, suffice it to say that there are enough critical comments that NBC has been trending on Twitter all day Saturday and into the evening.

NBC paid some $1.7 billion for the rights to broadcast the games and, while it says it is offering live streams of all 32 sports and more than 3,500 programming hours via live stream, including the awarding of all 302 medals, the network has opted not to stream either the opening or closing ceremonies.

“They are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team wil provide for the large primetime audiences that gather together to watch them,” said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, in a statement. (

So Far

The tape-delayed Opening Ceremonies Friday night (delayed to the East Coast, and then even longer to the West Coast) were the most watched ever, with a precedent-setting 40.7 million people watching NBC’s first night coverage, topping the previous high of 39.7 million of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, according to overnight Nielsen reports, (via Washington Post).

Twitter measured 9.66 million mentions of the opening ceremony (measured from the start in England, to the completion of the U.S. broadcast), according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Bluefin Labs said Saturday that, with 5 million comments measured, the ceremonies were the No. 3 most social special event on TV, following this year’s Grammy Awards (13M comments) and the BET Awards (8M).

So, on many points, much success to NBC, but still the acrimony lingers on Twitter as the network draws criticism for not airing the opening ceremonies, as well as gaffes (chronicled by The Guardian) by its Opening Ceremony announcers, and technical glitches on the live streams throughout the day Saturday, the first full day of competition.




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