Mon, September 23, 2013

Tilleyvision: NBC faces Olympic fans' wrath

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Steve Tilley needs a few extra sets of eyes to watch the London 2012 Olympic Games properly.


They’re calling these “the Twitter Olympics” (apparently Twitter wasn’t around in 2010), but U.S. Olympics broadcaster NBC might be wishing social media wasn’t such a factor in these games.

Americans angry at NBC’s tape-delayed events and inane commentary are expressing their displeasure online, with the #NBCfail hashtag gaining so much traction that NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell (@jfb) is responding to viewer complaints on Twitter.

Perhaps a bit snarkily, too . . . when one viewer compared NBC’s tape-delayed coverage to airlines giving the least satisfactory service they can get away with, Bell snapped, “You do know that all sports events are being streamed live, right?” Which then sparked its own cascade of snippy replies, including, “You do know sports are awesome to watch LIVE on a 42-inch HDTV and not on a buffering Wi-Fi connection?” and, “Only for people with a cable subscription. The rest of the world does not have to jump through hoops.”

Forget boxing and judo, Twitter-fights are the new Olympic contact sport.

Screen savour: Once upon a time, people used to sit down in front of a TV to watch the Olympic Games. How quaint and adorable is that?

As the games progress, I’m experimenting with different ways of staying on top of the action, sometimes to the point of overkill. On Sunday I had NBC’s coverage of women’s swimming playing on my TV, TSN’s coverage of women’s beach volleyball streaming via www.CTVOlympics.ca on my laptop, CTV’s coverage of men’s tennis playing on my iPad through the CTV Olympics app and SportsNet’s coverage of women’s weightlifting on my Android smartphone via the Bell Mobile TV app. Four events, four screens, simultaneously. My head, it explodes.

There are some drawbacks, too – we’ll look at those as I dig deeper into each high-tech method of satisfying Olympic hunger later this week. Right now, I need three more sets of eyes.

Ads adding up: One downside of being the guy who has to monitor Olympics TV coverage all day is you end up seeing every Olympics TV commercial dozens and dozens of times. The Nike “find your greatness” ad? Wonderful. The dancing McDonald’s employees? Sort of fun — the first time you see it. But the Olympics have barely begun and I’ve seen it 27 times. No joke.

Then there’s the Procter & Gamble “proud sponsor of moms” ads, which have been racking up the likes on P&G’s Facebook page. But this campaign rubs me the wrong way. Namely: Where’s dad? Don’t dads also get up early to take kids to practice, hold their breath when their kids compete and burst with pride at their kids’ achievements?

Maybe these ads were created as a response to the notion that dads are the ones who traditionally guide their kids’ athletic exploits. If so, fine.

But many modern dads are just as involved in the child-rearing process as moms, whether those kids grow up to be Olympians or not. (Interestingly, Petro Canada’s Olympic ad campaign has a similar theme, but with the tagline, “It’s mom and dad’s victory too.”)

Speaking of P&G, I wonder if they’re rethinking their choice of hiring Michael Phelps for their Head & Shoulders shampoo ad, especially since the commercial refers to flakes that wash out. Booyah!

Celebrity tweet of the day: “Note to @michaelphelps. Channel your inner Walter White. As you look at the water imagine blue crystal and say to yourself, I AM the danger!” — Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston), who plays methamphetamine maestro Walter White on TV’s Breaking Bad.