NBC feels Twitter’s Olympic wrath

Americans have ranted for decades about tape delays and overseas Olympics. We want to see stuff as it happens. But the network that pays a king’s ransom for the broadcast rights makes its money showing the high demand events during American prime time.

Network wins. That used to be the end of the discussion. Not this time.

The beating NBC is taking on social media shows just how much things have changed. Yes, Twitter was around for the 2008 Beijing Olympics but Twitter use has exploded the past two years, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

In 2012, most of us see how ridiculous it is to try and stop real-time news. It can’t be controlled. So you either adapt or face the universal mockery that social media can deliver.

Either way, things are going to change. I’m looking forward to seeing how the social beat down of NBC in 2012 shapes the coverage and information flow for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“The problem for NBC as for other media is that it is trying to preserve old business models in a new reality,” writes media critic Jeff Jarvis. “To experiment with alternatives when billions are at stake is risky. But so is not experimenting and not learning when millions of your viewers can complain about you on Twitter.

“The bottom-line lesson for all media is that business models built on imprisonment, on making us do what you want us to do because you give us no choice, is no strategy for the future. And there’s only so long you can hold off the future.”

— Paul Tosto