Olympics

NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus Continues Arrogant, Tone Deaf Response to Olympics Criticism

John Ourand interviewed NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus about the network’s Olympic Coverage. The response to the criticism was about as arrogant and tone deaf as the rest of the responses NBC has given. Here are some of the highlights.

“I think what we’ve proven is that the American viewing public likes the way we tell the story and wants to gather in front of the television with their friends and family — even if they have the ability to watch it live either on television or digitally,” Lazarus said. “I inherently trust that decision is the right one and that people want to see these events.”

No one is disputing a tape-delayed, edited primetime package at night is not sensible or, in some respects, a superior viewing experience. CTV and other networks do that. The issue is not showing the important events live during the day beforehand and blocking people from watching events on television until eight hours after they happen. If Lazarus is correct and what the American viewing public likes is to gather around the television at night, they will do so anyway. There is no reason not to show the events live during the day.

“As programmers, we are charged to manage the business. And this is a business,” he said. “It’s not everyone’s inalienable right to get whatever they want. We are charged with making smart decisions for our company, for our shareholders and to present the product the way we believe is best.”

Whatever happened to “the customer is always right?” A smart decision for your company would have been to not overbid massively for the Olympics when your entire revenue stream is based on advertising, thus forcing you to sully the prestige of the product by warping it into a vehicle for selling advertising to make up the cost. The Olympics would make far more sense on cable, where there is not the same maddening pressure to land primetime ads and some of the cost can be made up by the subscription fees.

“We don’t believe that a raw feed, which would be a host feed, without narration and broadcasting, would be a good user experience in a big stadium with lots of camera cuts,” he said. “We think we created the best experience. Frankly, I think all of the noise about Queen Elizabeth and Paul McCartney on social media and in the digital world helped build excitement for our prime-time show.”

It is possible to televise a live event in 2012. Virtually every country in the world managed to show this live with narration and broadcasting. NBC had a rundown of events. The ceremony had a dress rehearsal. This could have been accomplished. What NBC could not have done live was cherry pick segments they thought were “tailored to their national audience” and insert bland Ryan Seacrest interviews.

Here is what Lazarus had to say about live streaming…

“It’s a technological feat that’s never been tackled,” he said. “I’m very proud of our team who have been working their butts off to continue to try and improve the experience every minute of every day.”

Live streaming multiple sports events at once is a technological feat that has bever been tackled? What planet are you on? MLB has been streaming multiple games at once for the better part of a decade. ESPN3 runs a ton college football games at once on a Saturday, not to mention European soccer or whatever else is going on simultaneously. Even if this was an unprecedented technological feat, you haven’t tackled it. I’m staring at a frozen feed in 240p as I type this on a 40Mbps Internet connection.

What does John Skipper send him this week? Edible arrangement? Expensive bottle of champagne?

[Photo via Getty]

Previously: NBC Olympic Coverage Critic Guy Adams Had Twitter Account Suspended [UPDATE]
Previously: NBC Execs Think You Should Stop Whining About Tape Delay, and Live Stream Issues Are Your Fault
Previously: NBC Claims Opening Ceremony Was Too “Complex” to Stream Live

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