#NBCFAIL shows how broadcast TV has changed forever

#NBCFAIL may not mean to you a lot if you are not a social media fan, but it has been the talk of the weekend.

NBC is the American broadcaster with the rights to broadcast the London Olympic games. On Friday they chose to record and transmit the London Olympic opening ceremony later in the day, rather than to broadcast it live.

As many have pointed out online, this might have been acceptable a decade ago. The opening ceremony would have been just about at the end of the working day in New York, but would still be during the working day for those on the west of the country – so the reason for a later transmission is understandable in some ways, but it does not recognise that the backchannel of social media now exists.

Not only were people all over the world watching the London opening live, they were tweeting and commenting online as it happened. The hilarious (depending on your opinion of him) Mr Bean sequence was all commented on as it happened. The big surprise of seeing the Queen of England parachuting into the stadium with James Bond – it was all being shared and laughed at virtually as it happened.

For the official American broadcaster to think they could record it and then play it back later expecting people to still be surprised is quite an oversight on their part.

And what was worse was the selective editing of sequences that they felt might not resonate with an American audience. So their audience not only missed out on watching live and being a part of something as it happened, they missed entire segments because they were considered irrelevant.

One of those segments was the tribute to the victims of the 7/7 London terrorist attacks – completely skipped over in the US broadcast. Is it any wonder that #NBCFAIL was one of the most hotly discussed topics on Twitter this weekend?

London 2012 fridge magnet

Photo by Elliot Brown licensed under Creative Commons

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