Friday, February 19, 2010

Sorry, Angelenos: Unlike you, Guam gets its Olympics coverage LIVE

Above, from KNBC's website: Viewers are FURIOUS... about ice skating coverage?

It still amazes me that KNBC allows its viewers to trash the station regularly on its own website. I guess it's a credit to them that they don't scrape those comments immediately.

Recently, viewers have been hammering the station and NBC hard for tape delaying the network's primetime Olympics coverage.

I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, of course NBC wants to keep its coverage in primetime, when more viewers are able to watch -- even if it means we're stuck with three-hour old fare that had been live on the West Coast. It's nothing new for the Pacific time zone, where we regularly have to accept tape-delayed fare.

But in this age of Twitter, it's hard to keep results of sporting events and awards shows a secret. That's why NBC carried the Golden Globes live on the West Coast this year -- and why, perhaps, NBC should have carried the primetime Games live at 4 p.m., and then repeated again at 7.

Here's another obscure fact that might make you a little steamed. L.A. is in Vancouver's time zone, while Guam... is not so much in Vancouver's time zone. Not even close. Guam is 18 hours ahead of the Pacific time zone. When it's 5 p.m. Thursday on the West Coast, it's 11 a.m. Friday in Guam.

Yet Guam gets its Winter Olympics coverage live. Yes, live. At the same time as the folks in New York are watching. It's just a lot brighter out in Guam than it is in New York right now. And Friday.

Thanks to the International Date Line difference, Guam is watching NBC's primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics at 11 a.m. each morning. And Guam NBC affiliate KUAM-TV is then repeating that same coverage in primetime at 7 p.m.(when it's 4 a.m. in New York, and no live coverage), giving folks who missed it live a second chance to watch.

(Cut to scenes of angry West Coasters, burned by spoilers from East Coast Twitter feeds, throwing their iPhones at the TV screen.)

For its part, NBC has pointed out that primetime allows for the largest audience to catch the Games’ biggest events. (It also makes a rather big difference for advertisers.) The network has also worked to keep much content off the web (with less online streaming this time, as several news orgs have pointed out).

But beyond that, viewers on the West Coast -- who point out that they’re even in the same time zone as the Vancouver Olympics (the first Pacific time zone Games since the 1984 Los Angeles event) -- will have to keep practicing caution before hitting the Web.

If it makes you feel any better, the folks in Guam have to watch live coverage of the Super Bowl on a Monday morning every year. How weird is that?

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