The Vancouver 2010 Olympics have only been on for a couple days yet I haven’t really been able to get into them. After reading NBC’s Infuriating Olympics Tape Delays Have Sports Fans From Coast To Coast Rooting For Its Quick Demise from Business Insider I might know why. I can get any result I want within a matter of moments after the competition has been completed. After Canada won their first Gold medal I knew almost to the moment because some of the people I follow on Twitter were sharing their excitement. I went to the the CTV who is the Canadian site that is carrying the Olympics to see footage yet the videos wouldn’t load. I’m not sure if it was because they couldn’t handle the traffic or the fact that they were geo blocking me. If it was geo blocking I have to ask why? Why make digital walls that aren’t needed, CTV only hurts their rep by not being available to a bigger audience.
I also started to think about the bigger picture of how old media hasn’t kept pace. For NBC it’s all about sponsors on tv which makes sense. The old thinking is that they’ll build up tension and edit the events for prime time. The problem is that everyone knows the results and watching it is hardly exciting. There’s so many events going on for the Olympics, why not curate the best of instead of adding filler? I’ve had a hard time navigating NBC’s website trying to understand what is being streamed, what is available to me because of my cable system and the fact that the online viewing experience is a huge effort with minimal reward. I see some events are on Universal NBC in HD, I don’t even know what channel that is on my Time Warner subscription. I Googled for it to no avail. It’s a huge info design nightmare that is missing a lot of potential.
When I think of a content cone for the online networked world we know live in, these are the things that pop to mind for me. When an event starts, stream the content live and unfiltered. People love to test, why not keep an eye out for those watching the stream and see what they’re affected by. When are people tweeting the most, what are they talking about? Those pops in conversation are a great place to start editing the footage down. As the event moves towards the end, other stories are naturally going to develop, those being easy to spin off as new content both online and tv. (I wonder how much longer will it be that online and tv are seen as different entities?). As the event completes and the peak or tip is formed there’s a ton of great content for a number of different audiences. There’s the unfiltered live stuff for those that can make the commitment, other stories that want background, a round up of the event afterwards, and if a person missed the event, a possible way to see the archived event. At the moment this barely happens. They’re trying to compress all that stuff together in primetime without much success. Trying to be all things to all people for a couple hours is not going to succeed.
Another way to get people more engaged is to open up the media elements. There’s no reason why a person shouldn’t be able to log into NBC’s Olympic site and create their own user page that allows them to grab content from NBC’s Olympic coverage, allow users to add their own notes and comments. As they create their own pages that drive traffic why not allow them to publicize what they’ve created? Let them embed that content on their own blogs, sites or Facebook wall. All links would drive back to NBC. It’s people driven curated content that allows people to create value where there was none before.