"Waah, I hate that NBC is tape-delaying the Olympics. I'm just going to find out the results online, and not watch the primetime coverage." Liar. NBC and the Vancouver games are doing historically well.
NBC is listening to your complaints. They hear that it's ridiculous for an Olympiad that takes place on our continent to not be shown live. They know in this age where every website has photos and results up, hours before NBC's coverage, it's annoying to have to wait to actually see the event.
They're listening to you, and they don't care.
Why would they? From the television ratings so far, there's absolutely no incentive to change things. Every single primetime broadcast thus far has outperformed even the highest rated night from 2006.
Trumpets a press release:
The 26.4 million average viewers for the first five nights of the Vancouver Games is the most for a non-U.S. Winter Olympics since the tabloid-fueled 1994 Lillehammer Games (38.1 million). The 26.4 million is nearly five million more and 22 percent higher than the average viewership of the first five nights from Torino in 2006 (21.6 million).
They're averaging 14.5/24 per night so far, meaning a full quarter of televisions in use have been tuned to NBC. Even more bizarrely, the games are doing their best in the Mountain and Pacific time zones, the places where the tape delay makes the least sense.
"Not going to watch events on tape," my ass. You're all tuning in regardless, because, let's face it, the Olympics make for great TV. It's less about knowing who wins than actually seeing it happen. Bitch and moan all you want about NBC's absurd policies, but the one thing that could change it for the future — a lack of viewers — just isn't happening.
There is hope, though. Last night, NBC didn't even win the evening. From 8-10, American Idol outdrew the Olympics by four million viewers. So if you really want to send a message, tune in tonight to find out who else made it to the top 24.
26.4 Million Average Audience For First 5 Nights of Vancouver Games [TV By The Numbers]