Violet Socks is not the only person PO’d with NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. (There are plenty of complaints here and here.) Violet can’t see coverage in real time and she apparently works from home. I can’t see it at all at work, not even with my dual recording DVR because there’s nothing to record in real time that I want to see. NBC is even time delaying their broadcasts to the west coast. That’s right, if you live in Seattle, you can’t see what’s going on in Vancouver, just up the road a spell, until 8PM when NBC, who has exclusive broadcasting rights in the USA, will turn to its marketing department to determine what you want. If you are an American, NBC will presume that you don’t give a rat’s ass about the rest of the world’s athletes. You will get highlights of events where Americans are expected to medal (or is that podium? ). Interspersed with your carefully selected and edited sports niblets will be a ^&*(load of commercials and some nauseating human interest stories of determination and perserverence triumphing over heartbreaking personal loss and devastating injury. (yeah, right, Lindsey Vonn’s shin injury was catastrophic. Tell it to the podium)
It’s like getting dial-up Olympics coverage from AOL in a gigabit ether world that exists but that your municipality has forbidden you to get. (No, I’m no bitter at all that I’m stuck on sucky DSL because my only other option is Comcast).
Why should you care? Oh, I dunno. I guess it’s because showing the games in real time should be a no brainer. It’s not 1972 anymore and this is not the Wide World of Sports where, by the way, I think they showed every skiier from every country in their coverage of skiing. This is 2010 where we *should* have instant access to everything. If NBC is giving us sh^&&ty coverage, we should be able to turn to online sources for events in real time, that is, if they weren’t blocked by American IP address. We should be able to go to a Canadian or European broadcaster for our downhill fix.
So, what’s going on here? Ok, as professional merger survivors, let me and my friends hazard a guess as to why NBC is failing to live up to our expectations. Right now, Comcast and NBC are trying to merge. Here’s how that goes: the first day that a merger is announced, all work comes to a screeching halt. Formerly productive people spend their time speculating on the political chess game that is going on in their departments. Who’s in, who’s out. Projects are put on hold pending further review. Projects that are going gangbusters prior to a merger announcement slow down to a trot. People twiddle their thumbs while their overlords stab each other in the back, swing their dicks around and use their prodigious MBA’s to implement the idiotic plans of the consulting group they just hired to “transform” the place. Then, because “we are too menny“, there must be layoffs. The formerly productive workers cancel their living room furniture purchases and concentrate on getting their houses ready for a quick sale. They spend hours grooming their resumes and making calculations of their gross yearly income based on the severance package that the company beancounters have sent out. They sweat and worry and make appointments with their doctors to get the old bods in good working order while they still have health insurance.
Und zen zey vait.
How long will it take before all of the alpha males (and they are ALWAYS male) decide that they have strutted and preened enough to satisfy the shareholders, taken their cut and skeedaddled before everyone can get back to work? Eventually, it happens. Everyone is now one big happy company with values like “innovation!” and “Creativity!”. But by that time, creativity has taken a backseat to survival. When the Olympics roll around, the creative, innovative departments look around at their reduced headcount and their devastated budget and the even more manipulative and controlling overlords and they punt. Just do it the way you did it last time. Forget that there is new technology. You don’t have the time, manpower or money to do it better. Yeah, the shareholders (and you are probably one of them, which gives “conflict of interest”a new meaning) won’t get their bang for their buck but they won’t notice for at least another quarter. And by then, your management will be looking for new “opportunities”.
Creativity? Innovation? Pleasing your customer base? Who the f&*( has time for that when you’ve just kept your job by the skin of your teeth and the Idiots in Charge are too impressed with their business school credentials to listen to you anyway?
So, Comcast/NBC, when they finally merge, will push out content in time delay, like they do now, like it is 1972. Only a few voices will stand up and call them on their borg like “You will be assimilated. Resistence is useless” attitude. We will fall farther and farther behind our Canadian, Asian and European counterparts. We will have a free market, laissez faire, anything goes market place in the US where no one benefits but the consultants and the people who jettison at the last minute with golden parachutes, leaving everyone else with the bag and the blame.
So, what to do? Well, we can’t prevent every merger but Al Franken is working on preventing Comcast/NBC. Imagine if every innovation was given the same short shrift if the Comcast/NBC merger goes through. Your cable company will control the horizontal and the vertical and you’ll NEVER see Lindsey Vonn ski in prime time- ever.
Ain’t America great?
To contribute to the only loud mouth in the Senate willing to stand up for us against the borgs, click here.
Now’s your chance to put your foot down and say “NO!” to more mergers, less freedom of speech, less control over content, less innovation.