NBC's sign on the General Electric building in New York. The network has been receiving mixed success while broadcasting the 2012 London Summer Olympics. (Photo : Reuters)
NBC has seen their ratings sky rocket with the 2012 London Summer Olympics, as well as an increase in coverage criticism.
According to Zap2it, the Opening Ceremony drew 40.7 million viewers, overcoming the previous record of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics (39.8 million). The ceremony gained six million viewers compared to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The numbers will land the event in the top five most-watched programs of 2012, behind the Super Bowl (111.3 million viewers).
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NBC announced their NBCOlympics.com has earned more than one billion page views, across computer, mobile, and tablet platforms. With six days left in the London Olympics, the numbers can close, or surpass, the 1.2 billion views it got from the 2008 Beijing Games. What may surprise many is Michael Phelps is not the most-viewed athlete, but gymnast Gabby Douglas gets the most-viewed title (18.27 million to 7.04 million).
But with the positives, come the negatives.
Complaints poured as early as the Opening Ceremony.
NBC was criticized for not live streaming the ceremony, but delaying it until primetime coverage at 7:30 p.m. EDT. When the ceremony finally started on NBC, viewers flocked to Twitter about comments hosts Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Bob Costas made, from Danny Boyle's production, the Parade of Nations, and the number of commercials aired.
The network was also criticized for cutting the tribute to the victims of the July 7, 2005 London terror attacks. The attacks occurred a day after the International Olympic Committee announced London will host the 30th Olympiad for a record third time. The tribute featured singer Emeli Sande performing "Abide with me." Instead, NBC aired an interview by Ryan Seacrest with Michael Phelps.
"Our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience," NBC spokesman Greg Hughes said. "It's a tribute to [producer] Danny Boyle that it required so little editing."
NBC was forced to apologize late last week when a promo featuring a monkey for their upcoming show Animal Practice was aired immediately after gymnast Gabby Douglas became the first African-American to win the all-around gymnastics gold medal. The use of a monkey has often been used as a racial slur to the Black community.
"Certainly no offense was intended," said NBC Universal spokeswoman Liz Fischer.
The latest controversy was NBC's decision to delay the broadcast of Usain Bolt's 100-meter race. According to the Daily Mail, up to two billion people saw the race live, except in America. Bolt won the gold medal in Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds. The race was eventually on American television during the network's primetime coverage.
The amount of complaints toward NBC gave them the unique hashtag "#NBCfail." Independent's Guy Adams, a journalist, had his Twitter account shutdown after tweeting the work email address of an NBC staffer. His account has been reactivated.