Tape Delay In The Age Of Twitter

We sat down in the family room and tuned into the Opening Ceremony last night. And out came the Nexus 7. The second screen. I launched Twitter to see what folks were saying and found tweets talking about the event in the past tense. And then it occurred to me that we were watching on a tape delay. Of course we were watching on a tape delay. The opening ceremonies had happened in London in the evening which was friday afternoon New York time.

I get why NBC chose to show the opening ceremonies on tape delay in the US, but I am not sure it is the right call. Everything is live on the Internet. Everything is live on Twitter.

And now I'm thinking of the big events. Football, Basketball, Gymnastics, Swimming, Track & Field. Are these events going to be on tape delay too? Am I going to find out that Michael Phelps won his 19th medal on Twitter or on TV?

That's the challenge for NBC and all broadcasters who are carrying the Olympics. I vote for a live TV schedule and watching the games on my computer at work over a tape delay and the information coming at me before I can see it happening with my own eyes.

I think tape delay is a goner in the age of Twitter. I just don't know when the folks who make these calls will figure that out.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    Agree. I remember how magic it was, as a kid, to get up in the middle of the night to watch certain events. (Or as a young adult, sneaking off to a student/employee lounge to watch in the middle of the day.)

    1. bsoist

      Terri and I talk about that all the time. We both remember doing that as a kid. Good times!

      1. Anne Libby

        And powerful memories!

  2. BillMcNeely

    Tape delay has been on borrowed time for a bit now. Now that more people have DVRs or cable companies that offer the start over feature I think the 2014 Games will show differently. For the record after a day of moving wife and hit the startover button and watched at our leisure.

  3. RichardF

    We time shift everything we watch. The only thing I watch live is sport. I agree I don’t understand why the broadcaster would ‘tape delay’ anything when the consumer has the choice to do it for themselves anyway.

    1. Cam MacRae

      Me too. An unfortunate consequence of this is product placement as advertisers seek to make their spots skip proof.

    2. bsoist

      They still cling desperately to the idea that people come home from work, flop down in front of the tv and watch whatever is on. I know very few people who do that these days.

  4. gregorylent

    2012, and nowhere to watch an internet live stream of the olympics? we have a long way to goit was quite amusing, from china, to read tweets about the event in real time, then read the same stuff hours later for the american version … and to learn about some things nbc refused to show …

  5. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Enjoy it? We did. Surprisingly so; quite emotional.Looking forward to seeing our nephew tonight when his school bus gets back home (he was one of the guard of honour) – he managed to ‘high five’ Usain Bolt! Now on bus frantically checking if one of his mates got a picture of the moment 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      The boys from Sheffield doing the boys from Liverpool!!!! How cool was that?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Absolutely! What a great/pleasant surprise that was – even more so than the Queen and James Bond!It was a stunning performance by them – and a great moment for Sheffield. Made us all very proud; especially following on from the beautifully orchestrated tribute to the steel workers and factories of Sheffield. Superb visuals/symbolism.The whole soundtrack was so cool – is amazing to be reminded how many great songs/bands/artists the UK has produced over the decades. Loved the punks pogoing away, lol – I thought of you at that moment, actually – my fellow punk across the pond ;-)The Arctic Monkeys get tighter and tighter as a live band. Superb!

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        And to admit to feeling nervous shows they appreciated just how big a gig/honour this was :-)https://twitter.com/matthel…

  6. Shripriya

    I’m so glad I’m in India for the Olympics. Three channels covering everything live. NBC’s stance is terrible – even if the Olympics was taking place in the US, it would be tape delayed. That is, the rest of the world would see live what was happening on US soil and the US would have to wait for prime time. How insane is that?I can see the delay on my FB and Twitter feeds already. I understand the ad revenue issue, but just do a 2/3/4 hour capsule for those who can’t watch it live. Amazingly the rest of the world has already caught onto this model. The reality is most people can’t really watch during the day, so the capsule will make sense. And for the sake of honesty/veracity, show it live on the web.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      We are so lucky to have the BBC. In HD. Uninterrupted and 24 ‘red button’ channels for all contests in parallel. Plus, iPlayer online, any time 🙂

      1. Cam MacRae

        24 channels? And I thought my 10 channels was awesome. The problem thus far has been deciding what to bloody watch; the road race is shaping up nicely I must say.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Apparently, all 24 will only be online via the BBC’s ‘red button’ when necessary – ie, that is the max number of events that will be live in parallel. Great that even the most obscure disciplines can be watched live by fans.

        2. fredwilson

          We talked about what to watch here yesterday 🙂

      2. Shripriya

        I got a UK VPN for the month so I can watch iPlayer online. 🙂

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Cool idea. Enjoy!

        2. tobias peggs

          NBC’s decision can only drive more of this type of behavior – both to “white hat” solutions like getting a UK VPN and “black hat” to illegal streams, etc etc. We’ve seen this before in the music industry… like 15 years ago! So there’s been plenty of time to figure out a solution. When the walls are crumbling – like they are for broadcast, fixed schedule, ad-interrupted, tape-delayed TV – the TV cos can either just stand there and watch it crumble or pick up the bricks and build something new. Baffled by NBC yesterday (probably exacerbated by being a Brit Abroad and having my Twitter stream full of #OpeningCeremony all afternoon 😉

      3. fredwilson

        Wow wow wow

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          The BBC is pretty amazing 🙂

          1. raycote

            The BBC can’t possibly be any good it is socialist TV ;-)Wikipedia:”The BBC is a semi-autonomous public service broadcaster that operates under a Royal Charter and a Licence and Agreement from the Home Secretary. Within the United Kingdom its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee, which is charged to all British households, companies and organisations using any type of equipment to record and/or receive live television broadcasts; the level of the fee is set annually by the British Government and agreed by Parliament.”Just imagine trying to get PBS funded that way!

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol.For those not too familiar with the BBC – it is a thing we treasure over here, for sure. Hence the monicker ‘Auntie Beeb’ that the BBC is often referred to as. Sure, it has its flaws but its many positives greatly outweigh its occasional frustrations. To overcome its past London-centric ‘media luvvies’ occasional mindset much of it is now based just up the road from us, in Manchester – ie, in deepest Northern England – it now has a truly national mindset/representation and also greatly boosted local economies, especially in creative services. It has also done an excellent job of embracing all things digital. And that’s before I gush about the BBC’s myriad of radio services (which we use more than TV, generally, in our house).The NHS was rightly paid tribute to last night in the ceremony – and also, rightly, Sir TBL, etc, etc. The BBC should itself have been acknowledged for the pivotal role it has played in British – and World – culture. Long before the ‘net and Twitter etc the BBC World Service via radio was giving hope to millions globally who were deprived/denied news, culture, information. Sadly very overlooked, nowadays and has suffered a lot from budget cuts as is seen as somewhat ‘old school’ by some…

          3. ShanaC

            maybe pbs would be able to stop important stuff from the bbc if it did that 🙂

  7. bsoist

    I sent you an email recently about addressing this very problem. It first occured to me during Hilary Clinton’s concession speech in the Presidential primaries.

    1. fredwilson

      I must have missed it. What’s the idea?

      1. bsoist

        Actually, it doesn’t directly address the tape delay issue. I agree with several other comments here – providers should not delay broadcasts in a world where the viewers can delay viewing themselves.My idea is about dealing with the spoiler effect of delayed viewing versus live conversation on the web. I very often want to watch an important event – speech, sporting event, or even a premiere or finale of a show – on a delay of a few minutes (to avoid ads). I’d love to be able to follow the online conversation without spoilers. I’d like to see the option to build a delay into the conversations online that matches the viewing delay.

        1. fredwilson

          Aha. I get it. Curious how one would do that

          1. bsoist

            I spent quite a bit of time working through that myself. I had a crude prototype working quite a while ago, but I didn’t have the financial muscle to get access to the firehose data.

  8. Wells Baum

    In many ways, the past tense on Twitter encouraged audiences to watch the taped broadcast in the United States. Twitter previews hyped the show. I even spoiled the torch lighters for my mom via Twitter and she was even more incentivized to stay up to watch the Ceremony to the end.The broadcasters are right to tape delay Twitter to justify ratings. It may disturb Twitter users but they still watch anyway. The second screen is just as much for conversation as it is previews.

    1. matthughes

      Early returns on last night’s NBC ratings make your point unfortunately: up 7.5% over Beijing.Huge ratings in the US market.Ugh.

  9. Tom Labus

    NBC pays a lot of money for the Olympic rights and considering the amount of prime time commercials last night I don’t see them “going live”.But this is an incredible incentive for Twitter and others to figure out how NBC can go live and still make their money.

    1. William Mougayar

      That’s a good lead-in. But how? All Twitter could do is a Search page with the Tag Olympics? C’mon.And where is the YouTube live channel? Where is the Livestream channel.

      1. Tom Labus

        Don’t know the route but with that much cash at stake someone will find one or create one.

    2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      The biggest joke was that while NBC didn’t live broadcast the opening ceremony they were tweeting it live!!

      1. Tom Labus

        I would imagine NBC keeps a tight rein on what can be done or not be done by any partner. NBC wouldn’t move until someone can demonstrate that they can surpass TV revenue. But I don’t think any company is in that position today.

    1. William Mougayar

      Good one – Oldympics +10.

  10. S.D. Kramer

    Fred — NBC at night is tape delay because of the time difference but otherwise the emphasis is on live as much as possible even when the event is at 3 am US time. If you pay for TV odds are you also have full access to 3,500 hours live through authenticated streaming — I can see more than a dozen live streams now through the NBC Olympics Live Extra app. Here’s the NBC TV guide — you can see which events are live http://www.nbcolympics.com/… and the online Iistings http://www.nbcolympics.com/… (lots of details about this at gigaom, including how to watch without cable. http://gigaom.com/tech/topi…Unfortunately, especially given the commitment to live, NBC made a huge mistake by not showing the opening ceremony twice — livestreamed at a minimum and prime time package. Twitter added a vital layer. It was wild watching the waves come through and seeing the difference of reactions based on how people saw the opening. I even heard from one of the volunteers in the Industrial Revolution after he saw one of my tweets.

    1. Mike Geer (MG)

      Staci, I would be very interested on why they made that decision to not livestream the opening ceremony. As a journalist, could you query them on this? ;)MG

    2. fredwilson

      Great comment, great infoThanks!

  11. awaldstein

    Live means just that.If everything is time-shifted to where you are, the TV experience is just a catalogue of what already happened.#boring

    1. ErikSchwartz

      The power of TV is it can both be informational and convey drama in a powerful manner.

      1. awaldstein

        Your comment made me realize that I don’t have a crisp definition of what TV means.Is it a word like Mail, Record, Clock that is strictly a metaphor?

        1. ShanaC

          good question – I think we need to separate out tv technology from tv content in order to get a stricter definition

          1. awaldstein

            Although you need to ask if it matters really.Everyone basically just wants content when they want it where they want it and most are willing to pay for it ala carte.When I think of TV I think of episodic content. Obviously it’s not exclusive to the big screen in the living room but thats how in my home it seems to have evolved,

  12. John Revay

    YUP – I was just telling this to my wife….re: NBC’s big mistake – so this is a timely post.I read an article last night after watching teh tape delay….critical of NBC for Not streaming live the opening and then replaying the tape during prime time. The Head line of the article was something to the effect of NBC’s big mistake!They even went on w/ the irony that NBC has a twitter feed covering the games and they NBC were tweeting live. Again this article thought they should streamed live and then tape delay on TV during prime time.I think we are at a sea change w/ Twitter and reporting/covering news around the globe.The other big news on Twitter yesterday was that there were reports of Apple investing in Twitter @ $10B/Valuation.

  13. Brandon Burns

    “I think tape delay is a goner in the age of Twitter. I just don’t know when the folks who make these calls will figure that out.”Never, but tape delay isn’t necessarily a “goner” either.While, for example, tennis nuts (like me) will find a screen at odd hours, and completely alone, to catch each ball as its struck in real-time at Wimbledon, when it comes to a monumental event like the Olympics, real-time consumption pales in comparison to the power of friends, family or strangers in a bar, all crowded around the television to observe, discuss, eat and drink *together* as they take in such a rare, massive event.Every person who went to an Opening Ceremony party last night experienced that. I’m sure you did, too, crowded around the sofa with the wife and kids, sharing and discussing together — you wouldn’t have had that hunched over your laptop in the office.There should be, and there will be at some point (fingers crossed!), more real-time options for those like you (and me) who can’t keep off spoiler-alert Twitter, but NBC will continue to produce its amp’d up, tear-jerking Olympic coverage and make a big deal about it for months in advance, making sure everyone gathers ’round the TV to bask in its glory, together, in prime time; because deep down, many people love that experience… and the only feasible hours to get that experience are after work and before bed, in the prime time hours between 7 and 10pm.



  14. William Mougayar

    The Olympics have become about greed and money and is controlled by a very conservative institution – the IOC.Here’s the root of the issue. NBC had to pay $1.2 Billion for these broadcast rights, up 33% more than $900 million 4 years ago, and that’s a figure imposed by the IOC. NBC has to make it up by shifting their broadcasting schedules to optimize their viewership numbers. I wonder how much Eurosport paid (i’m guessing a lot less). Eurosport has a lot better coverage than NBC including some with 3D/HD.To add insult to injury, not only is this delayed-tape antiquated, but the whole online coverage of the Olympics is lame. Look at their “official” YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user…. It’s stil showing Beijing 2008 replays, and there aren’t even new clips of 2012. And it says:”To watch the Olympics Live in your country, please visit the list of London 2012 Broadcasters”, linking to a list of TV broadcasters around the world:http://www.olympic.org/cont…Why isn’t there a list of online broadcast destinations? Why isn’t Livestream all over this? That’s missing big time.Following the Olympics via Twitter is not the solution. The Twitter Olympic “channel’ is just a search page with the tag Olympics, although they did get the headlines “Twitter launches dedicated Olympics channel”. https://twitter.com/search/…It’s shame…If you want to watch and experience the Olympics, the average spectator in the US will get a very curated view from NBC. If you want the real thing, point your Satellite dishes to international channels or good luck finding pirated sites that work.

    1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      why do you think Eurosport negotiated a better price than NBC? Is the competition in the US for TV rights that much more competitive than Europe?

      1. William Mougayar

        Just my gut tells me that. Eurosport is pan-euro and that price is probably related to the local spot prices. I couldn’t find data to back it up. Also, NBC is “Exclusive” to the US market. That’s worth a Big markup. Eurosport doesn’t have exclusive coverage for Europe.

        1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          your gut feeling is probably correct. It would be interesting to dig up some data on this. Anyone out there with that information?? share it please

          1. William Mougayar

            The key data point is the exclusivity part and the size of the US market. These are the biggest factors. Had NBC not had exclusive rights, the IOC could have given rights to NBC, CBS and ABC perhaps for $500 million each & that would have been good for everybody.

    2. tobias peggs

      William – of course your essential point is correct. It cost NBC a ton of money to secure the rights, and they need a return. Hence showing on Primetime. The irony is, because last night was tape delayed … and i had missed the thrill of seeing it live… i felt comfortable watching the tape delay on my own DVR-delay… so i could skip the ads! (Of course, NBC still got their ad money, but those advertisers realize that the model is broken too – i.e. they are paying NBC to show me an ad which i skip. When consumers *and* advertisers are unhappy, there’s a problem… ).

    3. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Absolutely baffled at the live coverage stance. Utterly pointless.

  15. leigh

    appointment lean back tv’s days are numbered it’s like watching what’s been happening with news media outlets.complacency + fear = insert dying brand here

  16. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    At least the Canadian broadcaster, CTV, had the sense to realize that the opening ceremony has to be shown live. This tweet by Sam Biddle @samfbiddle made me laugh yesterday:Thank you Tim Berners-Lee for creating the technology that lead me to this bootleg stream of the Olympics where I am now watching you

  17. matthughes

    Tape delay to the West coast was even worse…When NBC went on the air at 7:30, my Twitter was already full of the first wave of ‘live Tweets’ from people in London and people griping from the East coast that it wasn’t streaming live.Then a second full wave of Tweets from East coasters commenting on their tape delayed broadcast.By the time I was watching here on the West coast, the ceremonies had been thoroughly washed and air-dryed on Twitter.

  18. William Mougayar

    The biggest technological innovation I have seen so far out of the Olympics is the Facebook One-Click button “Support Athlete”. It automatically posts it on your Facebook Activity stream. That’s an innovative One-Click action. I just did that for one Canadian athlete I’m following. (see attached pic)Go find your athlete and support them on Facebook. Why didn’t Twitter think of that? They could have had a One-click Support this athlete on Twitter with links to their Twitter profile for example and auto-follow. I wonder who paid who for that Facebook one-click action to be present on the official Olympics site under each athlete’s photo. http://www.london2012.com/



      1. William Mougayar

        Me think: neither.It’s the Will & Imagination.Right now, FB has more of that than Twitter.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        2. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Facebook has the markets sword of damocles, that’s for sure.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. raycote

            THE SWORD OF DAMOCLESisn’t that hanging over the whole internet ?BOY! Don’t I have a positive outlook today 😉

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol. Not at all! We just need to drink more, apparently!Why? If not seen it already, read this letter ‘from’ Zuck in The New Yorker… ;-)http://www.newyorker.com/on…

          4. raycote

            ThanksLaughter is the best tonic !

          5. Carl Rahn Griffith

            You’re welcome! Indeed. It – laughter, sometimes manic – has certainly helped preserve what little sanity I have left over this past year – I look forward to enjoying laughter in a wholly different manner in the future, Hopefully… :-/

          6. William Mougayar

            Right. Good way of putting it.

          7. ShanaC

            no, people are fickle, they thought that about aol too. even facebook will have a day with fickleness will bite them.

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Lol. If Facebook is architecture then I am a banana.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        2. Matt A. Myers

          I’m glad I didn’t have liquid in my mouth at the moment of reading this..

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol. Very good!The banana inspiration is in fact from Ian Hislop (long-time editor of the infamous satirical magazine, Private Eye, for those not aware of him) and his famous quote (over here, at least) – has somewhat entered the English lexicon to refer to something insane or grossly unfair ;-)As editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop is reputedly the most sued man in English legal history,[7][6] although he is not involved in as many libel actions as he once was.[8] A libel case was brought against Private Eye and Hislop in 1986 by the publisher Robert Maxwell after the magazine accused him of funding Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s travel expenses as a means of gaining a peerage.[9] After the case Hislop quipped: “I’ve just given a fat cheque to a fat Czech”. Maxwell was revealed to be an extensive fraudster after his death in 1991 illegally drawing on his companies pension funds; his last writ for libel against the Eye and Hislop was about this “malicious” and “mendacious” claim.[5]Another libel case in May 1989 threatened the magazine’s continued existence when it was ordered to pay £600,000 in damages following an action for libel by Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. Hislop told reporters waiting outside the High Court: “If that’s justice, then I’m a banana.” The award was dropped to £60,000 on appeal.[10] In his many court cases, Hislop has only won twice.[8]

          2. Matt A. Myers

            It’s sounds like his life would be an entertaining read. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            He’s a very cool guy – very bright, very funny. If you have never seen a Private Eye issue, here’s a sampler…http://www.private-eye.co.uk/

  19. Guest

    “Age Of Twitter?”Fewer than 8% of Americans use Twitter daily and if you delve into the demographics its even more obvious why NBC won’t be changing anything due to Twitter anytime soon.http://techcrunch.com/2012/…The “relevancy” of television broadcasting is better highlighted by the fact that 15% of all Americans watched “All In The Family” every week back in the 1970’s.http://www.allinthefamilysi…As far as the Olympics go, what really needs to be asked is what is the benefits of hosting the Olympics when you see what condition Greece is in after hosting the 2004 Olympics; that is a question the IOC will have to deal with.



      1. Guest

        If overall users of Twitter has remained static at 15% and the number of daily users has grown from 4% to 8% then it might mean that the influence of Twitter is stalling.In tee shirts there is a belief that more colors and more designs equate to more sales; experience has shown me time and time again that up to a point additional colors and designs will increase your sales but you will reach a point where more colors and designs end up just competing with with your existing skus (the plateau as I call it) and then too many colors and designs will actually lead to lower sales.We might be reaching the point in social media where cross platform influence has ended.Then what?

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. raycote

            Good metaphor any thoughts on what that next generation foundation should like like?

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            is this a differentiation between the social web and social media. In other words, the social web will have no barriers while social media will hit it at some point.

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            WHAT DIFFERENCE?

          5. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I interpret the social web as the individuals who represent nodes of influence and the groups/communities that forms around them. These type of communities interconnect with others and are what I think of as a social web. The tools they use whether it is twitter or facebook is social media. If this is still confusing it is because I am still trying to properly define them in my head 🙂

          6. raycote

            SO:- Cleaner- Stickier – More flexible- More extensible?Google Wave done with an Apple-like interface ?

          7. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          8. LE

            Problem (besides getting the network effect obviously) is that now you have a complicated product which is not as easy for people to understand and use.Computer people like to tack on features because they think everyone is a math person with great memory and can keep track of features.I learned when I added product after product to my earlier business the limitations of the masses. I would get an idea for a new product or service. Say, “we are going to offer laminating”. And I would research and buy the machine and have it all figured out and understand it in an hour. Simple. But that was also an additional thing for the employees to learn. Ok, 1 product no problem they picked it up. Well if you start to do that with multiple products you a) have to train new people in all of the products b) they don’t pick it up quickly it takes them time even if you add a product infrequently c) more rules and regulations and things to think about. So by limiting the products that you are selling to a few things you make your situation simpler as an employer. The key of course is striking the right balance. Or a scale that allows you to overcome that problem (Home Depot has plenty of items but they have enough resources to add labor where they need it).So with taking a simple product like twitter which people have taken to because of it’s simplicity and now combining it with something that allows you to blog, rate restaurants, send email and be the “mayor” you are creating something where the average person (read big market) is not going to be fast on the uptake.It’s not intuitive. I still haven’t read any of the manuals to the last 5 cars that I’ve bought (which is unfortunate since I’m always finding things that I should have known about which are kinda cool). I expect to get in the car and be able to drive off w/o reading. Or I will put off buying a new car.The original intention of those products was very simple and easy to understand. Wrap it all together (even with the fact that people are knowledgeable now about what all of this does) and you have a clusterfuck that isn’t easily understood.

          9. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          10. LE

            “Iphone” The iphone took legacy features and benefits (that for the most part) existed in other phones already and improved on them greatly and that was the initial appeal as well as the form factor. Everything just worked better.What was the specific “more features” that the iphone was released with that other phones didn’t have that you feel is the reason for it’s initial success? The app store wasn’t until mid 2008 as only one example. My phone before that had a camera and you could play music on the phone and you could text and you could take notes and you could browse web pages as well as set alarms. The UX sucked but the features were there. The iphone did a better job and reduced the keystrokes necessary to do things like set an alarm (something I never used my old phone to do).”word” – Word is a complete clusterfuck that was built up over time. The first word had nowhere near the capabilities that today’s version has. It added things over the course of many years, not all at once. It had an existing user base that was already buying the product. It wasn’t a complete from the ground up replacement for “5 different things”. There were also legacy documents created with Word and the whole execution with software like that has nothing to do with the point I was making. People are already were buying cards from Ford. Adding 4 wheel drive makes the purchase more attractive. And easy to wrap your hands around.”email” – Won’t even address this point you are making. Surprised you even used it.

          11. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          12. LE

            “UNLESS DOING IT WRONG.”That’s the norm though.There is simply not going to be a high probability of some uber group getting together to create this super product that replaces the other services that you are speaking of that gets mass adoption and crushes everyone else. It’s not low hanging fruit enough. And I don’t believe people are looking for that solution all in one either. You are not talking about a machine that “washes and dries” in the space of only one machine that uses 1/2 the electricity.Is it possible? Sure I’ll agree. Of course it is. But it is not likely.(Next, we can discuss the patent trolls that will come out of the wood work if any idea like you discussed is attempted.)

          13. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          14. LE

            a) Dare is easy with no skin in the game. Kennedy had everything to gain by issuing that challenge. (Kennedy also was in Dallas exposed against the advice of the secret service the night before who had their own problems..)b) Don’t get me wrong it’s certainly an idea that would get funded easily. And if I had a chance to buy in early I would invest in it and get on board. Why? -See “c”c) As Jim Carrey said in “Cable Guy” said “Sounds like heart break to me” but the truth is “no sweat off my sac”.http://www.imdb.com/title/t

          15. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          16. ShanaC

            often more features are more complexity – the best products are single featured in which you figure out multiple uses. Sort of like vases being used for pitchers.

          17. ShanaC

            that sounds like a mess I wouldn’t want to use. Swiss army knives are not good regular use tools, even if they are all purpose. And what you are talking about is swiss army knifing social internet

          18. fredwilson

            That called Facebook 🙂

          19. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            ME FORGOT +OPEN +NOT SUCK. ‘<

          20. fredwilson

            Ah yes. There is white space there

          21. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          22. William Mougayar

            But I would caution you that this type of tool is for the power user, so the addressable market might be small. How many users like to have a 747 cockpit dashboard on their PC?

          23. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          24. William Mougayar

            That would be nice to have…but you don’t want that motor scooter to flip in the air as a result of the strong propulsion 🙂 I will add “motor scooter” to the Dino analogies lingo along with tiny brain, duct tape, 2 bits, etc…

          25. Matt A. Myers

            I’ll give it a try..ALL FLOATY IN SPACE EACH SUPPORT OTHER

          26. VincentWright

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus On the subject of next generation social media: Why does the next generation of social media software have to *kill* Twitter and|or Facebook? Why can’t the next generation come and do their thing and let Twitter and Facebook LIVE and do their thing? Corporations aren’t people so, there’s no need for them to kill off the older generation before they can vibrantly live on their own.Coexistence is philosophically viable and creative problem solving is better than mere killing so, I believe we can create a much more powerful generation of social media platforms than those which currently exist *WITHOUT* our having to kill off all others …unless, you’re just into killing…metaphorically, that is…

          27. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          28. VincentWright

            Seriously??? Why bother creating a next generation of social media if all it’s going to do is perpetuate such limited thinking as “categories always have 2 winners”? (I believe we generate better software AND better thinking than that…)

          29. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          30. VincentWright

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus So much for the quality of your thinking…(I’d hoped that it’d be a bit better…)

          31. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            HURR HURR! ME GIVE THAT 1 OUT OF 10.

          32. LE

            That’s thinking is strictly perpetuated and supported by the news media and popular culture (although obviously it’s been around since the beginning of time.) Everything’s a pyramid. Only thing that counts or gets attention at least is being number one. If anything the Olympics (as well as any sporting event) supports and perpetuates that thinking. Graduating first in class, Top 100 lists, “CEO” to name only a few.Then after you make it to the top you start obsessing over getting more Oscars, Gold Medals etc. 1 is not enough.The fact is @tao69:disqus is not obsessed with what his position is in the tshirt business and @JLM is not obsessed with his position in his industry (although from what I read he is actually the largest of the thing that he does from his website).In any business that isn’t talked about publicly the only thing the owner really cares about is how much money is in his pocket. He isn’t obsessing over market share, at least no where near to the extent that this thinking is celebrated in the business press.

          33. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          34. ShanaC


          35. fredwilson


          36. Guest

            LE,Some people see business as building “pyramids” and some of us see it as stacking bricks. I hate pyramids because being the biggest means eventually competing on price with ever reducing margins. I like to operate from a base and logically step out from that base into new markets with new ideas/products, then get out of them when everyone else jumps in.Oh, over the years we have been number 1, or the largest, in lots of categories; but maintaining that position takes energy and I would rather expend my energy and that of my organization on growing the business not maintaining a position.My number one goal is longevity; I want to ensure that I create a company/organization/vision that outlives me. Since I am low maintenance the concept of making money became old a long time ago.But then again with my personality I am the guy who would chuck it all and go to work for somebody else if I believed in them and their vision…I take the backseat quite well, even with my own employees.

          37. ShanaC

            how do you handle the difference between growing the business and maintaining the position, especially when the position comes with being a cash cow (I keep thinking microsoft in this discussion, office and windows are cash cows, but don’t allow for much business growing)

          38. Guest

            Think of Microsoft.They dominate the software market and they are a cash cow but the energy they expend to maintain that business is energy they lost to pursue other opportunities, like the internet.I think the the key is to decentralize the organization; rather than one big huge company you are better off being decentralized and sharing administrative support where necessary, or where beneficial.If I have a company with annual revenues of $10 million then increasing revenues by 10% isn’t all that hard, in fact I can cut my risks using the same logic that Fred detailed in his post about diversification.When you are a $100 million a year company and attempting to increase your sales by 10% you have to be a lot more selective and you move slower.We owned two daycares (with over 250 kids in them), a potpourri company, and a ceramics company. They were successful businesses by themselves, but they also created new avenues for us to sell tee shirts and screen printing in. We started the first company that sold screen printed tees to daycares for fundraising needs, and we developed a line of tee shirts that were exclusive for the gift industry because of the exposure we gained to the gift industry from the potpourri and ceramics companies.The exposure to the gift industry also led us to becoming a subcontractor to a company that made a popular line of plush stuffed animals. When the carpet padding industry quit buying our scraps to make padding with due to a glut we turned around and used our fabric scraps to stuff teddy bears with.One month we were wondering what to do with our scraps which were now useless and six months later, after the purchase of one machine and three sewing machines we were stuffing plush toys and within a year we were making millions.That took an off the cuff conversation with the executives of the potpourri company, a conversation with a sales rep who worked for us and a plush toy line. Then a visit to that company and the purchase of $12,000 worth of equipment.Two weeks and a problem became an opportunity. Within less than a year we were buying excess fabric to convert to scraps as we could not produce enough scraps internally.Things like that are a lot more satisfying to me than being known as the “best” or as “number one” in a particular category….

          39. ShanaC

            don’t agree, especially in nonconsumer facing products.

          40. LE

            Use by men of war and sports metaphors.Microsoft “cut off the air supply” of Netscape.Last night on Shark Tank I heard Kevin O’Reilly make some reference like “pour hot oil all over you” or something that sounded like that.I guess the use of wording like that works with rallying the troops against what is perceived as an enemy. People only have so much attention or money. Somebodies got to go down (in their mind).

          41. VincentWright

            @domainregistry:disqus I’m familiar with the history of the metaphor…just not a fan of that conceptualization…

          42. LE

            Are you saying the barrier they have reached is the character limit?

          43. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          44. ShanaC

            by that you mean what?

        2. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Well said, Carl. A very interesting notion and one which is maybe rather uncomfortable with many in our industry.Time is our most precious commodity. Live life. Experience the real world. Carpe Diem, etc. We are a long time dead.Twitter used correctly is great fun, a great communicator and an enabler/informer. How often does a new communication medium come along? To me Twitter ushered in a whole new paradigm for communication. Only Twitter amongst its peers is I believe is worthy of such plaudits.Facebook? Never use it nowadays and the number of people I know who now rarely/never use it is increasing exponentially. It adds very little value to life.Instagram is a nice casual distraction for occasional use but nothing profound – same for Path, FourSquare, etc. How they evolve (survive?) will be interesting, to say the least – especially the obscene and farcical Facebook valuation. Unless Facebook starts to create and curate its own content I can see this being a legendary and infamous implosion.If I find a niche service/app that adds value to my life I will find time to use it – otherwise, a walk in the countryside is of more value to my life in a free time context.Twitter will go on and on – even if its plateau is approaching it has survived the Hype Cycle on merit – the others are yet to face/pass that test.Each day I re-think in horror at the Facebook ‘valuation’ – some people have made a mockery of the value of money (an ongoing process by others already anyway) and society…

          1. Guest

            Carl,One thing I seem to do well is discussing “uncomfortable” ideas. Don’t mean to make anyone uncomfortable and really don’t consider myself a naysayer but I will admit that I am constantly looking for new ways to make money and it seems that the only way to do that is via a deeper analysis and a keen eye for seeing things differently than everyone else.I see the “Facebook valuation” issue as one where wealth is concentrated in too few hands and those few attempt to constantly improve their returns and need ever increasing higher returns as the wealth continues to become more concentrated. The stock market used to be a good barometer of the overall condition of our economy, but not anymore.As far as Facebook and Twitter goes, they are now both well beyond the “traction” phase, and they are no longer fragile start ups but rather full fledged companies and the internet is mature enough now to have recognizable market segments.The days of tech “changing the world” are coming to an end and now we enter a new phase of tech “making the world a better place.” Its a big change…..

    2. andyidsinga

      twitter is so over – I’m already queuing up stuff for app.net ;)[ edit : in fact I think we need to build a service called ‘futurequeue’ so we can queue up content + messages for future social networks that aren’t online yet or haven’t been though of… then when they come online – a gush of messages from the queue instantly populate the network – TADA progress ]

    3. Dave W Baldwin

      You set off an interesting debate Carl.Twitter has a lot of money and is gaining ad rev. They will be around for awhile. @FakeGrimlock:disqus is right in regard to the ‘next’ level. The winner will be one who is not worried over 3rd place between ‘new’, FB and Twitter. The latter two cost too much money delivering stagnant result.

      1. Guest

        Not many of the AVC community like FB, but they have 700 million users and 10 billion dollars in the bank. I would bet my money on FB outlasting Twitter just due to the nature of their DIFFERENT consumer bases. I suspect that the folks that love Twitter are more apt to jump ship to the newest and greatest.I don’t really spend anytime on either, but I notice that FB appears to have morphed to something where everyone posts pinterest like pics and on Twitter, well I get more followers by not posting anything for a month…I have noticed that in the last three months I have seen fewer and fewer cross platform posts.I think the internet is maturing and as such its not a question of which one (Facebook, Twitter) will be around along time but rather what new consumer ‘segments’ will be created around new start ups.One thing is obvious, the folks that cheer on Twitter don’t use Facebook and vice versa.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          You are right. FB has the photos and such easy to see. I’m not getting into whom is better. As the maturity develops, it leads to real time, which offers the more proactive interaction… Something I’ll be in touch about (you’ll like it).

        2. ShanaC

          I’m seeing more and more cross platform posts and my friends try to figure out where other friends are at a given moment.

        3. awaldstein

          Not true with me.I use them both extensively. For my own businesses and for my clients.Each has its power. Each its value.This is not emotional it’s just business and how you connect with customers.Both are valuable. Each in their own way to their own audience.

          1. Guest

            “Each in their own way to their own audience.”That is my point.This whole conversation has made me think about the concept of “influence” on a personal level. Personally, I have no use for “influence” because it has never made me a dime.But I need to rethink that.I woke up this morning to find that Casual Male, one of the 800 lb. gorilla’s in the big and tall market is now following me on Foursquare. Now, I set up an account on Foursquare to play with it and attempt to understand its usefulness in marketing. I no longer even remember my login and password.I haven’t posted a thing to my blog in months nor have I posted anything to Twitter in months. Yet, I have three new followers on Twitter.So I went through my Twitter followers and realized that everyone in big and tall follows me, and 65% of my followers are in the tee shirt business. So then I went through my blog analytics and noticed that over 50% of my readers share the same geographical locations as the corporate headquarters of the big three in the big and tall world.So, the concept of “influence” is one I never took seriously because in an industry where the few players are huge and you are not its hard to grasp the concept of influence.Now, to figure out what to do with it….

          2. awaldstein

            Great discussion.I’m launching two personal projects/businesses on the side and addressing how to leverage my personal nets and how to build a market for these projects.In both instances I’m harking back to a formula that has proved itself right for me for a long time….that is the best way to build an online or hybrid community is to start at the street level with enthusiasts.BTW…need a great Tshirt Chochki designer. Got a recommendation for me?

          3. Guest

            I honestly believe that most folks do not spend enough time thinking about things; Especially in small business.Its like when a brick and mortar retailer sets up an ecommerce site on the internet and then complains because it is taking away from his in store business.Most folks don’t think “formulas” but rather just go along with what is popular at the moment.

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          5. Guest

            …MATH DO ITSELF…Truer words were never spoken….

    4. ShanaC

      we have more tv to watch now. if you can capture 15% of any audience on tv at the same time watching the same thing without skipping commercials, you are now a god. 8% penetration for twitter is higher than some cult shows brought back

      1. Guest

        As I said Shana, “the relevancy of television is better highlighted by the fact…” again, you want to champion the internet by comparing it with television; you want somebody to beat.If Twitter is stagnate at 15%, which it is, then the “penetration” of the 8% is only within the 15%. So, you have the same number using Twitter you just have more of those users using it on a daily basis.Thus they are “penetrating” the users of Twitters but Twitter is not penetrating a greater portion of our population.Considering that Twitter is a program that is available on mobile apps and television requires a television and realigning of ones schedule then attempting to compare the “penetration” of one vs. the other is kind of like comparing apples and oranges.

        1. ShanaC

          not if you’re buying ads. I mean, yes, people do make specific and targeted purchases, but still, there is a preference for reach whenever possible. TV might have had its day though when it comes to reach

        2. Matt A. Myers

          I feel a lot of this is people being upset with “wanting what they can’t have” – and if it’s not live, that’s not satisfactory either because the live communication streams around the web will remind you it’s not live, and that you’re being left out of conversation and engaging with others + getting teasers and finding out results before you actually get to watch them — Olympian-sized spoiler alerts.

          1. Guest

            Well, then the solution to that is real simple…Put a company together, get your start up funding, layout your network and then go buy the rights to broadcast the next Summer Olympics.I mean between Kickstarter and VC’s like Fred you should be able to raise the couple of billion dollars necessary to get what you want…Or if that is not a possibility and still you want what you want, then go to the Olympics and buy yourself admission tickets to the events that you just have to watch and you can engage with others to your heart’s content live right there in person.We truly live in great times with so much opportunity!

          2. Matt A. Myers

            Can’t tell if all sarcasm or genuine..Clearly the cost of traveling to whatever country the events are in is outside the budget for most people in the world.Not saying it’s an easy solution. Syncing the rest of content online that’s real-time during live coverage, with being “real-time” while the replays are showing would be neat – though not sure it would maintain the authenticity for people to believe it or to interact with it – high potential that you’re responding to someone who’s no longer present.

          3. Guest

            Matt,The Opening Ceremonies were the most watched of any Olympics and here is an interesting quote:”The audience number for the London opening ceremony is a great early sign that our strategy of driving people to watch NBC in prime time is working,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group.”In fact NBC expects to lose money on the Olympics but the viewer numbers will increase the prices they can charge across all their channels for ads….http://www.foxnews.com/tech…Its quite obvious that NBC knows what its doing and the reality is the criticism might actually be helping NBC:”NBC Universal also earned a measure of redemption from critics. The company, which began streaming all of the Olympics competition online live Saturday, was blistered on Twitter on Friday by people who wondered why the opening ceremony wasn’t shown live (it was aired on NBC on tape delay, because London’s time zone is five hours ahead of the eastern United States). But four years ago in Beijing, NBC learned such complaints only increased buzz and made people more interested in watching it on TV in prime time.”Thus the “age of Twitter” may actually make tape delay more an issue not less…..

        3. fredwilson

          Twitter has over half a billion monthly active visitors. The 8% is the amount creating content. You don’t need to log into twitter to view content. Its like a blog. So think of twitter as free ad supported media that a huge percentage of the US consumes from time to time

  20. Dave W Baldwin

    Slightly off subject, but Google is offering KC the ultimate of high speed over the next couple of years… if you do both internet and television, they are offering complimentary Nexus 7 for remote.Otherwise, if there was a way to grab the stream of what you want to tweet and then post, that would make it more live.

  21. chhhris

    I don’t see NBC investing $1.2bn in broadcast rights + production costs, only to live stream from 3am – 4pm edt, and then in prime time show what? Reruns of 30 Rock and The Office?You probably don’t need to be reminded there are millions of Americans who don’t have the privilege of sneaking off during the day to live stream their fav event. Try doing that while working the cash register at Wal-Mart.As other commenters have said, NBC is making all events available live for any cable subscribers via their app or dedicated website. I believe the Opening Ceremony was the only exception.So they’re offering both options: live streaming to the privileged and or passionate fans, and prime time coverage for the unwashed masses.

    1. William Mougayar

      I have yet to find a good iPhone Olympics App that has any dose of live or even delayed coverage. It’s dismal. I’m mostly mobile and want my Olympics fix when I’m commuting, etc.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Tried the BBC Olympics app? It’s OK.

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        The Guardian’s app is also pretty good. Just noticed they’ve added lots of Olympics specific tweaks.

        1. William Mougayar

          I just did. Thanks for mentioning it. But they don’t let you play video from Canada. Prob same from the US.

        2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          The Guardian’s page on Tumblr is pretty good too – I followed them yesterday

    2. Matt A. Myers

      They should have made a deal with Google to let clips be uploaded there. I know it potentially allows people from having to watch it live — though I think those will be different user groups, and people will want to look online for replays anyway.I wonder if Google/YouTube reached out to them for that type of partnership..

      1. chhhris

        Cellular networks are not robust enough to handle high-quality live video streaming. Not yet. I don’t think that is NBC’s fault. (I’m lucky to get Netflix going 100% at home on my laptop using wifi!)

        1. ShanaC

          That shouldn’t be your wifi’s fault, that should be the data coming into your wifi’s fault.



    1. raycote

      “JUST ONE MORE LAYER OF CONTROL DESTROYED BY INTERNET”depending on the emergent commercial and political realities that could morph intoJUST ONE MORE LAYER OF CONTROL ADDED BY INTERNET



        1. raycote

          Agreed!The unknown is how large the disturbances in the force will be on our way to:”ATTEMPTS AT CONTROL FAIL IN END”

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Do you think the government should play any role in supporting / subsidizing the base foundation structures that are needed for a decentralized web? The alternate being for-profit businesses needing to find ways to maintain dominance through controlling tactics to pay for infrastructure costs.Reverse the question, do you think privatized businesses can find ways to support these costs all on their own?



        1. Matt A. Myers

          Tiny of 100% is still something, though. I’m unsure no bargain is needed.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. panterosa,

            So simple. And utopianist. Would be best if there were democracy of delivery, and content, not delivery, is product.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            So a provider should just let anyone pull data? The problem with this is there’s potential no way to monetize it, even to the smallest degree, if the eyeballs using the data aren’t using the main service provider’s platform (if enough aren’t anyway).

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          5. Matt A. Myers

            Yup, k – gotcha. Thought you were somehow insinuating no transfers needed to occur. Thanks.

  23. ErikSchwartz

    Us long as US broadcasters are paying the lion’s share of the fees to the IOC and the IOC chooses timezones other than the area of UTC-5 to host games then the broadcasts will be tape delayed.Sochi and South Korea are going to be much worse than London.

    1. William Mougayar

      Interesting observation re:Sochi. Why worse?

      1. ErikSchwartz

        UTC+3 to UTC-8 (where I am) is 11 hours difference.Ski racing is during the day so we’ll be able to watch tomorrow’s events live in prime time (if the run them in the early morning). The big money is skating and that’s during the evening at the host city so it’s going to be on at 8AM in NA.

    2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      Are you suggesting that the IOC needs to pick Olympic cities based on their time zone proximity to the US?

      1. ErikSchwartz

        If it needs to be live because tape delay is out and it needs to be a cash cow is there another way? If Chinese TV becomes the cash cow for the IOC that will change.

        1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          I see your point but the IOC despite their corrupt elements would have a very hard time making that case. I guess the US advertisers will need to find a novel way around this – It is an interesting dilemma for them

  24. Allen Lau

    “Tape delay” tweets will solve all the problems!Just kidding in case you are wondering 🙂

    1. William Mougayar

      Lol. Delayed tweets exist.I think NBC should have used that yesterday to sync with their delayed TV coverage! That would have been the apogee of delay 🙂

    2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      maybe Comcast/GE will have to buy twitter and deliver delayed tweets 🙂

  25. Nick Grossman

    At the media lab yesterday, everyone was watching the ceremony in real time on the bbc web live stream, via a VPN tunnel to the uk

  26. Mike Geer (MG)

    Ha, subjected my wife to the exact same, albeit longer winded and stronger worded, diatribe last night. The next 5 years of the internet is about DIRECT: direct trade, direct broadcast (live), direct voting (email coming soon), direct contact, etc. If NBC and other content owners don’t realize this and continue to be this quite obstructive middleman, they will quickly find that another company will buy the rights and convert them to revenue more efficiently.

  27. Drew Meyers

    I’d like an option to PAY to live stream any event I want, anywhere in the world. I’m in Barcelona right now, and haven’t been able to find anyway to watch the games. All the official streams I find are only for residents in the US. I can’t even watch replays of the events online on NBC.com. What a joke.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Shocking, Amazing to learn just how poor the global coverage is of this supposed ‘World’s Biggest Event’. If the IOC had any credibility and integrity it would ensure ALL nations could view the Olympics, live – supposedly the whole ethos is to encourage people into sport/activity – especially our increasingly sedentary youngsters (and many adults).I guess doing deals with McDonalds et al is more important.

      1. Drew Meyers

        Yea, I guess so. McDonalds pays the bills, I don’t. But I’d be willing to throw in my fair share (TINY compared to mcdonalds, granted) to let me watch it when I want, where I want..

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Interesting. Never heard of this service/feed before. Not blocked in USA?

          1. Drew Meyers

            No clue on that. I’m guessing it may be. I can’t test it of course 🙂

  28. johndefi

    Here is the pitch on the NBC site: http://www.nbcolympics.com/…With time difference there will always be an issue for viewers. If you can’t watch it live because you are at work or asleep or whatever else, it seems you will have to insulate, unplug, and watch a delay.So the question really is about making live feeds accessible to as many people in the world as possible. NBC seems to be doing this for US viewers after jumping through some hoops and qualifying by having a service with CNBC & MSNBC. Nowhere near ideal, but better than nothing.Is there a solution (non ad supported?) that can satisfy the financial aims of NBC/IOC?

  29. Carl Rahn Griffith

    If you missed the Arctic Monkeys performance at the end of the ceremony – well, what can I say? It was stunning and capped-off a very quirky, funky and impressive show. Stunning.

  30. Alex Stevens

    I think there’s a fundamentally different argument for the Opening Ceremonies as opposed to live events. Events are results-oriented and Twitter is a great spoiler/instant-info source. The opening ceremonies, “surprise” elements aside isn’t a great experience on Twitter. “@kennethbranagh recites Shakespeare” isn’t the same as “@michaelphelps beats @ryanlochte by .001 to win gold in 400 IM!”So quite frankly I don’t think NBC cost themselves anything, ESPECIALLY to their core viewing audience by not live streaming the ceremony.

  31. george

    Totally concur! Why is it still like this? I presume it’s the old advertising model that commands the format but in the real world, we already have tim- delayed options. I would really appreciate, if one of the big media companies would keep step with consumer behavior… Go Team USA!

  32. Roger Ellman

    New deal time! Not That famousn New Deal. As an ex buyer of movies for international distribution, the deal structure is something I would change to accommodate the new reality. Simple has to be. Thinking is what is needed, by those with something to sell, but currently, a seat they are trying to keep. Tough – yes it is. But in this case the Rolling Stones song’s sentiment, Time is On Your Side, taken literally, does not apply.

  33. Barabare

    Fred, this may be the first post of yours I’ve disagreed with so strongly.The sums of money invested and recouped in ad revenue are enormous. There really is no way to do that except for broadcasting in prime time. The economics just don’t work out otherwise. Too many people are stuck at work or school to watch it in the same numbers at any other time.Here’s a fun fact, in 1998 Seoul hosted the Olympics. The time difference, 9 hours ahead of NY, is great enough that they managed to schedule some events live for US prime time audiences. In other words, they would schedule a big event at 7 am in South Korea based entirely on the fact that they could then air it live at 10pm on the east coast.

    1. William Mougayar

      I disagree because there is a fundamental assumption that’s wrong here, which is the “exclusivity” part of broadcasting. NBC put themselves in a tough place to start with by agreeing to pay $1.2 billion for their exclusive rights. And it is stupid of the IOC to grant such humongous fee and exclusive arrangement to a market of 300 million people.Why didn’t they grant broadcast rights to all networks equally, and they’ll all make money at it and provide better coverage because it will be more competitive.

      1. Barabare

        Are you against exclusivity in other contexts as well? Should the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards be broadcast on every network?This idea strikes me as totally unworkable. The IOC received $1.2 billion because it was a competitive bidding process. If the granted every network equal rights, there would be no competition, and I think they would receive far less money overall.And the networks would be inclined to free-ride, relying on the others’ to advertise and promote the games.

    2. Rob Hunter

      I think there are two points that you’re missing. The first (and maybe this is where I’m wrong) is that running events for US prime time shouldn’t mean that it’s not a replay (that the event wasn’t broadcast live at 2pm). Maybe there’s a significant and measurable hit taken by that strategy – and if that’s the case, then I’m just totally wrong.The second is the idea that because you’re making money, you must be doing it right. Sometimes you make money from an untenable position, or you make money while tarnishing your brand, and in the long term your decisions were a mistake. I kind of think that most content providers (whether owners or distributors) are making those mistakes, though I’m not sure when or how the hammer will fall. NBC’s online handling of the Winter Olympics was absolutely atrocious (you could watch finished events online, however the title of the video was the result), and two years later I’m not surprised that they’re screwing it up.Maybe the Twitter demographic doesn’t matter (low numbers or generally watches through DVR, higher piracy percentage), but in many things I tend to think they’re an indicator. Someday there will be enough people that will look elsewhere when you make mistakes like this.

      1. Barabare

        On your first point, I would also like to see some data on whether broadcasting the opening ceremony at 2pm and then again at 8pm would have resulted in decreased revenues. But, as much as I disagree with the content industry on some of their strategies (especially as it relates to new media), I would bet that they have a strong handle on such a simple question that’s core to their business, and it does indeed result in decreased revenues.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      We’re a globalized world. This just brings to light that any specific country shouldn’t always be the center of the universe if we want to foster and highlight that we’re not alone, that we are in fact a global community. When the Olympics are in the U.S. again then that’s when advertising revenue can match the immediate audiences’ value, and there really could be creative ways of monetizing revenue otherwise; There’s absolutely no reason clips that people make and post to YouTube can’t / wouldn’t be monetized, and potentially even earning more revenue (as targeting is potentially higher).And perhaps then people will demand having time off to watch and support their Olympians, perhaps even initiating a national holiday; That would however be a contrary thought to the U.S. current time-off / vacation time – http://www.nationmaster.com… – France having a total of 7 weeks required vacation, the U.S. having 0 required, though 10 days being typically given.Don’t fight nature. Control never wins and creates friction when fluidity is so much more valuable and important. It’s a tough transition when your current economy depends on control, though possible.

  34. jason wright

    Everyone in the stadium and across EUROPE (+500M people) were forced to stay up until after midnight to watch a EUROPEAN Olympic Games opening ceremony conclude. I wonder why?

    1. Guest

      Isn’t July and August the months everyone in EUROPE goes on vacation?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        In headier economic times, yes – especially the French and Germans. I suspect more are adopting the ‘staycation’ model this year, however ;-)We certainly are – though my wife prefers to describe it as we are at ‘Ourgate’ 🙂

        1. Guest

          We always favored 3 or 4 day getaways as we could never find one place both of us liked to spend any longer in.Right now we are looking for a short getaway to someplace not experiencing drought and with rain daily! 🙂

  35. Michael Aronson

    All i had to do was search twitter for live feed of opening ceremonies and found several sites that had the BBC feed, worked great on my andriod tabletI was able to go to bed early for my 6am bike ride here at the beach

    1. fredwilson


  36. Dave Pinsen

    I think you were in Europe during Euro 2012, but those were broadcast live in the US.

  37. MartinEdic

    These idiots tape delayed the Open Championship last week when it could have been a morning broadcast. Infuriorating…

  38. colinstorm

    I think the prime time broadcast is a necessary evil. Without the ad revenue, we would have no access at all and ad revenues just wouldn’t be there for a live afternoon event. That said, I do think a live stream of the Opening Ceremony should have been an option, if only to avoid the asinine commentary.However, after much criticism of NBC out of my own mouth, er, fingertips last night our family is making significant use of the free NBC Olympics apps, and NBC is broadcasting a number of events live during the day through their conglomerate of other channels.To your point though, there is no way around the fact that the tape delay of the ceremony was awkward because of the past, pressent and future nature of the conversation online, not to mention being drastically over commentated.That is the one downside of the live streaming: though the commentary was extremely annoying during the opening ceremony, I do enjoy some commentary during the events, especially when you get some of the back story behind the athletes. However, I would rather see them perform in real time than watch it later after I already know the result.

  39. MartinEdic

    And the NBC iPad app is worse than useless. Developed by Adobe so I’m not surprised. It’s sad what a dinosaur that company has become.

  40. Richard

    Fred, think outside the box. Replay the tweets to synch with broadcasts. Dick Costlo, there’s a new revenue model, rerun tweets for broadcast tv reruns.

    1. fredwilson

      I think bill (see his comment in this thread) is working on that idea

  41. gbattle

    I’ve thought a great deal about this topic and even wrote about the concept of a digital conversation recorder 2 years ago here: http://lfto.tk/7yFWk3To summarize for the AVC denizens, in the age of time-shifted consumption (DVRs, tape-delays, On-Demand), we need a way to time-shift the associated conversations into a simulated live experience. This can improve the conversational experience as hindsight allows the stream to become a best-of commentary through accretive social curation.When given the gift of removing temporal boundaries, we should exploit it and identify, reward and promote the best commentary, not the most timely. This is a huge opportunity in my opinion and presents the most plausible reuse and refinement of the Twitter stream inventory.

  42. sachmo

    Couldn’t agree more… Other annoying thing is when you can’t find the live broadcast of a major spring event online, or the system to watch online is clumsy… definitely a business opportunity for someone who can cut the right deals with the major sports networks

  43. jason wright

    All empires fall.

  44. William Wagner

    I’ve got a bit of a tape delay myself because I download tv shows instead of having a tv; people with a tv see the shows when they air but I have to wait till at least 15 minutes after the ending for some scenester to upload a rip. I don’t consider it a disadvantage to have that delay: TV people buy set top devices to do the same thing. I think the media industries will have no choice but to move to ip for distributing media. Many have started but they are very conservative. I think one big culprit in slowing down the move is the “ratings-industry”. These guys assign the value to advertisements on traditional media.One time a rating company gave my household each a freaky little pager device, designed by Lockheed Martin, that listened for encoded messages in radio transmissions. It was supposed to determine what radio stations I was hearing as I walked around with the device on my person. My housemate freaked out thinking that the NSA was spying on him because he was fucking up his defense contract work with Lockheed Martin missile navigation systems. So he disposed of all the meters.Anyway, what with the internet and all that, wouldn’t pricing ad time be so much more simpler and accurate than these freaky Lockheed Martin devices for traditional media? Why haven’t they figured that out yet??

  45. panterosa,

    @fredwilson:disqus I have been worrying about seeing as much of the olympics as possible for weeks now. I’m on a small island off shore New England and our internet is spotty. Even if we wanted to cope with delayed broadcast, we have no TV. I tried poaching my wasband’s TWC via app but there are flash issues.@wmoug:disqus asked for live links yesterday here. I had my BF look for live links for me to watch, so William and I traded some links via email.How do links work? They suck. Because my connection sucks. And they want you to download myriad players, and the sites are not so well organized so the process is very frustrating.Beyond just the live broadcast issue, you have the connection issue via iPhone app, which William was looking for, or me in rinky dink place which chops up the few live streams I can find. I can’t imagine I am alone in connection issues vis a vis many people.So I feel delivery sucks as much as lack of choice of streams to deliver. Imagine you’re on a sailboat and want to watch. What then? Or god forbid trying to watch via mobile in Vermont, the home of spotty wireless service?

  46. Noam

    Absolutely. It’d be nice to see it all live and then rebroadcast with tightened editing and background stories in prime time.

  47. Guest

    1. I don’t really watch actual TV too often.1a. I’m not too interested in watching most summer Olympic sports.2. It’s not that hard to find a pirate stream these days. They’re everywhere. One person disguised a live broadcast of the opening ceremony as a “EPIC WoW Raid!” on Twitch.TV, a video game streaming site. 2a. No organisation or force can 100% stop piracy of recent events. They can try (spend plenty of money), but they will succeed only in pissing people off.

  48. IdeaBling

    I think the core is about human/consumer passions. Those who are passionate about “X” whatever X is to them, will go to the first chance to view. Opening Ceremony fans will watch online one way or another and not wait for the delay. Think midnight showings of hot new movies. Particular sports fans, and/or specific athlete fans will do the same. The coversation needs to be about migrating from buying consumer audiences based on demos, and constructing audiences based on passions, seamless across screens. If the network/cable boys don’t figure it out soon they’ll find themselves the 3rd wheel in the ongoing relationship between consumers and brands.

  49. Druce

    Could be a seminal moment for over-the-top video – Just get a VPN and use BBC iPlayer – see eghttp://www.reddit.com/r/oly…Up to 24 live channels on BBC … currently watching women’s badminton… because I can !Or the somewhat sketchy-looking sportlemon.tv , watched a bit of the Euro soccer via StreamTorrent and Sopcast, worked pretty well.Got rid of cable a while back and haven’t really missed it, except when Giants are in the Super Bowl. I don’t watch that much live sports, Web and Netflix are great. I didn’t love paying big fees for stuff I don’t watch -http://mediamemo.allthingsd…Not to mention being the pawn in the periodic channel shutoffs.

  50. Prokofy

    So tell me again how NBC is going to make money live-streaming, Fred? To your tablet or phone? Ok, then. When you have the answer to that, you have the answer not only for NBC’s quandary and your own irritation (one expounded on — as if all on cue — by every other male tekkie blogger today) but the answer to a lot of things you invest in like Twitter. How, indeed?

    1. fredwilson

      I didn’t say they can find an answer. I’m just saying its a problem for them.

  51. Jan Schultink

    Maybe NBC can do a re-run of the 2008 Olympics, with ads inserted nicely before the crucial medal wins?

  52. Robert Holtz

    I used to work in TV. I don’t anymore (as of early 1994) and the Internet is why. You nailed it here, Fred. The Internet is such a huge agent of change and those changes keep on rippling through so many time-honored inventions.I realize that NBC has to program their network around ad impressions and that means primetime under the conventional model. But today, most people own or rent (through a service provider) a DVR. A huge percentile of Americans do not watch their TV in real-time. They watch their shows in a so-called “time shifted” manner anyway.So why not broadcast these shows in real-time up-to-the-second and run those ad impressions in those previously off hours so that when you watch them at your leisure time-shifted on your DVR, you will see the content AND the ad impression together whenever it is you’re watching?NBC should run key events at prime time but those really should be replays or tape delays… but in parallel they should absolutely be airing the events AS they happen WHEN they are happening. Otherwise what ends of up happening is we don’t even tune into the TV. We tweet and Facebook and YouTube our way into knowing what happened and we don’t even fire up the TV at all. That’s the future behavior if TV programming executives don’t… well… get with the program.

  53. Richard

    Looks like you don’t have to worry about micheal phelps.

  54. howardlindzon

    It’s really not that big a deal. Most people could care less about Twitter and the cryptic ‘congrats’ etc…we watched with the Feld’s all weekend and DVR’s our way around. NBC made an investment, they likely overpaid, they are doing what networks do to make a buck off it , most of which we disagree with but most of which, the majority watch. The fringe will always armchair quarterback it, much like we do Twitter and the way they treat their ecosystem and business model themselves. TV is not dead. Its there when I need it sometimes. Good enough for the best content to still get created for it.

    1. William Mougayar

      I agree they definitely over paid just to get the “exclusivity” thing…correction: monopoly. It’s that exclusivity part that’s stupid for a US market of 300 million! Same in Canada (substitute CTV for NBC).

  55. William Mougayar

    Is this absurd or what?Don’t tweet if you want TV, London fans toldhttp://m.yahoo.com/w/legobp…LONDON (Reuters) – Sports fans attending the London Olympics were told on Sunday to avoid non-urgent text messages and tweets during events because overloading of data networks was affecting television coverage.

  56. Tam

    Great blog post! There’s been a lot around NBC and Comcast partnering (I know Comcast owns NBC now) but there’s one missing piece through all of this. The UK has something called the Red Button where they show events live. This should have been an option. You can watch everything live online so there’s no reason Comcast doesn’t have the technology to do something similar to the Red Button on TV.

  57. Ari Herzog

    I am with you 100 percent, Fred, but isn’t the problem with primetime news? If you only get your news at 7pm and 11pm, then you want to watch the olympics then too. I’m not in that group, and I’m sure you aren’t either, but are we the majority?

  58. Douglas Crets

    We streamed the live BBC stream at an incubator in San Francisco.

  59. Ray T.

    Watching the British Open a week ago, the event started at 7:00 and ended at around 1:30 ETD. The Olympics will be playing at that time and end around 4:00. The NBC feed allows everyone to watch it in the comfort of their homes rather than sneaking around at the office. I would rather have the live feeds played with the replays or highlights at night.

  60. Nick Ferrara

    More baby boomers are now watching more video online than they are the boob-tube. You have a choice for where you want to view Olympic events, or to hear about the outcome of an event. If you choose to learn about it in real time you’ll either be sitting in front of a computer or you’ll have your hand-held device handy at 2am when the events take place.Obtaining information on any news topic can be viewed as a continuum with the most up-to-date (albeit least detailed information) on one end of the continuum. On the other end of the continuum may be volumes the books written on the topic. Twitter is one of those instant, online ways to gather bits of information very quickly (who won an election; what was the verdict; etc.). However it’s also very limited in the amount of information you can send or receive from a single post. Very shortly after a post there are articles written about the topic. Then comes video. Then articles. Then more articles. And finally there are books to be written on any topic under the sun.I feel the “Information Age” has enhanced Olympic coverage, not hurt it. And NBC, like most news outlets, is figuring out better ways to use technology to get the word out in a credible, timely and accurate means. Embrace the technology and if you don’t want to know the outcome of a game, wait until you’ve had a chance to watch it. After all, isn’t that part of the charm of TiVo and DVR–being able to record a game or other programming you don’t want to miss?

  61. jason wright

    You can’t SEE Phelps swim to a win on Twitter. Stay away from Twitter and enjoy the action as if it were live. Phelps looks off form.