NBC Olympics broadcast: the good, the bad

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For US audience of Beijing Olympics, NBC (including CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Telemundo and Oxygen) is the only place for extensive coverage, because the exclusive broadcast deal between NBC and IOC. While NBC did unprecedent largely positive coverage of this event, Beijing and China, I can still felt the “colored glass” of some of the comments from the anchors from time to time.

The good: the scale
NBC nearly sent all the best crews to Beijing, it is doing live broadcasting for more than 2,000 hours, covering topic from sports to the Chinese traditional snack food in Beijing. And it is airing the regular programs such as “Today” (Matt and Meredith), 5:30 PM evening news (Brian), Meet the Press (Tom) from Beijing, in addition to extensive Olympics coverage. So in other words, NBC News Operation division is essentially moved from New York to Beijing these days.

Because NBC has experience in technology, their camera crews did the opening ceremony better than CCTV (the delayed video playback was a business decision). It also has so many channels so popular sports such as gymnastics, swimming, women volleyball etc are well covered.

The bad

1) Opening ceremony: politics should be separated from the sports. But Matt Lauer, the host of Today show, made conventional American comments regarding Sudan, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Russia, blah blah blah;

2) Pro US, this is typical, I believe China does same thing, I mean the commentators are very much biased towards home country. But this went too far on Chinese women gymnastic team, some of the commentators raised the age issue again and again. This is not only biased, but also not without ground. As a Chinese I know Chinese women typically looks younger than their actual age, compared to Americans;

3) Too much buzz on star player, Michael Phelps is one example. Interestingly, American reporters know little about other Chinese stars, so they focus their camera at Yao Ming in the opening ceremony a lot. I can understand a lot of these are business driven, I remember Yao Ming did a lot commercials for Visa, so as Phelps these days. Note Visa is also a big sponsor of Olympics.

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