The Last Gasp for Analog Olympics

It's been a while since I've posted here, because it's been a while since I've felt inspired. But reading about the Olympics these past few days has gotten my juices flowing.

Seems to me we're about to witness a pretty big technological thunderstorm.

On the one side we have NBC, the owner of the digital content for the Olympics. Before the Web, you could only get Olympics information direct from NBC, as they were the sole carrier for these events (here in the U.S.). In the last few Olympic years, the Web has started to seep in, and some events were streamed live online, and some highlight videos were posted as well, to supplement the nightly TV coverage.

I read that NBC will carry most things live this year because Western Canada's timezones work with ours, but it is planning to withhold some events for later rebroadcast, so as to improve its ratings. (And while they're offering online coverage, it's restricted — here in NY, for instance, if you're not a cable subscriber, you're locked out of certain on-demand content.)

Come on — this is pre-Internet thinking.

Because on the other side, you have digital news sources and bloggers, who care not at all about when NBC wants to announce who has won. These sources will reveal what's happening instantly. And if that's not quick enough for you, pay attention to Twitter. I predict that in the next few days, Twitter will become the "breaking news" source for the Olympics.

NBC won't be able to stop it, and in the end my guess is that people will be frustrated with the delayed television coverage. I'm guessing that this is the last gasp for the old analog Olympics – where media is controlled by one source. 

I'm waiting for what seems inevitable – live streaming in real time of each and every Olympic event. Is there any reason why we shouldn't have that?  That way the folks that are addicted to a secondary sport such as curling can be as happy as those who want to follow figure skating. 

And, for all you arts fans out there, I'm sure you see where I'm going with this. As I wrote in a post back in September, it's not going to be long before live streaming of cultural events becomes the norm as well.

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