NBC telecast of Olympics again controversial, but it is network’s app has people really upset
Bugs and repeated streaming of the same commercials has over 19,000 users rating the app 1-star inside iTunes, as app performance proves vital to consumers who have cut-the-cord
Every four the Olympic games occur, and every four years NBC tries to find a way to convert sports into a primetime reality show. Sports fans go nuts and curse the network.
But now it is 2016 and so many sports fans have cut the cord, sick and tired of commercial television in the United States, eager to find an alternative. Streaming is now as important as over-the-air or cable broadcasting.
Unfortunately, based on user reviews, the NBC Sports app is failing spectacularly.
The app received its Rio Olympics update on July 5, adding a section dedicated to the games. Since then it has received seven updates as the developers try to work out issues with the app. The latest came last night with an update designed to fix an issue with audio in replays.
It’s too early to know if the fix will satisfy users as it was just recently released, but users certainly have a lot of complaints.
One complaint is common for TV apps: a user must still sign into their cable provider to watch the content. The NBC Sports app tries to work around this a bit by allowing the user to watch a couple of minutes of content before having to sign in, but that really doesn’t accomplish anything as the user eventually is locked out. Since there is no way to buy a few more minutes of coverage, it is counterproductive as there is no built-in way to buy coverage. You would think that maybe one could sign into a local cable company through the app to buy a day pass or something similar.
The other common problem is advertising. NBC apparently wants to score big on mobile advertising and so is flooding viewers with ads. “A commercial every time I switch ports! How very annoying!!!!” one user wrote in iTunes. As one user remarked, they are sympathetic to the fact that NBC has to pay for the games through advertising, but do they need to stream you the same damn ad over and over again?
Finally, there are the bugs. The same user who complained about the repeated ads said their other complaint was the fact that random audio seemed to accompany the video replays, forcing them to watch with the sound off.
Bugs can be dealt with, and this latest update might make the user mentioned above happy. But the whole model is still broken. Too many mobile ads, too much happy talk, too many TV hosts and commentators who don’t know the sports, and often don’t really care.
John Oliver, who on the same show on Sunday talked about the state of journalism and the newspaper industry (see here), began last Sunday’s show complaining about NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremonies.
My biggest complaints about the coverage revolve around the tape delays and the jingoism. On Sunday the women’s gymnastics team took centerstage simply because of their performance. Last night the men’s team was dumped from the primetime spotlight because they were a disappointment, failing to metal.
That’s why the app is so important. It allows viewers to stream the live events… assuming it works and one can live though all the advertising. As of this morning, the app has over 19,000 1-star ratings (remember, Apple doesn’t allow a 0-star rating).
Here was John Oliver’s segment on the Olympics: