The vocal online contingent pushing the hashtag #NBCfail over the network’s Olympics coverage were handed a huge gift Monday night (July 30).
An ad for Tuesday’s “Today” show promoted 17-year-old American swimmer Missy Franklin‘s gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke during the East Coast broadcast of the games. One problem: The promo aired about seven minutes before the network showed Franklin’s victory.
So, yes, Franklin actually won her medal hours before the prime-time coverage, and fans had the option of watching a live stream of the event (assuming they had time and access during the workday). But a whole lot of people are watching the delayed coverage in primetime — the first few days of the games have set ratings records — and it’s clearly a really bad idea to millions of viewers the result of an event before it’s shown on TV.
The #NBCfail tag has been primarily directed at the network’s packaging of taped prime-time content. It’s not a new complaint, but because social media is so much more prevalent now than it was four years ago (and also because NBC also aired some competitions live in primetime from Beijing), the carping has gained greater traction.
There’s been no word from NBC yet about the gaffe.
UPDATE: Though NBC still hasn’t commented on the “Today” promo mishap, it did correct the mistake for its West Coast broadcast. In place of the spot about Franklin, the network aired promos for a profile of swimmer Ryan Lochte and a non-specific tease about the men’s gymnastics competition.