olympics.jpgI love the Olympics. It’s a time of competition, a time of pride, generally a time of peace, a time of celebration, and very much a time of new technology and media. I’m noticing something this year however and frankly, as an American it’s a little scary. Ironically, it has nothing to do with the athletes – it’s the lack of competition between American media and their international competitors.

It was a post by Robert Scoble on FriendFeed and the ensuing comments in fact, along with several other posts I’ve seen around the internet, that got me thinking about this. Scoble mentioned, “I hate NBC. They aren’t putting the Olympics on live. That really sucks.” Patricia Anderson responded, “How can you not agree with this? Hey, Robert, do you have access to CBC? I’ve been liking their coverage.” Phillip Jeffrey responded, “I’m watching CBC in Canada. http://www.cbc.ca/olympics Do you think it would be any different if another network was covering the Olympics in the States?” It appears the Canadian Broadcast Company is getting some serious attention this time around now that it is easier to access their broadcasts internationally, and they’re out-doing NBC in their own game by broadcasting some of the games live. NBC had better pay attention.

I’m noticing as I’m now on the internet much more than I am on the TV that I am getting the news about Olympic events way before I am able to see them on TV. It kind of spoils the fun of the Olympics to tell you the truth. I don’t blame the online news agencies giving me the news as it happens though – that’s what news is all about, and what I want! I’m blaming the companies like NBC that won’t give me the coverage I want as it happens. They have succumbed to the merits of their advertisers to try and sell content at the time that makes their advertisers most money, when, in reality they are ignoring the potential worldwide audience they could be obtaining through means such as the internet. The issue here is, they are only targeting American advertisers!

With services such as Identi.ca, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed, the audiences in America that traditionally watch the Olympics on NBC are now getting updates real-time, some from people actually there, and this news is beating NBC and making their viewers want more live coverage. Viewers are no longer getting this information from NBC.

NBC traditionally has had no competition for the Olympics – it has traditionally been just one media company in the USA that could broadcast the Olympics. However, I can now go online and find many things, real-time, with absolutely no issue finding the access I need. NBC now has competition world-wide and I certainly hope they realize this soon. They’re missing a huge advertising opportunity here that I don’t think they have considered.

In the past, media companies in the USA were built from small town to small town until larger companies would buy them out and build a conglomerate out of those smaller subsidiaries. I’m afraid that’s changing though as we become a more worldwide audience and can talk to each other, worldwide, much easier, and this shift will move from small town to small town, to instead country to country. The large US media companies need to be thinking International now as they grow or this rich, free speech system we have in America right now could be beat by competitors worldwide. This is an issue we should all have concern for.

Are there international efforts you are seeing that have been successful amongst media companies? Is this lack of international competition something we should fear? Let’s chat in the comments below and on FriendFeed!