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Missing the Goal

February 7, 2012

Moose and I didn’t really have any plans for the Superbowl.  We started off thinking we could have some friends over, then asked around to see if anyone was hosting, and finally decided to stay in and watch the NFL livestream.  At first, everything was great.  We did our usual dinner routine while half watching the game and getting to see some pretty cool new commercials.  And then NBC Sports made the mistake that just about every streaming service seems to make.  They started repeating the commercials.  I think that there may have been a dozen of them, at most.  What was worse, the commercials played during every lull in the game.  Time out? Commercial. Injured player? Commercial.  Referee discussion?  Commercial.  Not so interesting commentary? Commercial.  Commercial break? Commercial.  Half time?  Commercial.  Followed by two guys talking about the game.  Over the halftime show.

At this point, I was pretty much done with the livestream.  I found a recording of the halftime show on YouTube and watched that instead.  Not long after, I told Moose I was done with the game.  Moose had earlier declared that the Superbowl was the pinnacle of the best American football had to offer, but to me it was just another football game.  By that point in the game, I think it was pretty much just another football game to him, too.  Neither of us had any interest in who actually won.  We weren’t rooting for anyone.  We were watching for the commercials.

NBC Sports really missed the goal on this one.  The Superbowl is the one time when people willingly and specifically sit down to watch the commercials.  They had the opportunity to reach thousands of additional viewers, and instead they chose to cut out the part of the Superbowl that keeps people watching from beginning to end.  I can’t imagine that we were the only people who gave up on the endlessly repeating commercials in favor of a show on Netflix and game updates via Twitter.

The recent clashes over SOPA and PIPA highlighted just how far behind the curve traditional media is.  The lumbering giant has long refused to recognize that internet users want to be able to watch shows online and will find a way to do it regardless of whether or not the network allows it.  NBC Sports had the opportunity to give all of its viewers the sort of advertising that they actually want, on its own terms.  Instead they stuck to the old playbook and fumbled the ball.  Maybe next year they’ll catch up with the newfangled internet technology.

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