Let’s lay this out: Los Angeles is in the Pacific time zone. Ditto Vancouver, where the Winter Olympics are being held. Yet Angelenos, and every other TV viewer on the West Coast, can’t watch the Games live — but instead, must settle for a three-hour tape delay.
Guam… is not in Vancouver’s time zone. Not even close. Guam is 18 hours ahead of the Pacific time zone. When it’s 5 p.m. Thursday on the West Coast, it’s 11 a.m. Friday in Guam.
Yet Guam gets its Winter Olympics coverage live. Yes, live. At the same time as the folks in New York are watching. It’s just a lot brighter out in Guam than it is in New York right now. And Friday.
Thanks to the International Date Line difference, Guam is watching NBC’s primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics at 11 a.m. each morning. And Guam NBC affiliate KUAM-TV is then repeating that same coverage in primetime at 7 p.m.(when it’s 4 a.m. in New York, and no live coverage), giving folks who missed it live a second chance to watch.
(Cut to scenes of angry West Coasters, burned by spoilers from East Coast Twitter feeds, throwing their iPhones at the TV screen.)
We bring this up only because NBC’s decision to tape-delay its primetime Olympics coverage in the Pacific time zone has caused a lot of complaints. In an age of Twitter, Google news alerts and constantly updated blogs, that’s wound up being three hours too long for many Olympics fans. Even as they attempt a complete Internet blackout, viewers are still stumbling over information about Gold medalists — surprises they’d rather watch on TV.
It’s even worse in Hawaii — where viewers are stuck watching the Games five hours after the fact.
NBC News’ Chuck Todd just earned the wrath of his West Coast followers when he Tweeted Lindsey Vonn’s Gold medal win.
For its part, NBC has pointed out that primetime allows for the largest audience to catch the Games’ biggest events. (It also makes a rather big difference for advertisers.) The network has also worked to keep much content off the web (with less online streaming this time, as several news orgs have pointed out).
But beyond that, viewers on the West Coast — who point out that they’re even in the same time zone as the Vancouver Olympics (the first Pacific time zone Games since the 1984 Los Angeles event) — will have to keep practicing caution before hitting the Web.
If it makes you feel any better, the folks in Guam have to watch live coverage of the Super Bowl on a Monday morning every year. How weird is that?
(Below, from KNBC’s website — apparently viewers are FURIOUS… about Olympics coverage!)