NBC’s Decision to Put USA/Canada on MSNBC Exemplifies Its Woes
To add to the frustrations of Olympic fans and especially those interested in hockey, NBC has shipped the marquee USA vs. Canada game to MSNBC so they can air the second night of Ice Dancing.
(Edit – corrected; tonight is actually the second of three nights of Ice Dancing, which as Erin pointed out in the comments section makes this even more ridiculous.)
Personally, while I’m a fan of singles and pairs figure skating, I’m not that big a fan of Ice Skating. There is just very little that draws my attention. In figure skating, I can appreciate the physicality and the depth of range involved in putting forth a championship performance. Ice Dancing is…well, dancing on ice. It requires great conditioning and expertise, but my respect for the participants does not lend itself to me enjoying the coverage.
My personal lack of interest in the sport is a moot point, because more eyes are actually going to be drawn to Ice Dancing. NBC knows this and made the decision because it’ll give them higher ratings for the network in prime time than hockey would. Fans might not like to hear that, but it’s the truth. Barring a last-minute push by the hockey community online, there is no way that the number of viewers is going to be comparable, not even taking into account the difference in number of homes that carry NBC versus MSNBC.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter, because in terms of money Ice Dancing is a loser. Yes, it will have more eyes on it. However, the key demographic that advertisers shell out the big bucks for – the male 18-35 demographic – won’t be watching.
Once again, NBC’s programming has demonstrated a shocking lack of understanding for what makes a network successful and brings in revenue. The same network that threw Conan out and put Leno back as host of “The Tonight Show” in order to bring back an audience that can’t buy a car has once again taken the lazy route and made a decision based on pure numbers. Which looks great on paper, but not so much once those numbers are broken down and the advertising revenue is counted.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why NBC is damned to a permanent position of fourth place amongst American broadcast networks. It has taken a sport that would capture the most desirable demographic and shipped it off to their cable news affiliate, which will no doubt air adverts for products that the demographic doesn’t even have any interest in.
But hey, at least the hockey games aren’t being relegated to Versus. That s***storm won’t go down until 2014.