Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Lemur Wants In

So the Olympics are getting better ratings than anticipated, and driving a tidy little payday for NBC in what, if not for the rush of political ad spending, would be a historically brutal year for advertising. (It's what happens in an economy where everyone takes it without lube from Big Oil, and the housing bubble pops -- but as the President says, it's very important that we give more time for those stimulus checks to work. Vote for the guy that's most like him!)

Anyhow, this has led the World Wide Lemur -- and for those of you that are new to the site's peculiar nomenclature, that's also known as the home of the Mouse, the covert destroyer of all things good, the murderer and corpse-raper of what used to be known as Monday Night Football, and the people whom I will not will not ever write for, no matter how many commenters think I'd cave for the cash (ESPN) -- to announce that they're going to get into the mix for the rights to televise London 2012.

Now, I don't much care who is going to televise things that I'm not going to watch, and I suspect, neither do you. (Witness our mutual lack of interest in the news that Emeril is switching networks, or that Oxygen is going to produce an all-nude version of "The View" to help turn more men gay.) But what the Lemur said about their decision to do so was telling... that sports is in their blood and what they do, dammit, and that they couldn't imagine televising all of the events via tape delay and packaging them the way that NBC is doing.

On my train this morning were two people who I couldn't imagine coming to this site in a month of Sundays. They were a man and a woman in their mid 40s to mid 50s, wearing the slightly graying hair, slightly padded clothing, and slightly spotted hands that await us all. For the first ten minutes of our trip towards NYC, they talked about Olympic beach volleyball. They both liked it, with the man filling the woman in on the parts of the match that she missed, in that she turned in before the game was over.

Now, this -- honestly -- is the Olympic demographic. People sucked in to watch a little sporting drama with an easy enough storyline, with no fear of seeming dramatically out of their element, because for heaven's sake, who is an expert on beach volleyball? My 8-year-old can understand it in five minutes, there's precious little in the way of Judging, and no one is going to make you feel unqualified to watch it in a blizzard of Volleyball Outsider-style arcane statistics. (If there is a Volleyball Outsiders, I'm sorry... not for insulting them, but for the general health and well-being of the species.)

Are these people going to care that beach volleyball in London will be LIVE? Probably not. In fact, they're probably going to hate it if it is, since that means that games will be on at 10am, just like Wimbeldon, but on a weekday. Will they care that the telecast will be with more ESPNish commentators, or perhaps more innovative / nausea-inducing camerawork? (A small note to the beach volleyball people: get a camera on the ball. If you can combine a scantily clad athletic woman with an arm motion that indicates violence in a tight high definition close-up, I guarantee Monstrous Web Traffic.) Probably not. They'll watch, or not, if it's on and if it's convenient and if it's compelling.

Not because it's live or because it's a Lemur Production. (And oh, this just in... there's no guarantee that the world will find the Olympics as compelling in 2012 as they did in 2008. And if you don't believe that, go ask the people that telecast the Athens Olympics in 2004, the ones that did so well in the ratings that the Beijing Games flew right under the radar. You can find them down at the methadone clinic, muttering bitterly at the television.)

1 comment:

Dirty Davey said...

Actually the bid is for 2014 (Sochi, Russia) and 2016 (TBA). NBC already has 2010 and 2012 locked up.

Ads In This Size Rule