Thursday, August 02, 2012

tape delay and spoilers - sometimes a good thing?

I know a lot has been make of the tape delays and the twitter spoilers this Olympics. The tape delays are nothing new. NBC has had the Olympics on tape delay for as long as I can remember, which is why I have always been so thankful for the Canadian networks' love of live coverage. But before twitter (and before twitter exploded), it was far easier to manage spoilers. Before the internet it was next to impossible to have the results spoiled if you avoided the news and even once the internet was around, prior to the social networking site explosion, it was pretty easy to avoid spoilers.

These days though? As soon as a race is over or an athlete is finished his or her routine, the results are up on twitter. Apparently, more tweets were sent yesterday than were sent the entire duration of the Beijing Olympics. The explosion of twitter users means that people in the venue are tweeting the results, people watching it on live TV are tweeting the results, and other athletes are congratulating medal winners and tweeting pictures of the medal ceremony all before the event is shown on some channels. Last night, I noticed that someone I was following on twitter say that she knew the results of the 100 m freestyle swimming race before it "started" because the internet livestream was so far behind. If the results are out there before the internet feed catches up, they are definitely out there before the multiple hour tape delay...

Some people find this incredibly frustrating and find that the spoilers actually do spoil the event and the experience for them. In some races and some events, I agree. I kind of wanted to see the Michael Phelps show unfold without any spoilers. It was fun watching races and to wonder if he'd win and if he'd get that record number of medals. In some other events and races though, I didn't really mind having things spoiled. Sure, it is really exciting to yell at the TV and to root for athletes, but it can be tense! When you've been following an athlete's story for many years and you really want them to do well? I sometimes catch myself holding my breath for a little too long, my heart is racing, and I feel like Olympic sport watching should be an Olympic sport. If I already know the results, I can watch the race or the event and feel a little calmer and enjoy the sport without the tension.

I'm not saying that I'd want to watch the entire Olympics on tape delay. Yesterday morning I loved watching the men's 8 rowers give 'er and I was on the edge of my seat (and talking to the TV) during that race - it was an exciting one. But in some cases, like yesterday's 100m freestyle swimming event, I find the race just as exciting knowing what already happened. That being said - I like to have a bit of a choice and I'm happy that CTV (and TSN and Sportsnet...) are showing events live. (in fact - as I'm typing this I'm watching a live rowing event - spoiler alert, great slightly delayed reaction from one of the gold medallists from NZ)

Are the spoilers ruining it for you?

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Yes and No - I don't mind some because I have missed so much of the first week that I can catch something via twitter and kind of catch up.

But when it comes to the track events - would rather not have spoilers. However I will largely be watching via tape delay. Haven't watched a minute yet today :-(