You know that #NBCFail hashtag that’s become all the rage on Twitter for snarky, social media savvy observers to roast the broadcast giant’s Olympics coverage? Turns out those trenchant tweeters may actually just be a vocal minority, says a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and Pew Internet & American Life Project.
According to the survey of just over a thousand adults, 76% of Olympic fans say say the NBC is doing an excellent (29%) or good (47%) job covering the Summer Games. Just 18% percent rate the coverage as fair (13%) or poor (5%).
Overall, 78% of Americans have followed the Olympics online, on TV or via social media. TV still dominates for Olympic consumption, though; 73% say they’ve watched coverage there, while 17% say they’ve watched digitally and 12% say they’ve followed the Games using Twitter, Facebook or other social platforms. That last figure rises to 31% among the 18-29 age group.
Interestingly, considering the popularity of #NBCFail criticism on Twitter, 70% of Pew respondents who are watching the Games online or following via social media rate the coverage as excellent or good. For people watching on TV, it’s 77%.
The #NBCFail hashtag craze was kicked off in relation to the 2012 Olympics by Peoria, Ill., resident Steven Marx, who posted in it in relation to a complaint he made to some 17 followers a day before the Games’ opening ceremony. The hashtag then quickly picked up momentum over the ensuing days as disgruntled consumers used it to gripe about shoddy streaming experiences, editorial mistakes and — most of all — NBC’s preference for obfuscating footage of major Olympic events until airing tape-delayed primetime broadcasts stateside.
The Pew survey, though — coupled with strong ratings for NBC’s primetime coverage — indicates that Twitter carpers may simply be a peanut gallery the network can afford to ignore.
Do you think NBC should take advice from the web’s #NBCFail tweeters? Or are they irrelevant compared to the Olympic-consuming population at large? Give us your take in the comments.