To NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and other commercial broadcasters around the world I say, figure out another way to make money. The airwaves, the Internet airwaves at least, belong to us.
It wasn't the opening ceremonies at the Olympics that was thrilling but rather reading the accounts of the grass roots collaborative efforts of people around the world doing an end run around the commercial sites who claimed to own the rights to broadcast the event by sharing, often over YouTube, videos of the Games.
People were not content to watch a sanitized, tape delayed version of a major global event and when YouTube owners Google played the subservient pawn in NBC's commercial endeavors we witnessed new videos pop up just as fast as they could shut down the old. And when that didn’t work users were sharing links across Twitter and other collaborative sites.
The New York Times quoted Gary Zenkel, the president of NBC Olympics, as saying "we have a billion dollars worth of revenue at stake here, so that means we're not public television, for better or worse."
Well it is going to be worse.
Mr. Zenkel and company will have to find a new way to make money because it won't come from blocking access to public events.
To me the accounts of NBC's attempts to stop the leaks of "unauthorized" coverage were pathetic. Why should we the public suffer for their humongous error in business acumen.
NBC paying $1 billion for exclusive U.S. coverage of the Olympics is tantamount to buying the Brooklyn Bridge from a con man and then trying to set up a toll both. It won't work anymore and it's NBC's mistake.
At best, let's say NBC paid for the television rights, but NBC doesn't own the Internet and never will.
End of story.