Comcast is between a proverbial rock and a hard place as they face the challenge of covering the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
With obstacles like a decline in traditional audience viewership and inhospitable time zones, Comcast must also contend with pressure from human rights advocates demanding attention to their issues, while remaining under the constant scrutiny of China’s broadcasting regulations.
Said veteran media analyst Craig Moffett of the research firm Moffett Nathanson, “Comcast is in a tough spot here. It wasn’t their choice to host the Games in Beijing…Now Comcast has to deal with the fallout.”
The network is feeling the heat from a number of groups calling on Comcast to shed light on human rights violations by the host nation, including advocates for the Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong, and the residents of Taiwan, each demanding attention be brought to the worldwide stage on their behalf. While not wishing to downplay legitimate issues, Comcast has the unenviable task of simultaneously navigating the minefield of China’s constant and ubiquitous surveillance.
The US, along with other nations such as Australia and the United Kingdom, are keeping diplomats at home this time around, which NBC’s Olympic host Mike Terrico addressed at the beginning of the network’s primetime broadcast, including a segment highlighting the controversy over human rights.
“Juxtaposing political controversy alongside an athletic competition that promises drama of its own, with the backdrop of a global pandemic, little about this event will be simple to reconcile over the next two and a half weeks,” he said.
Concerns extend beyond the political realm into the personal, including the treatment of athletes competing in this year’s event. “I want Comcast and NBC to be fair. They should show what China is not showing: the human rights violations, the privacy issues, the way (athletes) cannot take a phone call without an app that monitors them.” Said Terrico, “I want NCB to fairly broadcast those truths, not just the Games.”
How will the balancing act play out over the next two weeks in Comcast’s Olympic coverage, and what’s at risk for the global media and technology company in their dealings with the host nation? Read here to find out more. https://www.inquirer.com/business/nbc-olympics-china-human-rights-tibet-hong-kong-20220204.html