Monday, August 13, 2012

NBC blows it -- deletes the Tour de France archive

All that is left at the Tour de France Web site.
During their coverage of the Tour de France, NBC created a terrific archive of 261 videos of interviews, highlights, full-stage replays, commentary, etc. on the Tour Web site.

I just went back to the site, and discovered that the archive is gone. That is a shame, because it would have been a valuable resource for historians, journalists, fans and remixiers.

What a waste. Doesn't NBC get the Internet? Haven't they noticed Amazon's success with low-selling, long tail books and other retail items?

They need to talk with Brewster Kahle, who founded the Internet Archive to build an Internet library to offer "permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format."

In endorsing the Internet Archive, Stewart Brand wrote that "civilization is developing severe amnesia" due to the rapid turnover of digitized information, that the archiving "norm is total loss."

NBC -- how many early TV video tapes and kinescope recordings have you lost? Don't keep repeat your past mistakes.

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Added notes: NBC's Olympic archive is still online, but they have not said how long it will remain there. The BBC Olympic archive (up to 24 live HD streams and 2,500 hours of coverage) will be available until January.

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I just learned that the January date was not decided by the BBC, but imposed in their contract with the International Olympic Committee (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2012/08/digital_olympics_reach_stream_stats.html?postId=113427062#comment_113427062).

I understand that one can argue that the IOC paid a lot of money and should have the right to maximize their profit on that investment, but I also feel that there is a class of event that should be kept available as part of our cultural and political history for which there is a stewardship responsibility. Do not know where to draw the line, but in this case, I would urge the IOC to plan on keeping the archive available to the public and adjusting the terms of their contract to take that into account.