Angry viewers have hit out at the Seven Network for what they believe to be “woeful” and “insulting” coverage of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Seven’s penchant for showing regular replays has viewers particularly aggrieved, with social media flooded with complaints about Monday evening’s programming.
On that occasion, repeats of the women’s moguls final – which saw Australians Jakara Anthony and Britt Cox finish fourth and fifth respectively – were often prioritised ahead of live action.
“Seven has shown the same events over and over,” frustrated viewer Paul Mavroudis told The New Daily.
“How many times can you watch the same moguls or figure skating event?
“That live hockey matches, as an example, are shown only on the app when Seven is broadcasting a replay of the previous day’s events in prime time boggles the mind. I don’t get it.”
Seven is broadcasting the Games across both its main channel and 7mate, while the ‘OlympicsOn7’ app is being regularly promoted as a way for fans to “access exclusive live content that is not part of the broadcast coverage”.
The app has not been particularly popular, though, with it receiving 1.5 of five stars from 347 reviewers in the Apple Store at the time of writing.
Comments from fans like “garbage coverage” and “disgusted” are among the most recently published.
The media guru
The app has proved more popular in the Google Store, receiving 2.4 stars from 1126 reviewers, and media expert Dr Sam Duncan feels much of the bad feedback is exaggerated.
“I think they [Seven] have done a good job so far,” he told The New Daily.
“One of the criticisms has been that there’s been too many replays but there’s a couple of things consumers should keep in mind.
“The weather has not been kind and that means a lot of events have been postponed. This happened on days two and three, meaning Seven would have had gaps in its scheduling.
“It seems they’ve turned to figure skating (an indoor sport not cancelled because of weather) and showed replays of popular sports with Australian involvement.”
Dr Duncan also revealed that while Seven is broadcasting the Games, that it does rely on other networks for pictures, and there is a reason for occasional replays.
“Seven don’t have as much control as you might think,” he added.
“They are reliant upon the feeds coming from the Olympic Broadcasting Service [OBS].
“While the OBS would certainly be covering most sports, Seven are somewhat dictated to when it comes to which content they have, when they have it and for which platform.
“We don’t watch to watch the same event over and over again but replays are important to catch up viewers who might have just got home from work, or tuned into prime time for the first time having missed the big stories and events.”
Mavroudis also expressed disappointment with Seven’s failure to show more live events on its additional channels.
Re-runs of Kittens Make You Laugh Out Loud and How I Met Your Mother were shown on Monday evening on Seven’s suite of channels.
“Seven’s decision making with its Olympics coverage has been woeful,” he said.
“The presentation of the event has been insulting not just to those who actually care about the Winter Olympics, but also to those who, every four years, like to drop in and enjoy something a little different.”
Despite viewer complaints, Seven’s coverage from South Korea has been particularly successful in terms of ratings.
More than one million Aussies tuned in on Sunday evening and Monday’s figure was only slightly less.
“These are solid figures that match popular sports such as the BBL and even some sessions of Test match cricket,” Dr Duncan added.
“They completely dwarf other sports such as the A-League.”
A spokesperson from the Seven Network said that by Tuesday, coverage of the Games had reached 9.5 million Australians.
The spokesperson also said that while Australian competitors were Seven’s focus, that when not shown on Seven or 7mate, live action is screened on the app, which has been reportedly downloaded by more than one million Aussie fans.