That drew a quick response from NBC's Bell: "You do know that all sports events are being streamed live right?"
"I do, indeed!" replied Poniewozik. "Have enjoyed it. Apparently a lot of folks still prefer watching it on TV."
NBC says it saves big events for prime-time airing because that is when most viewers are available to watch them and where the network makes the bulk of its advertising revenue. Since prime time on the U.S. East Coast coincides with 1 a.m. London time, there are no events to air live then.
Jonathan Wald, who produces Piers Morgan's CNN talk show and used to work at NBC, tweeted that "the medal for most Olympic whining goes to everyone who complains about what happens every four years. Tape delay."
One of those complainers, in fact, was Morgan: He tweeted his disdain Friday for NBC's decision not to make the opening ceremony available live.
The advent of Twitter makes it seems like there's a lot of unhappiness when the majority of viewers are watching NBC on tape delay and appear satisfied with it, Wald said in an interview.
NBC can point to television ratings justifying their approach. The Nielsen company said the opening ceremony drew more than 40 million people Friday, the most ever for one of those Olympic events, and Saturday's first night of coverage saw overnight ratings up 8 percent from Beijing four years ago. Many at NBC believe the social media conversation only fuels viewership.