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September 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In the U.K., Channel 4’s live coverage of the Paralympics set ratings records for the channel last month. In the U.S., it was relegated to a handful of highlight telecasts on the NBC Sports cable network and a 90-minute special about a week after the contests ended. In London on Thursday for an appearance before the Royal Television Society’ Digital World Conference, Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, criticized the time of the Paralympics. “As an event its positioning, one or two weeks after the Olympics, is difficult as there is a tremendous amount of fatigue,” he said. American audiences, he suggested, were different from British audiences. U.S. viewers, he said, commit “a tremendous amount of time to the Olympics. They change their whole lifestyle. When it ends reassembling that audience is very, very difficult.” Advertisers, too, suffer the same post-Olympics “fatigue,” Zenkel suggested, making it “very difficult to re-engage the sponsor base to support the [Paralympics] coverage.” Zenkel acknowledged that “there was plenty of criticism of not adequate coverage of the Paralympics.” However he added, “I will only say that we provided a fair amount of coverage over the course of the Paralympics. We are a commercial broadcaster.”