NBC's Peacock app was a popular Olympics download, but it was a mess

Many cord-cutters had to download an app in order to view the Tokyo Olympics.The only options for streaming the COVID-postponed tournament were Hulu with Live TV or YouTube TV. Both cost $65 per month. An app and website by NBC Sports requires a subscription. Locast, a donations-supported TV streamer, does not have access to cable and broadcast channels.Peacock is a streaming service that allows you to view Olympians live, both ad-supported and paid. The Peacock app was the best place to stream live track and field events and gymnastics for this Olympics. Basketball was also live on the $5 per month paid tier.The Peacock app launched in April 2020 and saw a download increase in July due to limited and affordable options. Apptopia data showed that App Store and Google Play downloads in the first half of July were as low at 94,921 per day. The app was downloaded 210.689 times per day by July 27, when gymnastics was well underway.Even during the most popular gymnastics events, a paid option such as the YouTube TV app was not as well-received. Apptopia recorded 25,617 YouTube downloads in July 27th, a slight increase from the July 16 YouTube TV downloads of 20,987.Peacock was the only way to watch Team USA race and balance on the balance beam if you don't have a cable login or don't want to pay. You could also replay the entire event and see highlights (e.g., table tennis, canoeing or archery). These events are not the most popular.However, just because NBC saw increased viewership on its new Peacock platform doesn't mean that the Olympics show was a success. Because of the fragmentation of options across multiple apps, websites and channels, as well as the time difference between Japan, the U.S., which made live broadcasts more difficult, the Olympics lost its unity and viewers became confused.In Saturday's Tokyo Olympics newsletter, Washington Post editor Dan Steinberg said that the Olympics was once one of those rare events that all of us watched together. It felt more personal this time, with the tape delays, streaming options, Peacock-only events, and difficult-to-follow lists.A newsletter question asked why these games were so disappointing. Readers responded that streaming makes it difficult to follow and we already know all the details before we see them. This is also a problem in Rio, but it seems more dispersed this year. Another complained that it was difficult to find coverage of all the events, while another person missed those days when there was only one channel.Many people took to Twitter to complain about another app that was full of ads and trying to sign up for paid subscribers. The app is difficult to use or navigate. According to Verge, searching for Olympics broadcasts on Peacock was "a tedious task comparable to flipping through a cable TV guide."Cord-cutters don't want to force the Olympics onto an existing streaming platform. They deserve something better, whether it's an enhanced Olympics portal within Peacock or an exclusive app for the next Olympics.