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Olympic spirit revisited

9 September 2012
Olympic spirit revisited

IBC’s Sports Day conference coverage sizzled with the BBC, NBC, and others, reviewing – and showcasing – their Olympic Games transmissions. BBC head of sport Barbara Slater (pictured) summarised the 17-days of coverage as the most extraordinary successful, and complex, event ever transmitted in the UK.

Slater said her brief was simply to ‘never miss a moment’ and through its three main networks, plus 24 additional streamed services, plus radio, web, news and the thousand and one other demands, she – and the BBC’s audience – was highly satisfied with. “Just remember,” she told delegates, “in 2005 when we started planning there were no tablet devices, less than half of UK viewers were digital and Facebook just embryonic. There was no such thing as Twitter!”

The BBC covered some 1500 hours of Beijing’s Games, but this year’s total exceeded 2500 hours. 765 staff were accredited to the park’s IBC, taking up 2500 sq metres of space, as well as the BBC’s Salford, Manchester HQ. Viewing numbers were extraordinary, as were video requests, and web-site Page Views “Indeed, the on-line and streaming coverage threw up some extremely interesting facts, with remarkable audience levels for Taekwondo and Modern Pentathlon events.”

NBC’s Darryl Jefferson (Director Post Production & Highlights Factory) also helped raise emotions in the room with his US-focussed show-reel, assembled from their greatest-ever Olympic effort. Jefferson said particular attention had been paid to core Metadata this year. “We dare not underestimate the importance of Metadata. Without it we could never have hoped to identify footage and files. They could have been lost forever.”

Adding to NBC’s complications were delays on satellite feeds to and from London, and onward to its ’30 Rock’ facility in New York, and further distributed to key technical locations in Stanford, Hialeah (Miami) and Denver. “Our numbers were quite amazing. Ratings were enormous, and we achieved 1.5 billion Page Views, up 300 million on Beijing. It was the biggest digital event in American TV history.”

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