Video reveal: BBC super-sizing “the first truly digital Olympics”

NBC may have been criticised for not streaming enough Olympics Games – but, in the U.K., the BBC plans to stream all 2,500 hours of this summer’s London 2012 events (up from 1,500 in 2008), in what it’s calling “the first proper digital Olympics.”

“It’s the first time our audience gets total control,” BBC News & Knowledge GM Phil Fearnley said during a Tuesday briefing, in which executives showed products demonstrating already-announced plans to offer 24 alternate live HD streams (up from six in 2008).

“We’ve tested it every day for months,” Fearnley said. “The biggest single event we’ve ever seen was in the World Cup when England played Slovenia. Take that and double it – that’s what we’ve been planning for the Olympics.”

  • A new video player built for the recently-upgraded BBC Sport website will offer rewindable live action, alerts to key alternate live moments and participant information.
  • Web pages will include data-driven profiles and Twitter feeds of competing athletes and viewers’ Twitter sentiment.
  • The BBC is also working on iOS and Android apps plus a mobile website.
  • A standardised connected TV application will offer live and catch-up video to Sony Smart TV, PlayStation 3, Virgin Media TiVo and other platforms yet to be announced.

Much of the BBC’s digital Olympics offering is merely the result of the continuous iterative product development that the corporation undergoes. The platforms that have been built are also expected to be redeployed for upcoming live events including Euro 2012 and Wimbledon.

“You don’t need to be a genius to work out that Glastonbury [the huge annual U.K. music festival] would be a good example,” added the BBC’s product head for Sport and London 2012, Cait O’Riordan.

Aside from live, events will be available to watch via the BBC for more than the standard iPlayer catch-up window of seven days. “The IOC sets the rights window – it’s longer than seven days,” O’Riordan said.

Deltatre, Massive, Magnetic North, Adobe and Atos have been amongst the private-sector recipients of outsourcing contracts in the project.