The Digital Olympics

by · July 16, 2012

This year’s Olympics is a game changer in terms of how viewers will consume it.

The biggest event in athletics is about to hit the UK and unlike any previous Olympic Games – it is going to be a heavily digital affair. For the first time ever, there will be constant live streaming of all the events from every venue.

Not all TV networks are going to utilize digital outlets for the games but many are gearing up for monumental coverage, ‘tradition-breaking-broadcasting’ and a huge, and potentially costly, experiment in advertising revenues versus viewer’s habits. Why this – why now?

Well with advent of mobile and trends for instant access and instant information, viewers are no longer comfortable to wait until the evening primetime TV channels broadcast the highlights – they want it now and are likely to log onto their laptops or their smartphones to view it instantly. Therefore modern TV networks are scrambling over themselves to provide the best digital experience for their customers that they can, gambling on them still tuning into their TV’s for the primetime slots their advertisers have invested heavily in.

Not only that – but if a week is a long time in politics, well then, four years is an eternity in social media. And considering that the last Olympics were held in China – where there is no access to Facebook or Twitter or other mainstream social networking platforms – this is the first truly ‘Social Media Olympics’ with live tweets, images and commentary being broadcast over the digital sphere in every language to the four corners of the earth from millions of spectators, let alone the journalists. So this is going to be the most content heavy, widely covered Olympics in the history of ‘The Games.’ And how is the ‘Big Smoke’ (aka London) gearing up to the challenge?

To start with, they have launched a free Olympics app over the weekend offering up to 24 streams of live event coverage with a schedule and results page and news items. It also offers catch-up coverage, highlights and intriguing details, facts and stats about the Games and competitors. You can customize it for your favorite events and download it from iTunes for iPhones or Android App Store. However, it is only available for UK smartphones.

Phil Fearnley, BBC News & Knowledge General Manager, said, “For the first truly digital Olympics, we needed to ensure that everyone could access our quality coverage wherever they were, across multiple devices. The free BBC Sport Olympics app for UK Android and iOS smartphones ensures that everything you need to keep up-to-date with the action is right there at your fingertips. Even when you’re out of range of 3G or wireless, we’ll still be able to deliver the latest news to you offline.”

The flagship British broadcaster, the BBC, will also be offering a mobile browser site, accessible across all mobile devices, which will mirror much of the desktop experience, and audiences can also access coverage through tablets. Meanwhile the website will be offering a page for every sport, country, athlete and venue – no easy feat.

This year’s summer Olympics has been dubbed the “Socialympics.” with its own, bespoke YouTube channel, Facebook page which has already attracted over 2.8 million likes, and a Twitter account – @Olympics ( over a million followers). There is also the London 2012 Social Game in the Facebook App center: Olympic Games City, not to mention Google+, Pinterest, Shazaam, and so on. In short, this being the most covered and digitally broadcast  Olympics ever means you just won’t miss a thing.

How will you view the Olympics?

Post By Sarah Spendiff (28 Posts)


Discussion1 Comment

  1. June Fraser says:

    The BBC have also a dedicated radio programme giving non stop digital coverage. Check out Radio 5 Sports

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