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The BBC's approach to streaming the digital Olympics

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Richard Cooper Richard Cooper | 16:58 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2012

I'm Richard Cooper, Controller of Digital Distribution at the BBC, and I'd like to talk a bit about the BBC's preparations for London 2012, the first truly digital Olympics.

Like everyone else in the UK involved with bringing the games to a digital audience, the BBC is preparing for the increased amount of people watching and engaging with events online. Our comprehensive live online coverage will offer Olympics audiences, for the first time ever, the chance to watch every Olympic sport, live from every venue - from the big events, to minority disciplines which normally wouldn't be broadcast.

As with all big sporting occasions, our traffic will vary during the day depending on the event, competitor, team and timing. Where we need to prepare most is around the big moments - for example, when Team GB is (hopefully) in the running for a medal - which have the potential to drive a lot of people to our online streams. This is not new for us. The BBC has proven it can cope well with big event streaming: in 2010 we brought the World Cup live to online audiences, and dealt with increased traffic comfortably.

We did this by expanding our streaming capacity, which we do every year to accommodate inevitable increases in people watching our content online and across connected devices. We've already expanded our capacity this year in preparation for the Olympics. As in 2010, we've ensured this increase will enable us to handle the high levels of traffic we expect to see during the games.

We're aiming to deliver more content from the Olympics than ever before, live and on catch-up, and we're fully prepared to meet the demands of that pledge.

Richard Cooper is Controller, Digital Distribution, BBC Future Media


  • Comment number 1.

    Well, thanks for that wealth of detail. I feel so much better informed now.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I've been hearing that broadcasting Summer Olympics could be disrupted by a solar storm far more potent than the one CURRENTLY wearing away at Earth's magnetic field. In fact, there is the potential to experience what planners call a "Black Swan" event; that is, one that could have an extraordinary impact on our lives.
    I've even heard that we could see devastating results from the disruption of our computer systems. i.e. computers disabled & other electronics critical to the Olympic Games, which take place in London July 27 through Aug. 12.
    Apparently, there will be a convergence of an event that is most connected, computer-intensive event ever with a RECORD LEVEL of sunspot activity.
    (Solar flares are magnificent releases of energy rocketed out into space that have been measured to be the equivalent of as much as 160B megatons of TNT.)
    I have not seen any response from the International Olympic Committee or The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
    Western lifestyles are so dependent on space technology & national power grids.
    Is there danger lurking? Plans pending? Cause for concern?

  • Comment number 6.

    As well as a digital first for the 30th Olympiad, we we have another first to celebrate ... London is the only city to ever host the games x 3! 1908, when Mount Versuvius erupted, 1948 we made an austerity gesture and now 21st century and with it goes the evolution of broadcast media communications. A fascinating egacy story itself!


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