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BBC output and staffing for the Olympics

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Roger Mosey | 15:30 UK time, Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Probably the biggest single theme in this blog has been the record amount of content we'll be offering from the London Olympic Games - a total of around 2,500 hours of live sport - supplemented by tv, radio and online coverage around the clock of the largest sporting event ever held in the UK.

Pulling it all together, the highlights are:

- 33 hours a day of live television across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Three.

- At peak, 24 live HD channels meaning you can watch every venue from first thing in the morning to last thing at night

- Comprehensive coverage on 5 Live, supplemented by a new temporary digital radio station - 5 Live Olympics Extra

- First ever 3D broadcast coverage of the Olympics to include the ceremonies and the 100m final live on the BBC

- Super Hi Vision test transmissions in Glasgow, Bradford and London - also a world first

- More online and mobile services than ever before

- News presentation, including 24-hour-a-day news on all platforms at home and abroad

Now, as part of our commitment to being completely transparent about what we're up to - with previous blogs about our ticket policy and our accommodation plans - I'm going to outline the consequences of this airtime commitment for our staffing during the Games.

Our BBC accredited staff numbers for London 2012 will be 765 - an increase compared with the 493 we had in Beijing, of whom 437 were flown from London to China. This is inevitable given two things:

1 - The massive increase in output - with four times as many TV channels and an extra radio station compared with Beijing, and double the overall number of hours.

2 - A home Games, where there will be more coverage by BBC News and our Nations and Regions alongside the predicted greater level of interest in the sport.

To illustrate the first point, providing 24 digital channels means that we need extra commentators and pundits. Otherwise there'd be nobody to explain what's going on at 26 different sports.

And whereas in Beijing we went on air pretty much straight into the opening ceremony, in London we're expecting a full day of ceremonial events and news coverage about the way the capital and the whole of the country are gearing up for the start of the Games.

The Olympic Stadium, which will host the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games on Friday 27 July.

The opening ceremony for the Olympic Games takes place in the Olympic Stadium on Friday 27 July. Picture: Getty Images.

Throughout, audiences will expect us to report on security, travel and organisational issues alongside the live sport on a significantly different scale to Athens or Beijing.

There will be some critics who challenge these kind of numbers, and indeed who would attack any number greater than a dozen, so let me give a few quick facts for context.

Big events require significant staffing levels.

Our American colleagues at NBC have used over 2,800 staff at previous Olympics, while The Times reported that there were 380 staff working on Sky Sports' excellent host-broadcasting operation for last year's Champions League final at Wembley. Sky have said in the past that 130 people are involved in covering a single Premier League game.

Meanwhile, there's also the very strange argument that it's a problem if the BBC staffing levels are greater than the size of Team GB - as if a Team GB of 1,000 people would then make it ok for us to have 999.

In fact, we have to cover all the nations taking part in the Olympics; and our teams are driven by the scale of the overall coverage, not the number of British athletes competing.

Then there's the question about how many of the BBC staff will come down from Sport's new home in Salford, and the answer is just 23 per cent.

Most of our people are London-based because they're either in our core 2012 planning team, which has remained in the capital, or in our News operation.

For those who do travel down, there will be overnight stays; but we've always been clear that almost all of them would have qualified for it anyway given the need to start early, finish late and get to venues on time - and many will be put up in low-cost student-type accommodation.

At every stage of the BBC 2012 operation, we've been conscious of the need to run as efficient an operation as we can do and to spend our budget wisely.

But equally we know that British audiences expect us to cover these Games well, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime moment for this country where the broadcasting will be required to live up to the event.

We believe we're striking that balance, and we'll aim to supply our best-ever range of content this summer to tens of millions of people.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I trust the BBC, but please less of the mobile cameras and cute camera angles during critical live coverage of the Olympics events.

    example 1: BBC rugby union coverage suddenly switching to pitch-side side-on/head-on camera angle when the player in possession gets near the tryline. We the viewer can't see what's going on.

    example 2: last Grand National - excellent race coverage until penultimate fence when the director chose to use the low-down, camera pointed at the sky, horses in profile, arty view at a crucial stage.
    Looked nice, but bloomin' useless for us viewers to see how the leading horses jumped the second last. Stick to the main camera.

    example 3. BBC athletics coverage recent trend to use that mobile camera gantry for the Pole Vault. Fine - except it's no good following the vaulter up to the bar and then following the vaulter down to the mat IF WE CAN'T SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BAR out of shot !!!

    Somethimes I get the feeling the BBC directors have too much choice and are showing off their toys without thinking about the viewer's experience. Tell them to stop faffing around during live action.

    Leave the different angles for the replays and highlights and just show the live sport clearly.

  • Comment number 2.

    I've no doubt the BBC will provide excellent coverage of the whole games accross all forms of media, you are probably the best company on earth at covering giant occasions.
    I'm also 100% certain that there will be quite a few presenters getting paid vast sums of money (compared to the avegare Joe in Britain) who will get minimal air time that could just as easily be done by someone else who is already there covering the event.
    We will all see this happen many times a day, especially on news broadcasts where you seem to think we need a specific 'news' journalist to tell us what the sports experts can do just as well and will be doing minutes later in highlights programmes.

  • Comment number 3.

    I can't wait for the 2012 Olympics to start this summer. It's going to excellent and world class. The BBC's coverage is looking very exciting and brilliant as well. This is probable the biggest and most important global event the BBC is going to broadcast up to date and it's looks like it's going to be a massive success.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well done Roger and to the team so far. Personally I am very proud of the excellent, world-beating, coverage the BBC provides on sporting events, documentaries, entertainment and the rest.

    The Olympics will be an advert for the country throughout the world and I can think of no organisation better placed to produce that advert. On a personal note I look forward to picking up the coverage whenever possible.

    And to the skeptics, no, I don't work for the Beeb or even in media. I just see the importance of this genuinely Great British institution and I'm equally more than happy to pay my share for it too- including for the coverage at the Olympics.

  • Comment number 5.

    God alone knows how I came up with that spelling of 'average'

  • Comment number 6.

    I am very excited about the BBC's coverage of both the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It's big events like these that the BBC are all about.

    So I will certainly have no complaints about anything the BBC does or how much of my licence fee goes towards that coverage. I've got the whole 17 days off work, so I can indulge in watching as much as I can cram in!

  • Comment number 7.

    Regardless of the numbers involved the Daily Mail will find (or manufacture) a complaint.
    The big problem I had with the China event was the fact that people were sent over there simply to sit in front of a big window and look pretty. That could have been much more efficient with most of the expensive talking heads based in London.
    Had they also done any amount of actual journalism (looking at the impact of the games on the ordinary Chinese for example) then there may have been some benefit.

  • Comment number 8.

    Please don't let directors cut to shots of spectators grinning inanely and waving in a demented manner at their pictures on the big screen. It does not enhance my enjoyment of sport.

  • Comment number 9.

    "33 hours a day of live television" - one for 'The News Quiz' there I think! Or perhaps The Doctor has helped out with a sort of reverse Tardis - that massive Olympic media centre is huge on the outside, but tiny .....

  • Comment number 10.

    And, more seriously, would I be correct in thinking that the BBC have to pay the IOC/Lord Coe & Co. for the 'rights', plus all their own broadcasting costs, but then cannot sell their coverage to other brodcasters because only the IOC can sell it?

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks for the comments so far. @Martha's Phonebox in #9: I mean that there will be coverage from 0600 to 0100 on BBC One or BBC Two; and from 0900 to 2300 on BBC Three. Which is 19+14=33.

  • Comment number 12.

    Always annoys me you have to justify the numbers for events like this with some people expecting Sue Barker to host, commentate, film and edit the entire event single handedly - so great to see you putting it into perspective with things like Sky's football coverage.

    And kind of off topic but I think it's good to see "BBC Sport" presenters now turning up on rival channels to host events like the French Open and Paralympics, emphasising that talent you may have on screen just a few weeks a year are actually employed by the BBC just for that period, not for the year.

  • Comment number 13.

    Posters should understand that the BBC are not responsible for the filming of the Olympics. That is done by OBS - the Olympic Broadcasting Service - who produce and transmit the 'raw' output from the games, to which the BBC then add their own commentary and any editing they want to do. So BBC are not providing the cameras, nor the cameramen, nor transmitting it to any other country.

    So whilst the BBC might defend the numbers they are sending, remember they aren't doing the most basic of tasks, just adding their own layer of 'bias' on top...

  • Comment number 14.

    Can the BBC not send 5million reporters to each event please...
    I know you want to cover everything fully and i agree with that, but there's a point where it becomes ridiculous. For example, having 3 people in a box in the Stadium, 2 people interviewing athletes, one wandering round the stadium, 7 taking pictures, 7 BBC specific camera crews... Its just a waste.
    also the 33 hours a day seems extreme! what events are happening at 0600 or 0000? I get you want to show everything, but a short highlights segment is plenty for most events, as most people will only compare about the medal contests...
    Just trying to save the Beeb money... oh wait that could have been done by not building a massive new complex in slaford, or ... etc.

  • Comment number 15.

    Roger,

    Interesting item - now we have a feel for how unavoidable the BBC coverage will be - 33 hours per day (and there's five hours of each 24 where there won't be any coverage) so thats 33 hours of coverage in 19 hours. Wow - you're nearly saying 2 channels out of 3 covering Olympics full time (or the equivalent)?

    You say "let me give a few quick facts for context" and then follow this up with "Big events require significant staffing levels". Can you tell me which part of the "fact" is a fact (and not just an opinion)? As it seems you're not actually providing staff to produce the raw feed, may I point you at a previous "Big Event" - slightly bigger than the Olympics - namely the moon landing of Apollo 11. In this the BBC took NASA's feed and fronted it with Patrick Moore in the studio. Would you care to guess the numbers of staff involved for this 27x7, multi-day event?

    You say "there's also the very strange argument that it's a problem if the BBC staffing levels are greater than the size of Team GB". May I suggest that there's an equally strange argument that goes along the lines of "the Americans use many thousands of staff so if we're using less then we're using a sensible number".

    You also say "In fact, we have to cover all the nations taking part in the Olympics". May I ask Why? Why do you feel the need to cover Outer Mongolia's weightlifting competitor (I don't know if there is any such - I just made it up) if the raw feed is provided by OBS and you're adding a UK front to it?

    When you say "our teams are driven by the scale of the overall coverage, not the number of British athletes competing" are you not just presenting a completely circular argument? The size of our team is driven by the scale of the coverage. The scale of the team determines the scale of the coverage we can provide.

    "But equally we know that British audiences expect us to cover these Games well," - I presume you mean the audience on average not the audience in totality as, frankly, I do not care how well (or otherwise) you cover the event.

    "and it's a once-in-a-lifetime moment for this country" - why? Are we expecting to win things we wouldn't otherwise win? Maybe it's special because we can go to the events in person .... but that has nothing to do with the TV coverage.

    "where the broadcasting will be required to live up to the event." - do you not always do this then?

    "We believe we're striking that balance, and we'll aim to supply our best-ever range of content" - how is supplying the best ever (and more of it on more channels and more media) striking a balance?

    BTW - you mention head counts and also mention other coverage (not in your 33 hours figure?) provided by BBC News (as opposed to BBC Sport). Could we have a headcount including the BBC News reporters standing alongside / behind the BBC Sports presenters & pundits at the sam event?

    Any chance we can have a blog from the BBC's director of Non-London 2012 so we can find out what the corporation is providing during this period for people who don't want be be immersed in the Olypics (pre/build-up/Opening/during/close/post/analysis/navel-staring) or the repeat event just afterwards?

  • Comment number 16.

    @14. At 20:12 25th Apr 2012, Average_Man wrote:

    also the 33 hours a day seems extreme! what events are happening at 0600 or 0000? I get you want to show everything, but a short highlights segment is plenty for most events, as most people will only compare about the medal contests...


    Now here's a thought ... why not put it on BBC3 and the Red Button?

  • Comment number 17.

    and I've just found on one of your previous blogs ...

    "It's worth noting that the Freeview red button service will be picking the best of the action from the sports not being covered on BBC One and BBC Three,"

    so it seems there's more than 33 hours per day and you're NOT supplying best coverage of every event - or you're just putting dross on Freeview ?

  • Comment number 18.

    Now that the draws for the team events are being made willyou be updating the online schedule to show the draws as the football schedule has not been updated with the match dates yet

  • Comment number 19.

    765 staff for the olympics-and how many for the paralympics an event not even -covered on the BBC. And in the meantime sports contracts continue to hemorrhage away. This year the football league contract, French open tennis, whats left of live European tour golf AND THE BIGGEST LOSS FOR BBC SPORT THE GRAND NATIONAL. Seems to me the top brass at the Corporation are interested in the olympics which is an event lasting 17 days which no doubt will result in a few freebies thank you very much AND NO OTHER SPORT. Barbara Slater should resign. i dont want to watch cookery shows on the BBC I want live sport but doesnt seem as though i will be getting my wish

  • Comment number 20.

    @citizenloz in #13: OBS provide the international feed, yes. But we then put in additional cameras at many venues to cover Team GB competitors as well as having our presentation positions. We do all our own radio coverage.

    By the way, I asked on Twitter tonight if anyone could explain the alleged link between (a) the size of Team GB and (b) the number of people required to broadcast 2500 hours of 26 different sports over 17 days. So far nobody has come up with an answer, presumably because there is no link at all.

    @Think Tank in #15: the presumption in a digital age is that we should show content if it's available - and the extra choice has been widely welcomed. On your point in #17: at times there's a lot of clashing live content - for instance, athletics clashes with swimming clashes with football clashes with tennis. That's why we need up to 24 channels at peak, alongside the flagship services on BBC One and BBC Three.

    @Brekkie in #12 - thank you.

  • Comment number 21.

    Whilst marvelling at Think Tank's diarrhoeal approach to blogging, I think it might be as well to just comment on one of his more bizarre claims-the BBC's coverage of the Moon landing was fronted by Cliff Mitchelmore not Patrick Moore, who was in fact one of a panel of experts in what was a detailed and extensive series of programmes. The coverage involved a large number of people.

    I think Brekkie made the point well about the reality of making television programmes.

    I share archicrooks concern about the BBC losing sports contracts, but coverage of the 2012 games has nothing to do with that-the contract was signed years ago. The real worry is that the BBC will be stuck with a new director general who will walk away from future Olympics as well as everything else.

  • Comment number 22.

    And for those who have no interest in sport tough luck !!!!!!!

    As it is there is far too much time taken up with golf, football etc.
    Give us quality entertainment after a hard days work and by that I don't mean reality shows and the pathetic modern soaps.

  • Comment number 23.

    Roger, Appreciate the insight but I hope the 24 channel sports service has been sold at a reasonable cost to Sky & Virgin to significantly offset the costs to the BBC.

    Hoping that the BBC will stick to expert commentary, both BBC & Ch5 has had situations where inexperienced live event commentators were not on the ball. PS I would quite happily watch many sports without the inane commentary.

    Good luck though on an important service that will define the reputation of BBC sports & news into the future and may help to retain key events

  • Comment number 24.

    Generally I love sport, but I am sick of hearing about the Olympics. Looks as though there will be no escape from it - why do we have to have it on BBC 1, 2 & 3? - stick it on 1 channel with red button options for different sports and give us some good quality alternatives on the other channels please!
    Most of the country ( that's nearly everyone outside of London ) are fed up with hearing how wonderful it is for he country and how we are all going to benefit.
    There are many people who will be angry at the vast cost of this event when they are getting pay cuts, benefits cut or stopped.
    Trouble will soon brewing on the streets again..how many more BBC staff will be needed to cover that?

  • Comment number 25.

    I don't think the concern from a lot of people is about the number of staff the Beeb will have at the Olympics so much as the number of presenters. We get that a lot of work is done by a lot of people behind the scenes to provide the coverage, but nobody wants nor needs a presenter in a booth with rolling pairs of pundits AND a pair of commentators per event AND a pair of on-the-ground interviewers per stadium. As cost-cutting as the BBC tries to make itself out to be, you still struggle to shake this more-is-more attitude when it comes to covering anything.

    Take the F1: two or three presenters (depending on Eddie's schedule), a 'commentator' and a pair of pit reporters. Doesn't seem like much, but that's for the races the BBC doesn't even cover! (having sold them just so they could continue to send a full fleet of staff to every race)

    For a perhaps more pertinent example, why 3D? That is very expensive tech being used at every licence payer's expense for a gimmick that can be enjoyed by a very select few who, let's face it, will probably be using their 3D TVs to watch Sky's inevitably gimmickier coverage.

    No-one's saying the BBC should stick to bargain-basement coverage, all we want is to see great coverage delivered with a bit of common sense, i.e. at the expense of all of that unnecessary gumph that few (if any) of us give monkey's shaved buttock about.

  • Comment number 26.

    Grateful if Mr Mosey could advise the full cost of the BBC Olympic-related coverage and what proportion of the Annual License fee this represents.

  • Comment number 27.

    33 hours of coverage per day!! That definitely seems to be bordering on the extreme.

    If this is possible can anyone at the BBC explain why the coverage of this years World Snooker Championships is so abysmal? There is very little coverage on BBC Two, and just one table behind the red button (which doesn't even follow on from the BBC Two coverage).

    Do you guys still use the BBC Parliament channel? That must get an average of about 3 viewers per day...

  • Comment number 28.

    TBH I wasn't concerned about the BBC's spending on the Olympics until until I read all the Orwellian news-speak:
    "For those who do travel down, there will be overnight stays;" Traveling down then back up same day is not effective, overtime costs, travel costs, etc. Rent properties? Options are there if you do actually think.
    "many will be put up in low-cost student-type accommodation." yeah not the stars though, so what will be the cost for them?
    "Big events require significant staffing levels." & "Sky have said in the past that 130 people are involved in covering a single Premier League game." Sky are pay per view and until I get the option to pay for your channel and therefor vote 'with my feet' don't compare yourself. Also football tends to have a much higher audience on average than the larger percentage of the Olympic sports, getting more money per view. I also note you haven't actually said how many staff you are going to use.
    "In fact, we have to cover all the nations taking part in the Olympics" No, you have to cover the events.

    In the end I expect you to publish details of numbers of staff, costs etc. Put them up now so we can tell you if you are spending OUR money in an acceptable fashion.
    In the end

  • Comment number 29.

    Paid for largely by dropping all football and horse racing and not bothering with cricket,the nations three most watched spectator sports. The BBCs priorities are wrong.

  • Comment number 30.

    @29
    and F1
    And cycling, the uk's largest participation sport...

    Can the BBC publish the cost's of all Olympics related spending; staff, tv coverage, website redesign, others?
    Because i'm sick and tired of the BBC wasting money on things most people dont like, want or need...

  • Comment number 31.

    Another gross waste of tax payers money on this money grabbing festival. I just hope all you devotees stick to your word and go to London so my local surf breaks will be emptier. That will be the only benefit we see.

  • Comment number 32.

    Re Track Cycling persuits
    The best coverage I saw was during one of the Olympics where the rather than having the camera covering a closed shot of the start finish lines it split the opposite way and you where able to judge the relevant distances between riders. (Athens coverage?)

    Sometimes I feel producers are not followers of the sport hence you get the boys and their toys type coverage as mentioned earlier

  • Comment number 33.

  • Comment number 34.

    Roger,

    I just hope these extra channels are going to be wall to wall action no talking heads. The track cycling at the Olympic Velodrome was blighted by having to listen Jake Humhprey talk whilst events were taking place behind him. Rather than giving us (the viewer) the best seats in the house we ended up with 'restricted view' ones!

  • Comment number 35.

    Not a fan of the Olympics but i do appreciate how important it is the the city of London and the UK so thats why i support the BBC in its task to broadcast the biggest event in modern times. The BBC sports department will deliver the best coverage of London 2012 thanks to Mr Mosey and the extremely hard working sports department.

  • Comment number 36.

    People do love to moan, people are saying the numbers are extreme, but that is based on what? Unless you are an expert in Sports Broadcasting, how can you have enough knoweldge to say the BBC are sending to many people, i agree in regards to the BBC losing various Contracts for Sport Rights, but that has no connection with the Olympics.

  • Comment number 37.

    @36
    The BBC not renewing rights contracts because they can't afford to is directly related to massive spending on the Olympics. Extreme is clear, 33hours of Olympics (not necessarily the competitions) in 24hours of a day is clearly over the top.

    24hours in 24hours is understandable, letting go the less popular rights is understandable, but not losing the biggest and best events that millions want to keep

  • Comment number 38.

    The Olympic moaners here have had seven years to book a holiday to get themselves out of the country if they hate the event that much. 33 hours a day is nothing - there are roughly 16 hours of live action a day across at least a dozen sports a day, so that's two channels of sport. For us Freeview folk with the very limited red button service it'll go up to around 55 hours - and then the maths gets too complicated when we hit the 24 streams. However for those who really couldn't give a stuff about the games the Olympics will be affecting no more than two regular channels throughout the fortnight - from the BBC, ITV, C4 and C5 alone there are at least 14-15 other options for you to choose from, and who knows even if you're not willing to widen your horizons and be part of the biggest event in British sporting history you may at least learn there is more to TV than The One Show and Holby City.

  • Comment number 39.

    @38. Brekkie wrote:

    "The Olympic moaners here have had seven years to book a holiday to get themselves out of the country if they hate the event that much."

    Brekkie please tell me why you think I should have to leave my own country because YOU think everyone should adore the Olympics.

    "33 hours a day is nothing - there are roughly 16 hours of live action a day across at least a dozen sports a day,"

    True - if you look at it in terms of jow many hours of coverage per sport. But 33 hours per every 24 hours can hardly be viewed as "nothing" - if you're aware of other things in the world except sport.

    "so that's two channels of sport."

    And, even on satellite, that 2 out of 4 channels (if you don't count News & Parliament). Still regard 50% as nothing?

    "For us Freeview folk with the very limited red button service it'll go up to around 55 hours - and then the maths gets too complicated when we hit the 24 streams."

    So we're heading up from 50%! How on earth are you going to watch 40 or 50 hours per day? How will you ever cope?

    "However for those who really couldn't give a stuff about the games the Olympics will be affecting no more than two regular channels throughout the fortnight - from the BBC, ITV, C4 and C5 alone there are at least 14-15 other options for you to choose from"

    But the point is the BBC is funded by all of us - it's a Public Service broadcaster. It's supposed to serve the country - not just the sports nuts.

    "and who knows even if you're not willing to widen your horizons and be part of the biggest event in British sporting history you may at least learn there is more to TV than The One Show and Holby City."

    (I suspect I detect someone who has to endure these two shows and doesn't like it)

    And if you widen your horizons you might realise there's more to TV than sports. As you mention it - how about Horizon? and then there's Panorama / Frozen Planet etc? I don't think I need to "be part of the biggest event in British sporting history" to appreciate the breadth of the programming normally offfered by the BBC.

    BTW - how is me watching a TV picture being part of the event? Were you part of the last Olympics half a world away because you watched the TV?

  • Comment number 40.

    Intresting piece by Barbra Slater on Sport Rights in the Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/apr/26/bbc-chief-commitment-big-events

  • Comment number 41.

    @Think Tank in #39: you and some others seem to be arguing that the Olympics is a minority interest - whereas actually it's one of the biggest events in television.

    For Athens, 45 million people in the UK watched at least 15 minutes of the Games; and the figure for Beijing in a more difficult timezone was 42 million. In 2008, the Olympics gave BBC One its highest all-hours share since 2004; and its highest daytime ratings for 8 years - with Sydney 2000 the previous high.

    @Average_Man in #37: Olympics and World Cups are in the BBC budgets as part of our long-term planning; and the London Olympics are part of a deal that goes back to 2004. The big pressure on our budgets, and a reduction in what we're able to spend on sports rights, was brought about by the recent freeze in the licence fee, and mainly affects the years from now to 2017. But the BBC has recently renewed Wimbledon and the Six Nations, as well as events like the London Marathon.

  • Comment number 42.

    you still dropped F1, which was watched by 4-8million people a week, every week, and which won awards for its quality...
    you also still miss out on the major sports the country currently excels in. Not just on TV but also in the website...
    Sorry but this just annoys me and i try to put in every blog i can...

    Thanks for clearing that up though, really appreciate the feedback

  • Comment number 43.

    @Roger Mosey in 41.

    "@Think Tank in #39: you and some others seem to be arguing that the Olympics is a minority interest - whereas actually it's one of the biggest events in television."

    Roger would you care to clarify? One of the biggest events in television. Worldwide, in the UK or on the BBC? Currently or ever? The number of viewer or market share? For the whole event or at any one time?

    "For Athens, 45 million people in the UK watched at least 15 minutes of the Games;"

    Does this include the Opening & Closing ceromonies?

    15 days @ 33 hours per day on broadcast channels (495 hours) and 32 feeds over 15 days (if 19 hours per day that's 9120 hours) and you think it's worth the money if people watch at least 15 minutes?

    "and the figure for Beijing in a more difficult timezone was 42 million."

    Can we take then that, given the more favourable timezone, it can be regarded as a failure if you don't significantly exceed 42 million? Presumably uplifted to take account the increase in the population?

    "In 2008, the Olympics gave BBC One its highest all-hours share since 2004; and its highest daytime ratings for 8 years - with Sydney 2000 the previous high."

    According to BARB:

    the BBC's top program in 2000 (Sydney) was:
    2 Eastenders 03 Jan 2000 BBC1 18.36
    http://www.barb.co.uk/facts/since1981?year=2000&view=top10

    the BBC's top programs in 2004 (Athens) were:
    1 Euro 2004: England v Portugal 24 Jun 2004 BBC1 20.66
    2 Euro 2004: England v Croatia 21 Jun 2004 BBC1 18.28
    http://www.barb.co.uk/facts/since1981?year=2004&view=top10

    the BBC's top programs in 2008 (Beijing ) were:
    1 Wallace and Gromit: 25 Dec 2008 BBC1 16.15
    A Matter Of Loaf and Death
    http://www.barb.co.uk/facts/since1981?year=2008&view=top10

    So it's unclear how you arrive at your claims. Could you clarify?

  • Comment number 44.

    @Think Tank in #43: what I'm saying is that Olympics (a) reach in total a huge number of people both in the UK - 40m plus - and worldwide; (b) they deliver record market shares every four years; and (c) as it happens, the peak audiences are very high too - so there were 6 individual events in Athens that were watched by 10m or more.

    But there's clearly a difference in viewing patterns between a 30' Wallace and Gromit film and many hours per day of Olympic coverage, where naturally the audience is more evenly spread.

  • Comment number 45.

    @Roger Mosey in #44.

    Roger you say 40m plus in UK and worldwide. The worldwide element is irrelevant surely as we're talking about the BBC coverage (not the Olympics) - unless you sell the UK programs on and thus gain additional viewers (but not market share).

    You also claim record market shares and high peak audiences. While you refer to Athens 2004 there are now detailed figures available for 2004. However there are for 2008.

    The Olympics ran from August 8 to August 24, 2008. Taking the figures from BARB on their website covering the weeks in question it transpires:

    w/e 10 Aug 2008:
    -----------------
    BBC1: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: New Tricks 8,846,000

    BBC2: Olympics entries in top 10: #2 with 2,868,000
    Largest Audience: Dragons' Den 3,737,000

    BBC3: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: Eastenders 1,050,000

    BBC4: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: The Thirties In Colour 609,000


    w/e 17 Aug 2008:
    -----------------
    BBC1: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: Eastenders 8,919,000

    BBC2: Olympics entries in top 10: #3 (2,684,000) and #7 (2,210,000)
    Largest Audience: Dragons' Den 3,734,000

    BBC3: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: Armageddon 999,000

    BBC4: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: Liude On Mars 576,000


    w/e 24 Aug 2008:
    -----------------
    BBC1: Olympics entries in top 10: #9 (6,011,000) and #10 (5,590,000)
    Largest audience: New Tricks 9,364,000

    BBC2: Olympics entries in top 10: #6 (2,629,000) and #9 (2,156,000)
    Largest audience: The Hairy Bakers 3,997,000
    (I suspect this may have been The Hairy Bikers)

    BBC3: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: Eastenders 832,000

    BBC4: No Olympic (or sport) program in the top 10.
    Largest audience: Blood And Guts - A History Of Surgery 513,000

    So it seems the facts counter your position that "they deliver record market shares" and "peak audiences are very high too".

    To repeat:
    Will you be judged by around 45 million?
    Does your 15 minutes include the ceromonies?
    Is it worth it for an average of 15 minutes per person?
    Are you basing your statements on the entire event or any one program?

    "But there's clearly a difference in viewing patterns between a 30' Wallace and Gromit film and many hours per day of Olympic coverage, where naturally the audience is more evenly spread."

    I agree - there is a huge difference in comparing the audience for a single event to that of one spread over manys days. That's why, for comparison, I would like to offer some other figures for a multiday event. BBC F1 2011 had audiences of 5+ million for 19 races - that gives a figure of 95+ million over each - and every - year.

    Sort of puts your 40+ million once every 4 years into the shade. And I'm sure - on a similar basis - other "events" would blow the figures for the Olympics away.

    "it's one of the biggest events in television." - I think not.

  • Comment number 46.

    @Think Tank - so as you say the BBC is funded by all of us, but you have no thought at all that for many people it's things like the Olympics we pay the licence fee for.

    Yes, it's a high concentration in two weeks every 4 years - but BBC1 will air around 250 hours of the London Olympics this year, while EastEnders is on air over 200 hours every year. People who can't stand the Olympics or sport need to realise they don't alone own the BBC - you'll be catered for a good 45+ weeks of the year with the usual mix of BBC programming (52 weeks in non-Olympic, non-World Cup/Euro years).

    And as well as all the alternative viewing options for non-Olympic fans you can always simply just turn off the TV for a fortnight and embrace the Great British Summer.


    On the other topic of the budget - the BBC have had Olympic rights since 1960. They're budgeted for as always and it's the fault of the Tory/Lib Dem Government, not London 2012, that the sports budget is diminishing. The costs of producing the additional streams comes from the OBS, Sky/Virgin are paying to transmit them and all the BBC are having to do is supply additional commentary - probably covered by costs saved from them not having to fly everyone out to an Olympic city elsewhere in the world.


    P.S. Roger - it's my understanding the Olympic flame will be lit in Olympia on May 10th and I thought you'd said the BBC would be covering it, but I see no programme in the schedule.

  • Comment number 47.

    Outstanding post Brekkie, we will get the same missives such as post 45 when Euro 2012 comes around, even though if reports are to be believed the BBC will anchor their Coverage from Manchester ( Roger, is that confirmed?), the Olympics,Euro 2012 and Wimbeldon will be the only Live Sporting events on the BBC for quite a while, yet people still moan, why cannot people just embrace such magnificent occasions and stop being so morbid, major Sporting events bring the masses together, they encourage people to become more healthy, and bring publicity to often overlooked smaller Sports.

  • Comment number 48.

    As a Londoner I'm really excited for the Olympics but also worried about whether I'll be working from home for the whole time its on! Anyway, I thought I'd share this link because its all about travel disruption during the games. http://www.getaheadofthegames.com/travel-in-affected-areas.html  

  • Comment number 49.

    @Brekkie in #46: the lighting of the flame on May 10 will be carried on the BBC News Channel because it's in the morning, but we'll then do a teatime BBC2 programme on May 17 for the handover ceremony in Athens - with a special One Show on May 18 for the arrival in the UK.

    @Think Tank in #45: just to put some facts right - the 40m+ figure is *different* individuals (around 75% of the UK population) who catch some of the Olympics, rather than adding up a number of 5m figures as you've done for F1. And they don't watch for an average of 15 minutes but for a minimum of 15 minutes, with most of them seeing many hours of Olympic action.

    @Fedster in #46: Euro 2012 isn't in my area obviously, but yes I understand it will be presented from BBC Sport's HQ.

  • Comment number 50.

    Roger Mosey@ in 49.

    "@Think Tank in #45: just to put some facts right - the 40m+ figure is *different* individuals (around 75% of the UK population) who catch some of the Olympics, rather than adding up a number of 5m figures as you've done for F1. And they don't watch for an average of 15 minutes but for a minimum of 15 minutes, with most of them seeing many hours of Olympic action."

    Roger - thank you for giving the fuller picture behind you previous statement regarding the figure 40m. It is indeed reassuring that so many of the UK population manage to catch some of the Olympic coverage.

    Could you add more detail such as the whether, in your figures, you include the ceremonies?

    Could you also put some facts right regarding the rankings of previous Olympic coverage and the claims for "record market shares and high peak audiences". Often n these pages people are castigated for making statement without providing the facts to support them. I have supplied the (BARB) facts and have seen no evidence to support any other position - including yours.

    I thank you for clarifying "Are you basing your statements on the entire event or any one program?" in that you are counting all events on all days.

    Could you clarify your expectations viz the number which would indicate success? Is it 45m given the factors making viewing easier?


    @ Brekkie in #46

    I suppose I should count this as progress. Initially you were suggesting that I leave the country, now you're just saying I should turn off my TV for 2 weeks!

    "People who can't stand the Olympics or sport need to realise they don't alone own the BBC".

    And vice-versa. Just because you adore the Olympics doesn't mean you own it either. One of the issues is a matter of balance so that both camps are reasonably content. Given the audience for BBC3 and BBC4 (i.e. practically zero) then why not flood 2.5 channels with Olympics by using BBC3, BBC4 and News?

    "you'll be catered for a good 45+ weeks of the year with the usual mix of BBC programming"

    You presume too much methinks! Merely because I ask the question you have pigeon-holed me as a "never watch Olympics"?

    You assume that "the usual mix of BBC programming" is my panacea for TV? On what basis do you reach these staggering conclusions?

    "you can always simply just turn off the TV for a fortnight and embrace the Great British Summer."

    No - after you - I insist! In fact, why not go and stand by the side of a road in London and wait for the marathon runners to go past?

    "They're budgeted for as always and it's the fault of the Tory/Lib Dem Government, not London 2012, that the sports budget is diminishing"

    Oh come on - surely you can work in as well the Pay Of Celebrities, the cost of Digital Switchover, S4C, World Service and any other pet hate you have.

    "all the BBC are having to do is supply additional commentary - probably covered by costs saved from them not having to fly everyone out to an Olympic city elsewhere in the world."

    (.. you forgot the pundits)

    I would guess you may be right .. depending on the costs of accommodation in the UK vs Beijing etc. But I admit - it's a guess. Although given the way Auntie flys production crews around the world for F1 HIGHLIGHTS maybe overseas travel and accommodation isn't that expensive.


    @ Fedster in 47

    "Outstanding post Brekkie"

    Fedster - hardly outstanding given the assumptions, pet hates & presumptions.

    "we will get the same missives such as post 45 when Euro 2012 comes around"

    You may get similar missives but not the same. For I assure you they won't be from me in relation to the Olympics.

    Also, given Euro 2012 starts 8th June 2012 and the Olympics 27th July 2012, why do you think posts relating to the event starting 7 weeks earlier will start arriving after those for the Olympics?

    Is Euro 2012 going to be covered 33 hours / day (+ 24 live feed channels)? Do you know? Or is it that you are just guessing?

    "the Olympics,Euro 2012 and Wimbeldon will be the only Live Sporting events on the BBC for quite a while, "

    You forgot Queens and The Boat Race.

    "yet people still moan,"

    I think you need to learn the difference between Question and Moan.

    "why cannot people just embrace such magnificent occasions and stop being so morbid, "

    Morbid is an adjective.

    "major Sporting events bring the masses together,"

    But the thrust of your argument seems to be that these events should be on TV so the masses can watch them in their homes - hardly "together".

    "they encourage people to become more healthy," [healthier]

    By sitting in front of a TV?

    "and bring publicity to often overlooked smaller Sports."

    which is so ephemeral that within weeks everyone has forgotten about them and they have to wait for the next Olympics?

  • Comment number 51.

    Think Tank, with respect you just sound extremly bitter, why are the Olympics which are on only for a few weeks troubling you so much? Is it because your favourtie shows will be rescheduled for Sport? What is the issue at the heart of your argument?

  • Comment number 52.

    Fedster,

    Does asking questions concerning the statements issued by various people at the BBC make me bitter? I think not. Does examining statements for accuracy make me bitter and not stringent? No. Have I seen this PR exercise repeatedly offered by the BBC? Yes. Do the BBC actually respond to queries? No.

    Given the constraints the BBC is working within, the one thing the BBC should be is honest in the statements they make. They are (obviously) in the position of having information not in the public domain so any statements they make should at least stand up to scrutiny based upon the information that IS in the public domain.

    Only then we will, the paymasters, be able to judge if the BBC is acting in a manner we (collectively) find acceptable. One of the bedrocks of the relationship between the BBC and the public is trust. That trust is based on honest statements and actions which follow the policies laid out by the Trust. It seems that, too often, the actions of some BBC staff seem to be in conflict with the policies that are supposed to control. This situation should be subject to scrutiny.

    To be honest my "favourite shows" (if they are indeed on the BBC) schedule in August is something I spend no time worrying about - I enjoy a program when it's on and (if part of a series) then I might take notice an episode or two from then end when it might finish (Spooks being an example). When it does I simply look forward to whatever replaces it being of the same quality (and possibly in the same genre).

    So the issue is simple - one that hopefully by now one you had gleaned. If you make a claim of fact that is the basis / justification for an action / non-action then it had better stand up to examination. If you claim something was tested and then, when released, it doesn't work then I think you have some questions to answer and if you run away and refuse then to answer I think critism is well founded.

    So - over to you...

    Having had a quick trawl of your posts they seem to fall broadly unto a grouping that could be called "Gushing with praise for the BBC, dismissive of others' posts and inconsistent"

    BTW - the inconsistentcies?

    "the BBCs Coverage of F1 has been nothing short of fantastic" and

    "Not everyone cares about the f1 deal, alot of people are actually glad that there is less f1 on the BBC.";

    and

    "The BBC should be ashamed, they are the principal rights holders for the olympics yet a relatively small outfit in Eurosport are going to broadcast more of the olympics in 3D, Roger your thoughts, on the BBC being outwitted by Eurosport, it is going to be intresting to see the Daily Mails take on this." and

    "the Olympics,Euro 2012 and Wimbeldon will be the only Live Sporting events on the BBC for quite a while, yet people still moan, why cannot people just embrace such magnificent occasions"

    --------------------------------------

    I would like to make you feel more at home so I include the following for you:


    If you want to moan about someone then bitch away. But people might just think you moan and bitch too much (there I've used both of what seem to be your favourite words - TWICE!):


    At 09:15 21st Apr 2012, GingerTompkins wrote:

    Fed.I was referring to our friend Bernie.You and others have got the wrong end of the stick as usual.Perhaps you should go back to Facebook again if these blogs upset you so and you hate others opinions so much.


    Fedster wrote:
    Hate? I hate nothing in Life, least of all this Blog, it is entertaining reading,especially comments by a certain group, however much you lot moan and groan on this blog (ALOT) you still listen to 5live!!!! Brillant!!!


    GingerTompkins wrote:
    I don't think he is too keen on me either but he does sound very angry most of the time.....!!!!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    The promo for the Olympic torch relay and taster of Elbow's theme tune

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/apr/30/bbc-olympic-themed-promo-elbow

    Loving the music cant wait to hear the full version

  • Comment number 54.

    @marke09 - thanks for that. It's also on our site: bbc.co.uk/2012 and the branding is appearing elsewhere too http://www.facebook.com/bbclondon2012

    Just to add that this is only a short section of the Elbow theme. Much more of it will be revealed nearer the time.

  • Comment number 55.

    @Roger Mosey in #54

    Still with us then Roger? Any chance of more some facts?

  • Comment number 56.

    @Roger Mosey in 49 - the Olympic football draw was in the morning and BBC2 managed a BBC Sport production for that, which in terms of the Olympic movement is a much more minor event than lighting the flame itself.

    Granted the actual lighting of the flame isn't the most exciting television but as it really does symbolise the beginning of the final countdown I'd have thought on this occasion it would warrant more than basic rolling news coverage. There is nothing scheduled on BBC1 or BBC2 which couldn't be sacrificed.

    BTW - loving the promo and the taster of the Elbow theme, though hope we don't all get sick of the theme before you actually use it for the coverage of the games itself.

  • Comment number 57.

    @Think Tank: I've responded a number of times, and my figures are based on BARB too - so we're just going to have to agree to disagree about your view of the importance of the Olympics.

    @Brekkie: delighted you like the Elbow theme. I've now heard it many times - full version - and it's still sounding fresh... On the Flame issue - almost everyone now has the BBC News Channel so the lighting is available on TV as well as radio, and obviously will be seen by more people in later bulletins than live on a weekday morning.

  • Comment number 58.

    57.
    @Roger Mosey

    Interesting .... same figures? Different result ... hmmm.

    I guess you're right, we're just going to have to agree to disagree about your view of the importance of the Olympics.

  • Comment number 59.

    @Roger Mosey

    P.S.

    I take it you won't be addressing:

    Could you add more detail such as the whether, in your figures, you include the ceremonies?

    Could you clarify your expectations viz the number which would indicate success? Is it 45m given the factors making viewing easier?

    ------------------------

    For the sake of transparency would you care to follow my lead and share with us the URLs pointing at your BARB figures? Just so both "interpretations" can be examined?

    In ... Out .... In .... Out .... see - I'm not holding my breath

  • Comment number 60.

    To start with Eurosport will be transmitting 100 hours of 3D from the Olympics which makes the BBC 3D output look rather pathetic. The 24 HD channels is only available satellite and is being paid for by Sky. Super Hi vision will only be generally available to the Japanese and licence payers money should not be spent on things that they cannot benifit from. This experiment is even more insulting to licence payers as the BBC still only has 2 substandard HD channels.

    The olympics is now less about sport and more about making money. The impact on our economy is going to bad. I am a private pilot and will be severely restricted which where I can fly during the Olympics. Many small buisnesses related to aviation will suffer. We now have to prospect of guided missile batteries installed in the middle of London.

    Why do the BBC need so many staff. The pictures are being produced the Olympic Broadcasting Service so the BBC only needs to provide commentry and some interviews.

    You would think by the advertising that the BBC was to only Olympic broadcaster in the UK. Eurosport is providing coverage with less studio chat that the BBC loves to do. As I said Eurosport is the channel of choice for 3D.

    I expect Sky will transmit full 1920x1080 pictures on it's 24 channels when the BBC will still be outputing 1440x1080.

    I have heared no mention of surround sound. The BBC generally has a bad record in providing surround sound.

  • Comment number 61.

    @trevorjharris: well, I'm not responsible for missiles... but just on factual stuff: (1) the 24 HD channels will be available on Sky, Freesat and Virgin - as well as online; and (2) we generate many of our own pictures of Team GB competitors to supplement the OBS output, plus we do all our radio coverage, text commentary etc. As it happens, we'd expect 3D coverage - certainly on the BBC - to be world feed; so you'll be able to see the difference between that and our regular services in what we add for UK viewers.

    @Think Tank: I had a flicker of hope when we agreed to disagree, but in answer to the latest questions (a) yes, ceremonies are included... the opening in Athens was one of the six events that went over the 10m mark; and (b) we'd be disappointed if London 2012 wasn't the most viewed sport event - in terms of the number of hours watched - of the year. This would be in line with Beijing, where our core delivery is set out below by our audience research team based on the BARB figures:

    "The Beijing Games were comfortably the most-watched TV event of the year and number 1 in the chart of sport events in 2008. They helped BBC One achieve its best all-hours performance since Athens 2004 and daytime share was at its highest in at least 8 years... BBC Online also broke all previous records for usage."

  • Comment number 62.

    Roger,

    I note the change of emphasis in your claims in that the Olympics is now a significant SPORT event (something missing from your earlier claims).

    Unfortunately you try to characterise the questions I raise as "the latest questions" - they are only the latest in that I have had to re-ask them as you chose not to respond when they were first poised (#43 00:11 & #54 14:20 28th Apr 2012, 21:36 29th Apr 2012. #50 21:36 29th Apr 2012 and (finally) #59 22:48 30th Apr 2012).

    You say "we'd be disappointed if London 2012 wasn't the most viewed sport event - in terms of the number of hours watched - of the year" - I'd be gobsmacked as, with the measure seeming to be to aggregate all programs into one event, a 15 day "program" should annihilate any "normal" program. Still no figure?

    As I have previously asked: Would you care to follow my lead and share with us the URLs pointing at your BARB figures?

    I note your reply "our core delivery is set out below by our audience research team based on the BARB figures" but I have some bad news for you. Let's do a simple test:

    The BBC has all the money in the world.
    The BBC has all the money in the world.
    The BBC has all the money in the world.

    Nope - seems that merely repeating the same thing over and over doesn't actually change reality.

  • Comment number 63.

    I do not think the Olympics will impress everyone: therefore Roger, will provisions be made for separating the other news for those who don't like the Olympics? Also, can you clarify which channels and/or timeslots will be Olympics-free?

  • Comment number 64.

    @Maroussian: there will be the regular News bulletins every day on BBC One, as well as the BBC News Channel round-the-clock. The current plan is that BBC Two in peak (1900-2200) and BBC Four will be Olympics-free; plus, of course, all the other non-BBC channels now available digitally to most UK viewers.

 

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