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Setting out our ambitions for 2012

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Roger Mosey | 09:02 UK time, Thursday, 26 November 2009

I've never been a particular fan of mission statements because the worst of them have you grinding your teeth at their banality - and there are more bad ones than good ones in the world. But I do believe in being clear about what you're trying to do with a particular enterprise - and being able to define success.

So in the BBC project team we've been kicking around the big things we want to achieve in 2012 - partly to be open with our staff and outside partners about what we're doing, but also to share our aims with audiences. It's particularly important to get across that this is about the story of a year and its aftermath, rather than just 17 days of sporting action - massive though those are.

In time these should become measurable commitments so while they're still provisional we'd be interested to know whether they're what you'd expect us to offer and whether there's anything missing.

There are five main areas:

Brilliant coverage of the London Olympic Games as the biggest sport occasion ever held in this country.
Bringing the UK together around a series of events in 2012 - from the Diamond Jubilee to the Cultural Olympiad and the Torch Relay.
Wide-ranging and expert reporting of the news of the year - globally, nationally and locally.
Driving digital - supporting innovation, and offering an unprecedented amount of choice and personalisation.
Securing a legacy for the UK and for the BBC - through engaging the widest possible range of audiences, encouraging participation and delivering projects with long-term benefits.

Work is progressing well at the 2012 Olympic site at Stratford
Work is progressing well at the 2012 Olympic site in Stratford

To explain each a bit more:

On sport we'd add the Paralympic Games to that objective if we secured the rights. I acknowledge that "brilliant" risks being a self-congratulatory word, so the important thing here is that we'll measure the outcome by what our audiences think. We know that the Beijing coverage was very highly appreciated by viewers and listeners, so the aim is to surpass that in 2012.

The events area underlines that this is about more than sport. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee will be a moment of history - and there are ambitious plans for arts, performance and festivals all through the year. Some will please people who don't like sport at all. Other events, like the Torch Relay, will be key to building up the excitement across the UK ahead of the Olympic Games themselves.

News will be dealing with one of its busiest ever diaries. It's vital our reporting is fair and independent, but also that it captures the scale of what's going on - from the dozens of world leaders attending the Opening Ceremony to the grassroots activity all across the country. Audiences will also expect the inside track on the final budget, the security measures being taken and the complex politics of the Olympics.

It is, of course, the year that analogue television disappears almost completely in the UK -so this will be the biggest digital experience for most people. We know that Olympic Games and other major sports events are a strong reason why people acquire HD, and you may have seen our hopes that we can capture some of the action - if only for the archive - in Super HD and 3D. But other platforms like mobile and wireless devices will have grown massively since Beijing, so we want to offer people a greater right to choose what and how they watch.

Finally, the L word again: legacy. What this boils down to is that success can't be measured in 2012 alone. It won't be difficult for us to get tens of millions of people using our content then. But the real achievement is if we can have longer-lasting impact on the country and in its relationship with public-service broadcasting.

So thoughts are welcome, as ever. If you don't like objectives, don't worry: the main thing is we want you to enjoy what you see and hear in what should be an amazing year.


  • Comment number 1.

    as anti olympics and anti licence fee i'm probably not your target audience.

    trouble with olympics these days you never know if the winner deserved it?

    no doubt it will be done to death as always? with every channel constantly promoting it months in advance so by they time it gets there we are all sick to death of it already?

    or maybe this time it will be different?

  • Comment number 2.

    I can't wait for the winter olympic coverage, particularly the Snowboard X, which was the hit of Turin. Is there Ski X this time?

    The BBC gets plenty of bullets fired it's way over the coverage, but I do think they should help themselves. Too many presenters get to present from tournaments that simply seem like a beano. Why does Nicky Campbell need to present a news show from Beijing, or similarly Simon Mayo present his show from the ICC world cup in the West Indies. You already have plenty of correspondents out there, sending 'names' to do what they do every day in a studio just adds to expense, and accusations of waste. The Beeb, which I think is more than good value, should consider saving money by leaving these presenters back in London...or Salford. If they don't like it...tough.

  • Comment number 3.

    I thought the BBC coverage of the 2012 Beijing Olympics was absolutely brilliant, both online and televised. As a huge supporter of the Olympic games and the Olympic movement as a whole, I feel confident that I got the most out of all on offer from the BBC - the commentary was excellent (In particular the athletics, cycling and swimming), although I didnt overly appreciate Dan Topolski criticising heavily the Estonian M2x in the rowing (especially as they beat Team GB!), the presentation was fantastic (Barker, Irvine, Humphreys all seemed enthusiastic, interviews were high quality as well), and Damon Albarns opening animation to the coverage was top notch. So basically, more of the same please!

    Anyway. Keep the same commentary team, get a catchy theme, and maybe do a series of tv shows leading up to the Games that highlight and follow teams and individuals who are medal prospects (like Olympic Dreams, but weekly in the year starting 2012). I for one would love to see one hour specials about GBs top rowers, cyclists, athletes, swimmers, hockeyists, sailors, etc. I feel that, whilst we know where we're likely to win medals from newspapers and magazines, the general public never seems to see the athletes in a more personal setting. Something like the gold fever documentaries would be awesome.

    Hope this helps, keep up the good work

  • Comment number 4.

    Well, it could be quite a good summer couldn't it?

    1. Euro 2012 - will England be 'in transition' or will the fiery pace and enthusiasm of the current youngsters be moulded into a razor-sharp team of winners?
    2. Will Andy Murray decide that he simply has to 'do the double' in 2012? Or even the treble at the O2???
    3. There must be a chance of a British winner of the F1 grand prix - assuming there's one to cover.
    4. And maybe Sea the Stars' and Zenyatta's offspring will storm the 2yr old trials like never before?
    5. Any chance of starting Le Tour with a race around Olympic Park and London?? Have a fun day for amateurs in the morning - Boris can show his kids how fast he can pedalo his way around the capital's streets, eh?? Marvellous test run for the Park prior to the big show, eh??

    Those goals look pretty reasonable - almost sounds like Boris 'n' Dave are saying you won't be going to Rio unless you do a bloody good job! Quite right too.....

    Selling public service broadcasting. It's right you should have to, it's not right for foreign private monopolies to tell the British people that they can't make their own minds up about it. If someone's going to tell you lot to sod off, then it's the UK electorate, not the satellites above.....

    One tip: probably not a good idea to ask SAF to host a garden party for all the BBC bods relocating to Salford. Not unless you bring the food, clear up the mess afterwards and mow his grass for him as well. He's supposed to be spending quality time with his domestic boss you see, not disturbing the neighbours by having his garden relaxation disturbed by a bunch of cheeky southern interlopers, you know......

  • Comment number 5.

    Would 2012 be the appropriate time for the BBC Sports department to finally open up their fabulous archive to the general public?
    Personally i cannot think of a greater legacy than for the BBC to free it's nonpareil historical footage for the consumption of sports fans and ex-competitors to enjoy again events that we only got to see once in the bad old days before videotape and digital TV.

  • Comment number 6.


    While I appreciate that the Olympics will be a big part of 2012, I seriously hope that the BBC will not whitewash us with Olympic programmes. There are other things in the world that are going on apart from the Olympics - I'm certain viewers in Wales, Scotland or Northern Island may not wish to be 'bombarded' with Olympic content. I don't think it'd be right either to have a lot of content - in my view, let the publicity drive itself - you don't need to show dozens of adverts for it like Beijing, it'd serve no purpose as the public will already know about the games.

    Also a question: Is the 2012 budget coming out of BBC Sport's overall budget? If so, will it be eating into other programmes budget and airtime for 2012? I fear that as a result Wimbledon and Formula 1's airtime may find themselves massively reduced, particularly the latter, as the budget has disappeared. I hope you don't 'squash' other sports down to occupy the Games.

  • Comment number 7.

    Roger, its sound fantastic.
    The 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic games will be the jewel in the Crown for the BBC in 2012.
    I echo comments in Post 6 - we dont want to be whitewashed with Olympic Programming in 2012.
    Olympic Programming during the Games would be better and years leading up to 2012 but not from January 2012 to August 2012
    I also want to know who is paying for the 2012 Coverage?
    Do the BBC hold the rights?
    Can they sell the rights for profit? Do the IOC decide or has it been decided? Will the BBC move Swimming for NBC? Do NBC hold Swimming Rights?
    Will it hurt the Sport Budget of the BBC?

    But not doubt that Her Majesty will be proud to open the 30th Olympiad which strangely lands on her Diamond Jubilee and she will be the oldest reigining Monarch of the United Kingdom.

    (Oh and this time a better titles and music for the Coverage in 2012, 2008's Monkey was about bringing Back the Grandstand Theme Tume for the 2012 Olympics for old times sake?)

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks for the comments. Trying to pick up the main points:

    Jauntycyclist in #1: I think the difference in 2012 is that there are so many different big events that there'll be plenty of variety both in what audiences can choose to watch and in how we promote it.

    Bluehaggis in #2: What we aim to do is offer first-hand reporting. We want our viewers and listeners to feel like they're there, and that's often achieved better by having presenters on location rather than in a studio. But we keep a keen eye on costs because budgets are finite.

    JMH in #3: kind words much appreciated. There'll be lots of build-up around the competitors: Olympic Dreams reappears on BBC One in 2010 and we have hopes of a global version too. Then nearer the time we'll have guides to all the sports as well as practical information about how to enjoy them in London 2012.

    Rjaggar in #4: spot on about public service broadcasting, I reckon.

    George Matthews in #5: good idea and we're thinking on those lines. However, there are rights issues - some of our events can't be put online - and we also have a major digitisation project to get underway. But fingers crossed...

    D_M_N in #6: there will be a balance to be struck between people who want build-up (like JMH) and people who don't. We're going to concentrate on landmark programmes and events, so it won't be just about volume; and there will be non-Olympic zones across some of our services. But worth saying that all the tracking research shows that levels of interest are very high in (for instance) Northern Ireland, and as I go round the country I find plenty of enthusiasm well away from London.

    Not sure why you think the F1 budget is disappearing, because it isn't. And BBC Sport is funded for major events like World Cups and Olympic Games, so their budget is higher in big years like 2010 and 2012 than in 2011 or 2013. Wimbledon will still be a jewel in the crown in 2012 - and we will, of course, have the added bonus of Olympic tennis from SW19 too.

    FoxesofNuneaton in #7: yes, the BBC hold Olympic rights for tv, radio, broadband, mobile and on-demand within the UK. We're not anticipating any problems with our friends from NBC, and the swimming will revert to its normal place in the schedule with finals in the evening peak schedule.

    But while we agree about it all being fantastic - and a moment of royal history - we're going to have to disagree about Monkey. And sorry to disappoint you but there's no chance of us going retro for a theme tune: it will be something that captures the spirit of 2012, not the 1970s...

  • Comment number 9.

    Probably worded that wrong, I didn't mean 'disappearing', I meant 'reduced' as a result of the 2012 Olympics (same goes for budget reduction for other sports).

    After all, the money has got to come from somewhere, doesn't it? I presume if the 2012 Olympics will have more money compared to 2008, then that money has to come from somewhere...

  • Comment number 10.

    Mr Mosey, your comments about the Grandstand theme tune is harsh.
    The tune was used for the 1980 Moscow Olympics and since that its been rejigged for many years until its untimely 'retirement' in 2006, a new version could be rejigged for the 2012 Olympics.
    On the Monkey Issue, it was dreadful, what did the Monkey have to do with the 2008 Olympics?
    Nothing in my mind, why couldnt something has dramatic as the opneing titles for the 2000 Olympics be used or the capture of the 2004 titles?
    Instead, we got a Cartoon Monkey..I bet the other Broadcasters didnt do that.
    Also moving on, will the 2012 Paralympics be covered in as detail as the Olympics, after the coverage we were given of the 2008 Paralympics, will it be covered in better detail with the BBC holding the rights?
    As for coverage, can the BBC not try the 3D route of the 'SUPER' HD Version route?
    If we can just watch it in HD or SD and in various ways such as TV, Radio, Mobile, Broadband and such, I and many people will be happy, just dont go around splashing cash on what looks like to be a fantasy for years after 2012 like 3D Coverage and 'SUPER' HD.

  • Comment number 11.

    The BBC cannot broadcast HD right, so I'd gratefully request you forget about 3D or Super HD and concentrate your resources on fixing HD in time for the games.

    Roger - Have you read the 1,000's of complaints on the BBC HD blog about picture quality over the past 4 months?

  • Comment number 12.

    D_M_N in #9: it's a good question. But Olympics, like World Cups, are known events that we can plan for. So in setting long-term budgets within the BBC, we factor in the extra costs for sport and events around the major landmarks. The overall BBC income from the licence fee remains the same, of course; but the expenditure on the Olympics can be balanced by savings elsewhere. For instance, BBC One won't need to spend anything else on its peak schedule on July 27th 2012 because the whole evening will be taken up by the Opening Ceremony.

    #10: I'd spotted Foxes don't like Monkey. The explanation of how that came about is in a very good blog by my colleague Ollie Williams:

    My point about 2012 is simply that these are designed to be Olympic Games for the 21st century and reflecting modern Britain. So we'd want our titles and music to capture that spirit.

    But I understand the point you and digitalscoobiedoo in #11 are making about innovation. (If you haven't followed the HD debate, you can find it here:

    What we're planning is pretty straightforward:
    *As much of London 2012 as possible in HD
    *Super HD will be a very small scale experiment - just to show the technical capabilities - and will not be available via a domestic TV
    *Similarly with 3D: I've simply said it would be a shame not to at least capture some of the action in 3D for the archive.

    There are two points here: (1) we want London 2012 to support technical innovation and drive the new digital era; and (2) we want to "future-proof" some of the content so that it can be viewed by audiences when the new technologies have become mainstream. Best example of what I mean by this is the World Cup Final in 1966 was only covered by television in black and white - even though colour television technology existed and coverage began at Wimbledon in 1967, only a year later. So we don't want London to miss out on innovation.

  • Comment number 13.


    I have a number of comments regarding the BBC coverage of the major sporting events. I am a huge fan of the major events and always find the BBCs theme tunes of great importance when remembering an event afterwards, eg Nessun Dorma for Italia 90.

    1. Just before the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, I e-mailed the BBC editor of the Winter Olympics coverage and asked for a specific theme tune for the Winter Olympics, in line with Summer Olympics, World Cup etc. I was told it was a great idea and to "watch this space", but we still ended up with the Ski Sunday theme! Although to be fair you closed programmes with the fantastic Andrea Boccelli theme instead. Is there any chance we can have a new theme for Vancouver 2010 rather than Ski Sunday. You mention above when somebody mentioned about the Grandstand theme being used for 2012 as it was inappropriate as you wanted something for 2012 and not the 1970s. So how about something for 2010 and not the 1970s too?

    2. Any news yet on the theme tunes for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games next year?

    3. Is there any chance of getting the BBC sport interactive streams added to the Sky+ and Sky+ HD guides in order that I can record my favourite sports through the night for the Winter Olympics coverage. It seems such a shame that all of these multiscreens exist and I cannot record them, and will have to record the main BBC coverage instead which then has more chat than I like. I just want to see the action. Can the BBC get this added in the same way Sky has for Football First where you can record highlights of the game of your choice.

    4. For the 2012 Olympics, are there any plans to have more than one HD channel available. I have HD at present and obviously prefer to watch my events in HD, but again it is a shame that there are lots of events on multiscreen that I can watch but with a picture that isn't as sharp. It would be great if you could watch a number of events in HD in 2012.

    5. Can we have a feature on the World Cup mascot at the draw ceremony on Friday please. He is a lovely leopard called Zakumi.



  • Comment number 14.

    Benelucky - I think Eurosport will be covering the 2010 Olympic Games as well and they will probably be covering most of it in HD as well.
    I also agree on the key point you raised, Its about time the Ski Sunday Tune was dropped from the BBC's Winter Olympic Games Coverage.
    As much as I love the tune, it should be consigned to a Sunday Afternoon programme.
    If 2012 is to start a better 21st century look to the Olympics coverage on the BBC, maybe its time to do the same like you did with the Grandstand theme and drop Ski Sunday's Tune from the Main Coverage...if its back on for Vancover 2010...then Grandstand's iconic tune should be reinstated? Its only fair if one is still on, the other should live on?

    Again I will ask the question which was missed on my orginal post...what about the Paralympics?
    Will 3D, SUPER HD and HD coverage be brought to the Paralympics, we got non-exsistent HD Coverage for the Beijing Games but will HD be accesible for the Paralympics as well as the Olympics?
    Will both events get the same airtime? The Olympics is great but we do want to see the Paralympics more then the neglect shown to them by Athens and Beijing in terms of TV Coverage, only Sydney covered it in some depth so the BBC should set a benchmark and making sure both are fairly covered in the same way and TV Coverage.
    Can you confirm that you will look into Fair Coverage of both the Olympics and Paralympics come 2012 Roger?

  • Comment number 15.

    Roger, You used The Chain for Formula 1, and that has proved that there is nothing wrong with using a signature tune with some historical significance.

    Brilliant Formula 1 coverage this year. The whole team were great and the quality was top class. Anything new to look forward to for next year?

    Best of luck for the Olympics. I think the whole thing is a waste of money, but as we've got it I'm sure, and hope that the BBC will do a great job.

  • Comment number 16.

    Beneluck in #13: a lot of this is territory for the teams in BBC Sport. I know senior colleagues there read this blog, so I'm sure they'll take account of what you say. An answer on HD specifically will follow.

    Foxes in #14: I'd refer you to my earlier blog on the Paralympics, which explains the rights position:

    And GFasulo in #15: you're right about some sig tunes having historical significance, which is why as director of sport I never tampered with Sports Report or Match Of The Day and I was a big supporter of the return of The Chain. But not ALL our music can be about heritage, and for big set pieces like Beijing and London I like it to capture the spirit of the times.

  • Comment number 17.

    i think that the team sports (football, basketball, rugby etc) should get better coverage, and with the basketball in particular i'd like to see and end to the 'multisport commentator' who ruins the enjoyment for anyone with any knowledge of the game by constantly re-explaining the rules in a bemused voice.

    in fact, the main problem with the coverage is the BBC not listening to it's audience, or including them.

  • Comment number 18.

    Good point Roger. Best of luck for 2012.

  • Comment number 19.

    Might make sense as Head of BBC HD if I respond directly to the point raised by benelucky (post 13).
    I would hope/expect that by 2012 the BBC will have 2 HD channels up and running, and would also expect that over the period of the Olympics, and Paralympics, they will be pretty much dedicated to coverage of events. Although it is still very much under discussion, I would also expect a significant HD on-demand offer since a very substantial amount of the action will be captured in HD. It goes without saying that we are all very committed to making sure that as much as possible of the HD view of London 2012 is available in as many ways as possible to everyone who would like to see it with the added detail.

  • Comment number 20.

    Roger and Daniel - what were your expenses last financial year?

  • Comment number 21.

    Captainlazytim in #20 - the BBC senior pay and expenses information is posted here:

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks Roger, would you fancy talking about them for a few minutes, maybe next week? Do you know if others might? For transparency.

  • Comment number 23.

    Roger, your link was a good read but didnt answer the few points of my question.
    It was clear that the BBC, should they cover the Paralympics would use the same Presenter Line up but no mention of if the Paralympics would be covered in HD or Super HD or 3D like your Goal for the Olympics.

  • Comment number 24.

    Forget "Super HD" and "3D", what the BBC must do is provide Freeview viewers with a more than adequate interactive service so we can watch the games as we want to see them.

    With digital switchover I always assumed by 2012 the interactive service would be closer to what Sky has offered for years, but as things stand now it looks like we could only get one extra stream, which is far from satisfactory. If given the choice, I'm sure most sports fans would prefer the option of multiple SD feeds over one HD feed.

    Also don't be ashamed of the Olympics - with Beijing there was great reluctance to have events on both BBC1 and BBC2, but with London where key events clash (such as swimming and athletics for a few days) their must be scheduled coverage on both channels. Stuff those who object - there's BBC3, BBC4 and every commercial channel to cater for them for two weeks - let nothing get in the way of the greatest sporting event to hit this country ever.

    So that also means dropping EastEnders for the Olympic fortnight - none of this sticking it whereever it fits in the schedules, which not only annoys fans of the soap (due to irregular start times), but is mightedly annoying for viewers having to switch to BBC2 for half an hour just so BBC1 can air a programme that wouldn't lose anything by taking a fortnight off.

  • Comment number 25.

    Foxes in #23: I can't comment, unfortunately, while the rights process is active. But we're proud of our commitment to Paralympic sport over the years.

    Brekkie in #24: all points noted, and our hope is that Project Canvas - bringing together Freeview with the power of the internet - will solve many of the issues you mention as well as offering a massive extension of choice.

    We won't be making our channel strategy known until much, much closer to the time - but I'd say that our colleagues in BBC Vision have some really exciting ideas how we'll maximise the impact of the Olympics.

  • Comment number 26.

    Unfortunately Roger broadband speeds for many people are not as fast as BT and the ISPs would like us to believe, so although Project Canvas would be useful for providing additional feeds (and especially looped content such as the days headlines), it's no substitute for a television stream.


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