Taking the nation's temperature on 2012
We're entering the final lap. Summer pretty much over; less than 11 months to go; athletes' qualification well under way - and everything is now geared to the big finish. So it's worth another check on how the nation is feeling about London 2012.
The headline is: positive but not yet excited. And I'm basing this on recent surveys by the BBC, and interpretation of them by our audience research team.
To start with the good news for the organisers - most people do think the Olympics will have a favourable effect on the country. The figures are 65% expecting the impact to be positive and 9% believing it will be negative.
Also encouraging is that there aren't massive differences in opinions further away from London. Northern Ireland has always been a leader in enthusiasm for the Games, and the favourability rating there has gone up further in the past couple of years from 53% to 74%. Scotland, previously lagging behind, has moved from 38% shortly after Beijing to 63% now, while Wales has gone from 46% to 65%.
London itself is up from 58% to 69%, and this time it's the south of England which appears to be somewhat tepid - with the South West the only area to score below 60% with a score of 57%.
Some will start to follow 2012 news only once the Games are on. Picture: Getty Images.
But does that general approval mean there's "excitement"? No. People aren't yet dancing in the streets, and only 9% are claiming they're "very excited" about London 2012 with 25% "fairly excited". But 20% say they're "not particularly excited" and 23% say they're "not excited at all".
We'd expect those figures to change as we get closer to the Games, but it's worth noting that 34% of people being excited to some degree equates to around 16 million people - which isn't a negligible number this far out. The people who are most keen are under 55s, people in social groups ABC1 and Londoners.
These kind of read-outs from our main audience research are also reflected in some specific work done for BBC News. Around 30% of the audience say they'll be "following closely" news about the Olympics, while 36% say they've no interest at this stage. The main things the enthusiasts said they did want to hear about were how British athletes are preparing (23%); athletes qualifying (23%); the readiness of the Olympic sites (21%); and the cost of the whole thing (21%). Interest in milestones - like 100 days to go - was very low at only 8%.
So what do all these statistics add up to? It shows, as I've said before, that audiences have radically different attitudes and there will be no pleasing everyone. Millions want to hear a lot about 2012, and millions are quite happy to wait until the Opening Ceremony - with some not even bothered about that.
Partly that can be addressed by targeting what we're doing - focusing on services like 5 Live, BBC Sport's regular slots, BBC London and this website where more enthusiasts will congregate. Partly it's what I've always recognised - that banging the drum too loudly and too early would be a mistake. But this is not something that can be decided by the equivalent of a national phone-in vote.
We know that come Games-time, as with Beijing and Athens and Sydney, the audience levels move massively into the majority - with 75% or more tuning in for some of the action. The research helps us shape the coverage between now and then, as well as focusing on the issues people care most about. But the key thing is making sure we don't let down the people who want to know more now - just as we hear the message that this isn't yet the time for saturation coverage.