BBC reaches agreement with Olympics on overseas ban

Chris Evans Chris Evans' Breakfast Show is broadcasting from the Olympic park for the duration of the games

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The BBC has reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the international streaming of some of its radio shows.

The Today Programme on Radio Four was unavailable to listeners outside the UK on Friday, as it was broadcast from inside the Olympic park.

Overseas listeners can normally tune in live on the internet or on iPlayer.

The IOC, which holds international broadcast rights from Olympic venues, will now allow access to some shows.

Restrictions had been placed on Chris Evans' Breakfast Show as it is being broadcast from the Olympic park in east London for the duration of the games.

However, following discussions between the BBC and the IOC, it has been agreed that there is no need to block international streams of certain shows, including Radio Two's popular breakfast programme.

Olympics coverage online

Olympics images

Radio Four programmes with a wide news agenda will also be free to broadcast to international listeners.

All programmes on Radio Five Live - except the news programme Up All Night - will remain available only in the UK as they will be devoted to the games.

Mark Friend, head of online services for BBC Audio and Music said: "Unfortunately there are some types of content where we are restricted from distributing overseas, usually because of sports rights.

"The impact of this will be very noticeable throughout the Olympic games because the BBC has the rights to broadcast from Olympic venues only to the UK."

In some cases, when only sections of shows are broadcast from an Olympics site, the BBC said it may be possible to block the Olympics segment and make the rest of the programme available to international audiences.

However, programmes featuring substantial amounts of Olympics content will be blocked, as there are not sufficient resources to edit them.

When an entire programme or a shorter segment is unavailable to overseas listeners, they will hear a message informing them of the rights restrictions in place.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Could the BBC not simply ensure that all coverage and even mention of the Olympics is rigorously excluded from radio broadcasts? Not only would foreigners then be able to listen but I might even tune in myself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    This is only what is expected. All international and national sport (eg Premier League Football) is subject to the rules of business. Broadcasting rights is product the BBC has to bid and pay for like anyone else. I live abroad and am constantly amazed at how much radio coverage from the BBC that I do get at no personal cost. If you want to complain, complain to the IOC. They make the rules

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Even in the UK I am trying to avoid BBC coverage of the Olympics, because it is all about Team GB to the exclusion of excellent performances by athletes from other nations, and if there isn't a member of Team GB in an event, forget it.

    For me, the Olympics is all about sporting excellence, not which colour outfit you are wearing when participating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Not having access to Today and PM has been really frustrating - thank you for trying to improve access!

    I don't usually speak up for The Man, But I think NBCs coverage of the sporting events has been excellent. They're showing live coverage on 4 different channels for almost 12 hours a day. Plus I can watch every single sporting event live online. Thank you BBC AND NBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    It seems to me that the BBC has got its reporting of the Games just about right. If they gave it any less coverage, they would get complaints that they were ignoring a major UK event. Any more, and they would be accused of overdoing it.

    And they seem to have less salary absorbers this time than at Beijing.

    But details like this should have been sorted out already, surely?


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