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 45.

    If the BBC are not broadcasting commentary, then surely there is no reason why it cannot be broadcast internationally. Certainly for radio listeners the studio could be in Salford, White City or even the Orkney Islands, with the right sound effects nobody would notice the difference, not in the UK or overseas!

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    RIdiculous. I would expect this from China

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    As a BBC World viewer ,I'm astonished at the incompetent coverage of Olympics. Each day we see a BBC studio at the Olympic village, which after the first 3 days has broadcast" the wrong flag" for North Korea , EMPTY SEATS- still pic of "the lady in Red" Indian gate crasher, and 3 failed dope testers, but not single event , not even as yesterday's news

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Talk about censorship...& when did Radio 2 become a "Sports Channel"?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Nice that the new DG of the BBC is marking the ratings today. For those international viewers, the most memorable Olymedia BBCTV broadcast to date showed our esteemed Secretary of State for Culture losing the end of his bell after waggling it around on TV. That's gone viral - enjoy.

  • 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 39.

    Why wasn't this sorted years ago? Why did it only come to light 3 days after the Olympics started?

    Are people in charge really this inept?

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    26 Minutes ago
    We in the USA still have not been able to watch the opening ceremony //

    Then I would say you are very, very, lucky! The press and BBC have been gushing over it - they have a vested interest. But as far as I can tell, a few loved it, most were at best indifferent, quite a few loathed it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Why should BBC radio 4 be available to people outside of the UK anyway, they aren't forced to pay the TV license if they own a TV in their country so why should they benefit by recieving the Beeb's patronising propaganda?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    It's the BBC's responsibility to ensure it has appropriate licenses in place before broadcasting - why is this coming up now? The IOC are not to blame for everything! And why the six o'clock news from the Olympic Park? I love and am totally obsessed by the Olympics but realise that others are not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Is there a reason that the BBC refuses to mention that the IOC refuses to honor the Israeli athletes murdered 40 years ago.

    BTW Romney's right the Brits were not prepared

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    30.The Bloke
    "but find this use of French a bit odd." I agree, after mandarin Spanish is the most frequently spoken language in the world, French is lower than German, Portuguese, Urdu, Japanese etc. So find it very strange.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I cannot believe that the BBC could not have forseen this issue. The incompetent who did should be sacked. Its bad enough for those of us who don't want wall to wall 24/7 sports coverage, but why did the BBC even think it necessary to broadcast non-Olympic programmes from the Olympic Park? Who ever thought that this was a good idea should also be sacked.

  • 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 31.

    Re 23 - Blythespirits

    Agree with you as NBC also cut out the section relating to those who died in London the day after we won the games in July 2007. Replacing that with a celeb interview I find quite appalling. I missed my bus on 7/7 and the rest is history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    40 Minutes ago
    @14 - I've never read the Guardian in my life. I don't read any newspapers actually. I prefer to think for myself.//

    Yet you sheepishly follow the bien-pensant tendency to make daft, knee-jerk remarks about DM readers. Think harder. I speak fluent French and love France, don't read the Mail, but find this use of French a bit odd.

  • Comment number 29.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    BBCTV News moves to Media City - Salford. But broadcasts from Olympic Park which means no proper news, olympic drivel overkill and reduced audiences through IOC policy. Thank goodness for Sky News and its new recruits who transferred from BBC TV News. At least I'm now aware that a martian spaceship landed in Buckingham Palace & the Queen is missing. News BBC ? Hello..................

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Any chance that Chris Evans could be restricted to ONLY broadcasting to the Olympic Park!

    That's a bloody shame

  • 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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