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The countdown to London 2012

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Roger Mosey | 11:44 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010

London 2012 stadiumThe BBC's aim for London 2012  is to bring the whole nation together in a way that combines the best of British values with all the opportunities of digital. 

2012 is going to be a year like no other in the UK. It's not just about sport. There will be one of the biggest ever series of cultural events in Festival 2012 - a chance to showcase our arts and our creativity. Our news media will have one of their busiest periods as the preparations reach a climax and world leaders converge upon London; and for BBC News we'll be maximising our ability to operate globally, nationally and locally - on TV, radio and online. And then on July 27th there will be the Opening Ceremony of the biggest event in the UK in our lifetimes - the Games of the 30th Olympiad.

The Olympic Games are now, alongside the World Cup, one of the two events that bring pretty much the whole world together. It's estimated that around 4 billion people, about three-quarters of the world's population, watched the Games in 2008 in Beijing.

These are events that define their host cities and their times. Visiting Barcelona now you're conscious of its place in Olympic history, and anyone who watched those Games will have had images of modern Spain - and a confident Catalan culture - that still shape their thinking today. London shares that opportunity, with the extra factor of being a city that's home to diversity on a truly global scale.

But where the world has moved on is in the ability of technology to make all our experiences richer, more intense, more immediate and more personal. There will always be a battle for the title of 'the first digital Games' but London has a powerful claim: these will be the first Games for many countries since analogue started being switched off, and they're happening at a time of surging demand for digital media and social networking. Digital delivery will be at record levels.

This will be a showcase for Britain and for technology in general. In London people will expect media whenever and wherever they want it in one of the most connected cities on the planet.

I remember in Beijing going along to one of the swimming finals to find that a few seats along in the crowd was the President of the United States with the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and then a couple of rows behind was Bill Gates. So it's those guys plus a few billion more who will sit in judgement on London.
Our promise is simple: every hour of every sport will be available - which we calculate as being around 5,800 hours. So if you want to spend all day watching the water polo: you'll be able to. Equally, we'll offer the customary service on BBC One that takes viewers to all the key moments from different sports. The choice will be yours not ours. It's worth saying too that this is about better value for money: you will get about 20 times the amount of content compared with ten years ago.

  bbcsportsapp_crop.jpgThrough the events of 2012 we will offer you unprecedented choice and personalisation: you will be able to customise what you see and hear in a way that would have been unthinkable less than a decade ago. But we will also be bringing the UK together to share these massive national moments, so there will be tens of millions together for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics or the 100 metres final or watching the Diamond Jubilee - and the opportunities of how, where and when to enjoy the output will form part of a common experience.

This is exciting because it suggests the gloomier predictions about the digital age are wrong. There are still things that can unite, and audiences are not destined to fragment in a multitude of different ways. The BBC can provide the national meeting place; and seizing the potential of digital allows us to bring people together enabling you to watch, communicate and share and feel part of the same experience. We can also take Britain to the world on our global services and provide the platforms that celebrate the world coming here.

There's a lot to do to make this happen. It's only just over 18 months to the New Year's Eve fireworks that will usher in 2012, But what we're trying to do should be quite simple: stage a set of wonderful events, captured for the largest number of people. At the BBC we're delighted to be at the heart of that, and the pleasure will be greatest if it's shared by as close as possible to 100% of the UK population. It's what you might call a stretching target - but we're determined to do just that.

For much more detail about our technical strategy for 2010, including project Canvas, mobile, 3D and HD and head over to my blog.


Roger Mosey is BBC Director, London 2012



  • Comment number 1.

    Hasn't this blog been posted some two years early?!

    I hope that the BBC isn't going to be blowing its own trumpet for the next two years, all other broadcasters just seem to 'get on with it' only the BBC makes such a song and dance about it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Boilerplated - just to explain: this blog was based on a conference in Cambridge on June 10th which was about the planning for 2012 and the Olympics. There's a lot of engagement with the creative industries about how we do our best for Britain in that year.

    We've always recognised that some people don't want to know more until 2012 itself - and there are others who don't like major sports events at all. But the message coming from our audience research, and from meeting people all over the UK, is that millions DO want to know what's going to be happening and they're excited about what's in prospect.

  • Comment number 3.

    As the BBC is at "the vanguard of openness" could I ask how much the BBC Director for London 2012 is being paid out of our money?

    The sports team will already have a structure in place to cope with big sporting events (I'm not aware of a South Africa 2010 Manager), so is this more evidence of the BBC spending our money very unwisely?

    Actually, I'll amend the request. I'd like to know what the BBC Budget for London 2012 for the current financial year is and how many staff are currently employed within the department.

  • Comment number 4.

    #3. At 4:48pm on 11 Jun 2010, Mike, Wivenhoe wrote:

    "The sports team will already have a structure in place to cope with big sporting events (I'm not aware of a South Africa 2010 Manager), so is this more evidence of the BBC spending our money very unwisely?"

    Whilst I dislike the "BBC self trumpet blowing", actually more the way they go about it, the above is a rather low punch if I may say so, whilst the BBC will have plans in place to cope with sporting or any other type of event the fact remains that broadcasting the Olympic Games are like no other in their technical complexity - it's just a pity that the BBC management seem to prefer to waffle on in management speak using buzz words, hyping up how great the BBC will be "On the Night", rather than write about all those technical problems that need solutions found and actioned between now and 27th July 2012.

    As I implied @ #1, the BBC management hype can wait until 1st June 2012...

  • Comment number 5.

    Mike in #3 - all BBC senior salaries, including mine, are published here:

    The reason we have a dedicated 2012 team is that, as the original post explains, this is about much more than sport. It's also about the Cultural Olympiad and Festival 2012; the Torch relay; ceremonies and news events; and a major set of partnerships across the UK and beyond. But we do, of course, work with existing staff in BBC divisions like Sport, News and in our Nations and Regions. Budgets are not yet finalised, but seeking the best value for money is always a 'given'.

    Boilerplated in #4: thanks, though just on the timing I should add that there will be a lot of activity in the outside world around "Two Years to Go" next month and I'll be reporting on what's planned for that soon on my own blog.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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