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The 2012 broadcast balancing act

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Roger Mosey | 11:38 UK time, Monday, 15 August 2011

I was surprised to read newspaper stories a couple of weeks ago that a BBC executive was "admitting" Olympic coverage would dominate every service next summer. I was even more surprised to see that the person alleged to have said this was me.

That's because I've always tried to be clear that we want to do two things. Yes, we want to do justice to the biggest sporting event on the planet and to the story of 2012 as a truly exceptional year.

But we also want to make sure that we don't remove other people's favourite programmes and that there are sanctuaries for people who don't want to go Olympic-crazy.

It's the usual point about balance in all things.

Today there's a set of announcements by the BBC Trust about how we intend to achieve that. And they reflect how we're helped by the expansion of digital services that allow us to offer more choice for everyone: the Olympics in greater depth than ever before, but the preservation of non-Olympic zones too.

The sun seen behind the Olympic Stadium at London's Olympic Park

Coverage will bring viewers close to the Games from dawn until dusk. Picture: Getty Images.

There are three key steps that have been approved by the Trust.

1. We will extend BBC Three's hours during the Games so that it can offer a daytime sport service alongside our earlier decision that BBC Three would be one of the channels carrying Olympic coverage in peak.

This means that for the key moments from the start of the morning sessions onwards we will have both BBC One and BBC Three in play as flagship services delivering the best live action.

This is being achieved partly by using the BBC Parliament bandwidth as we did in Beijing, but making it easier to find by putting it under the BBC Three banner rather than as an additional red button stream.

2. Radio 5 Live will add another digital service, again as a temporary measure during the Games.

This means it can deliver its customary mix on 5 Live but also in-depth coverage on DAB alongside the regular 5 Live Sports Extra - which will be able to maintain its commitment to cricket and other non-Olympic action.

3. As part of our commitment to bringing you live Olympic sport from every venue from first thing in the morning to last thing at night, the Trust has agreed to a temporary expansion of our video online hours - recognising that some sports will be accessed principally via our website.

What this adds up to, we believe, is something that will greatly add to the enjoyment we can offer to sports fans. This is building towards our most ambitious Games-time service ever, recognising our role as the host nation broadcaster in 2012.

But it also means significant areas of the schedule - like BBC Two peak and BBC Four or our other network radio services - will not be over-run by athletes, and they can focus on what they do best including some of the Cultural Olympiad.

Now that the Trust has approved the management plans, we can sharpen the day-by-day planning - and we'll report back here in the coming months on the detail.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Sounds very sensible, but on Freeview there is still going to be one less red button stream than at Beijing after the scrapping of the 302 channel service. So even with the increased BBC Three coverage (a simple swap of the BBC Parliament frequency, one assumes from the above), it will still be fewer channels on Freeview. Am I right in the assumption?

  • Comment number 2.

    Agree seams sensible use of bandwidth etc.

    BUT I hope that BBC2 becomes a mix of BBC1 and 2 rather than staying as BBC2 to ensure that people can still watch their favourites like East Enders, Holby etc AND that some attractive and new programmes are also offered.

    Equally that there are absolutly NO sport related programmes (e.g. films / documentaries) shown on BBC2.

  • Comment number 3.

    As you mention other non-olympic sports, what is going to happen to coverage of Formula One race(s) that are no doubt going to be scheduled during the Olympics.

    I know that the F1 calendar has yet to be finalised, so which races are unknown, however it is more than likely to be the European GPs of Germany and Hungary.

    Is the BBC purposely going to agree with Sky that they can have those races. So that Jake Humphrey can go and be the anchor for the Olympic coverage, without worrying about the BBC F1 coverage.

    If this is case, what will happen with the delayed full race transmission/extended highlights of the races, will they end up being shown ridiculous late in the evening when Olympic coverage has ended.

  • Comment number 4.

    @Helikaon, I note that F1 has a 3-week break during the summer, which is more than likely to coincide with the Olympics.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course the LONDON olypics will dominate everything because every body has to pay in some way. If you don't want to see the over paid, by the taxpayer, so called athletes of the UK waste even more money then tough the BBC never recognises that they fail miserably to give anything but sport priority. Everybody must pay for thier self centred stupidity with regard to sport they are after all in charge of the planets TV. (Actually its Murdoch and Sky because they can charge whatever they like)

  • Comment number 6.

    I think it's a disgrace that the beeb has flogged half the F1 races to Sky because it 'can't afford' to show them (despite the original contract running to the end of 2013) but is pressing ahead with blanket coverage of the Olympics. F1 holds far more global interest as a sport than a bunch of people running, jumping and chucking things for a fortnight.

    The beeb basically lied - they can afford F1 but they decided to spend the money on blanket coverage of the Olympics that nobody's interested in in the first place. I, like many Londoners, will be fleeing the city for two weeks - and being forced to do so rather than out of choice - to avoid the chaos, boredom and fake obsession with the 2012 circus. The BBC is a publically funded service and MUST NOT assume it knows what the people want without consultation.

    I guarantee that if the beeb asked the licence payers how much Olympic coverage they wanted, the answer would be somewhere in the order of a one hour highlights show each evening on BBC3.

  • Comment number 7.

    Can we please give the F1 issue a rest ! This is an Olympic Blog. People continually hijacking other threads is not getting you any sympathy !

  • Comment number 8.

    @bigoll: You say "they decided to spend the money on blanket coverage of the Olympics that nobody's interested in in the first place" - I'm interested in the Olympics and F1. As such I've just proved your statement incorrect and wrong.

    @Helikaon & @ChrisRamsbottom: the F1 summer break normally is in August (this year 4 weeks from the first and last weekend in August). The Olympic Games are scheduled from 27th July for two weeks, so I agree with the contention that probably one GP will fall within the three weekends of the Olympic Games (in Beijing, the Closing Ceremony was the same weekend as the European GP in Valencia).

  • Comment number 9.

    Bigoll - the fact that the ticket aplication was hugely over supplied suggests that people are interested in the Olympics

    Stop being so miserable and enjoy the moment!

  • Comment number 10.

    I would like to see all Olympic stuff to be moved onto BBC Three and Four so that regular programs on BBC 1 and 2 can continue as usual.

  • Comment number 11.

    @magnificentpolarbear I don't think we can give the F1 issue a rest. If the loss of full F1 FTA coverage is as a result of the huge expenditure on the Olympics, which is a one-off event, then I think it needs some discussion.

    Formula One is the pinnacle of automotive engineering, and is almost exclusively British in terms of the designers and engineers. It's vital to the UK economy, both in literal terms and as a figurehead for engineering and science education. But the BBC don't think it's important enough to cover in full. A real shame.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why, Oh Why in these days of multiple digital channels, most of whom including BBC3 and 4 struggle to fill the time are there not several dedicated Sport channels. Then there would be no argument about interfereing with non-sport programmes and the sport lovers could have wall to wall sport 24 hours per day.

  • Comment number 13.

    Bigoll, if you don't want to be interested in the Olympics then that's up to you, but how dare you try to speak for the rest of us at the same time as trying to tell the BBC not to, I can guarantee you don't speak for me as I am most certainly looking forward to the Olympics and my only real complaint is the same one I've had for a couple of years, the removal of baseball from next years games.

  • Comment number 14.

    And what about all us people who have no interest in the Olympics and wish to watch the regular programmes rather than all this rubbish? Or are we goign to have the BBC switching schedules at the last minute for sport which of course means that recordings do not happen?

  • Comment number 15.

    @ChrisRamsbottom: According to the provisional calendar released by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in June, with the Olympics running from the 27 July to 12 August 2012, the German GP will be on the 29 July and the Hungarian GP on the 5 August, then followed by the 3 week break you mentioned. But this is subject to final approval, but I doubt these races will be altered.

    @magnificentpolarbear: F1 is the third most televised event (therefore most watched competition, as it occurs every year instead of four) in the world, coming behind the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.

  • Comment number 16.


    There are? Sky sports 1-3 spring to mind...

  • Comment number 17.

    Lets all face it, the beeb are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. People complain about too much sport on the bbc, that there is no value from the licence fee ...and then complain when the beeb decides to let some of the F1 rights go due to costs. It's very similar to the MOTD saga a few years ago.

    It's also a pity that people who are so vehemently against sport being shown on the bbc, utilises the BBC Sport website, it's reports, blogs, news and it's message board facility to bang on about how bad it all is. If you don't like it, don't use it. Your a hypocrite.
    Quite frankly I find the BBC good value for money, i'm a massive sports fan. Trust me there is not too much sport on the bbc, possibly not enough, but the balance is pretty reasonable if you look at it rationally. If you don't believe me, try staying up until 1030pm on a saturday night to watch Eastenders, Holby or Contryfile (or getting up for a 730am repeat on sunday morning)... don't fancy that? Then I guess the football fans of MOTD will just have to keep occupying that slice of the television schedule.

  • Comment number 18.

    It's all well and good the Olympics being accessible in goodnesss knows how much Multi-media (Facebook, Twitter, texts etc) but why doesn't the BBC stick to its knitting and increase the excellent coverage on radio and stop being all things to all men! The recent TMS cricket and 5 Live (I wish they'd stop mentioning the channel name every 2 minutes!) football commentaries have been superb and are available to all, and less costly too!

  • Comment number 19.

    all very well, but will we actually see the competititors, or will it be a select few events like the 100 metres, while the rest of the action takes place in the background as the cameras concentrate on the "pundits" pontificating in the foreground as happened in the last olympics and most of current bbc athletics coverage?

  • Comment number 20.

    The BBC is (and will always be) damned if they do, and damned if they don't. All I hear on these blogs is "They spent more than 30 quid securing the rights to such-and-such - SHAME!" or "Why have Sky got half of the F1 - Cheapskates!".

    Quality does cost. So do you want a quality broadcaster, which is the envy of the world? Or would you like the next World Cup on Dave, presented by Peter Andre? Thought so.

  • Comment number 21.

    Coming on the BBC Sport website to complain about sport being shown on TV? I seriously hope you guys don't do this.

  • Comment number 22.

    Lee Grant, have you just not read the article. It explains clearly how the beeb are planning to still going to transmit huge amounts of non sporting TV and radio.

    The coverage sounds excellent to me. Looking forward to 3 weeks of more or less constant sport for me. Can't wait!

  • Comment number 23.

    I think the important bit will be to make sure that the main shows, like Eastenders, Holby, Pointless, Doctors, Kids stuff stay on BBC1 in their normal times. Why shove those shows onto BBC2 when there is no reason to do so.
    I'd rather seen BBC2 dominated byt he games and let BBC1 be the 'Olympics-lite' channel with a mixture of BBC1 and BBC2 programming.

  • Comment number 24.

    This time next year it will all be over and we'll be counting the total waste of public money and resources that it has been. Don't throw good money after bad, cancel this fiasco NOW.

  • Comment number 25.

    So apparently the BBC will be offering a haven to people not interested in the Olympics. Could they start this now? Every news broadcast, particularly in London, features stories stuffing the Olympics down our throats - talking to friends and colleagues most couldn't give a stuff about it and like another poster said will be fleeing the country to escape the nonsense imposed by the BBC.

  • Comment number 26.

    Re: 14 (Lee Grant).

    It's for two weeks, you'll survive.

  • Comment number 27.

    Coverage sounds great but you know, if it came down to it (and looks like it did), rather have F1...

  • Comment number 28.

    I am a big F1 fan, the reality is that there may not have been any F1 on the BBC after the 2013 deal ended. What the BBC has done is to guarentee that we get to see our home race and several others throughout the next few years. Considering we don't get any Premier League football on British TV for free anymore I think we should be grateful that we will at least get to watch half the races for the next few years without giving Murdoch £80 a month.

    In regards to the olympics, IT'S THE OLYMPICS! it's only every 4 years and we're hosting it! It should be on every channel and it should be on as much as possible. I'm sure you can live without predictable soaps and The One Show for 2 weeks.

    Just make sure Top GEar is still on every Sunday!

  • Comment number 29.

    Top Villan, Karlarella, m-wilson. Couldn't agree more, glad there are some common sense, reasonable people with a valid opinion left in the world! top marks :)

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm with Zorba (24). I couldn't care less about the olympics. As for the next world cup on Dave, great idea - I couldn't care less about that either.

  • Comment number 31.

    I just hope that we will see the Olympic Games in all their glory, the best performers in each sport... and not a narrow focussing on British competitors. If you happen to like a sport in which Britain doesn't do too well, it was impossible to follow it through the Beijing games as it just didn't get covered. Am I the only one who wants to see excellent performance without giving a monkey's what colour vest is being worn?

  • Comment number 32.

    Key for me will be as much coverage as possible in HD.

    Will the BBC HD channel provide significant Olympics coverage? I hope so.

    BBC HD coverage of the 2008 Olympics was one of the major things that helped launch HDTV, and we all know how spectacular that coverage looked.

    I don't want to see the major events on BBC3 or low quality webstreams. I want to see it in the highest quality available.

    I hope their might be some 3D coverage as was done with Wimbledon recently. Any comment on that?

  • Comment number 33.

    You haven't mentioned the HD channels. With BBC One HD carrying a good chunk of the Olympics coverage, will BBC HD be a relatively Olympics-free zone, and continue to be BBC-Two-HD-just-about?

    Or will BBC HD start carrying a lot of the Olympics content that's also being shown on BBC Three?

  • Comment number 34.

    seems pretty sensible. ah umny interested in the lundun olympics but know many are. if we can both huv oor ain tele n radio well brillyint.

  • Comment number 35.

    I haven't watched any Olympics since they were held in Barcelona in 1992. And I won't be watching the Olympics next year - even if it is held in the UK.

    I feel the BBC have gone overboard on the Olympics and I also disagree with their monopoly on the games. Why couldn't ITV , Channel 4 and Channel 5 have been allowed to help share the broadcasting.

    Sure the BBC are even in partnership with Sky these days so the broadcast could even have been shared with them. Although the BBC would only be able to show the first half of the 100 m.

    This blog reads more like how to blow your own trumpet.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm sorry Joe blogs, but why on earth would the BBC share the single biggest sporting event of the year with their competitors? Lets face it the F1 is a bad example because when it comes to sport Sky and the BBC are in two completely different leagues, but ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are all free-to-air providers and it would therefore be completely stupid for the BBC to share if they can avoid it, which apparently, they can.

  • Comment number 37.

    Roger, as Ben Gallop is back from holiday today can you please ask him to re-open his blog, so that the 8,500 comments RE the Formula 1 can be answered, and we can keep the Formula 1 discussion in the relevant place.

    I'm sorry to those who think F1 fans are hijacking irrelevent threads, but the BBC have CLOSED the relevant thread without responding to the outcry.

  • Comment number 38.

    Can't believe people are grumbling about how we're spending money on the Olympics. It's going to happen once, maybe twice in your lifetime, stop moaning.

    I don't watch EastEnders and I'm sure that occupies more time on BBC One over four years (130 hours a year not including the omnibus) than the Olympics will but I don't go on blogs relating to it and complain.

    Still, the best solution is to have a separate BBC Sport channel so the non-sport schedules can continue as normal without sports fans having to resort to solely online coverage, which would require more bandwidth than I and probably many other fans have got. Using BBC Three in the daytime is effectively doing this, and could be used in the future as the main broadcast channel rather than just overflow perhaps?

  • Comment number 39.

    @ Roger Mosey

    Could you also share with us, the licence fee payer, what the BBC's expected audience figures are for this sporting event.

    Previous Olympic games have failed miserably to come close to the viewing figures needed to make the be valued as successful.

    Here is the breakdown for the Olympic games in China:
    Olympics 2008 Cost per Viewer Hour = Miss
    Olympics 2008 Actual Reach 42% = Miss
    Olympics 2008 live Rating = Miss

    Do you think the London Olympics will fare any better? Considering the amount of money the BBC will be throwing (away) at it you'd like to think so.

    So when will the BBC release their predicted viewing figures and associated costs? I am very interested to see the breakdown per licence fee payer.

  • Comment number 40.

    The boring spectacle of watching people running/cycling/swiming round and round is only just surpassed by the supreme tedium of cars going round and round!

  • Comment number 41.

    Remember that next year only half of the F1 races will be televised unless you are rich enough, and I do hope that the BBC remember that although a lot of people are not sports fans it does not mean that the only programming they enjoy is wall to wall soap operas (or in my case any soap operas) and show a reasonable mix of soaps for those who like them and documentaries sit coms etc

  • Comment number 42.

    Re: Number 12 AnotherEngineer - the issue of rights comes into play here - it costs to broadcast sport, and as pointed out by hideki there are dedicated subscription channels already. Further, sports do not necessarily wish all their events to be televised for fear of the impact on actual attendances. If the commercial rate of Formula 1 (or any other sport for that matter) is such that the BBC feel they cannot compete or purchase what they previously had, then that is reflective of commercial reality. As someone who is not interested in motorsport I do not share the disappointment or anger that some have about the rights decision, although I understand and respect where they are coming from.

    Without resorting to the sweeping generalisations that some people have listed here, I understand that there will be plenty of people not interested in the games, and it is right and proper that they are catered for. The Olympics are, however, a major, significant event being hosted in this country, and therefore as public broadcaster I cannot see how it can be argued that there should not similarly be significant coverage of it. You retain the choice not to watch it, and alternative non Olympic provision is being screened, so I do not think that the BBC has done anything wrong. As someone who rarely, if ever, watches BBC, I still recognise that it serves the whole community, and that my tastes may simply not be reflected by the masses. That is hardly the beebs fault, nor should they be expected to reflect all tastes - but they should, and do, provide content over time that appeals to a broad and diverse community. It is not, however, outside theire remit to pay special attention when a major planed or unplanned occasion merits it, and if people are unhappy at disruption to their favourite programmes for a couple of weeks, perhaps they ought to reflect that the same BBC is providing them with something they enjoy much of the rest of the time.

    The real concern I have is that not everyone has the ability to watch online content owing to issues with connection speeds (particularly at peak times) or usage restrictions. Given this, I do not believe that online medium should be used to broadcast the games, unless this is also available on the red button at the same time, as it could exclude people from receiving the content. Roger, I would ask that you revisit or clarify this aspect with the Trust to ensure that those who are interested can access it.

  • Comment number 43.

    I despair sometimes at the small-mindedness of people who want the BBC to only show the things they want to watch. The Olympics only comes round once every four years, and lasts just a few weeks. Depending on how you measure it, it's either the biggest or second-biggest sporting event on the planet (the other being the FIFA World Cup). And next year it's taking place right here, in England, for the first time since 1948. Demand for tickets was massively oversubscribed, demonstrating just how popular it is. It would be absolutely scandalous if the BBC didn't pull out all the stops to make coverage the centrepiece of its summer sport next year.

    It's also important to remember that, unlike major football tournaments such as the World Cup, the Olympics will only be on the BBC. There will always be at least four analogue channels not showing the Olympics, and a whole host of free-to-air digital channels. It isn't going to be wall-to-wall Olympics on TV.

    If people really can't handle missing an F1 race or a couple of episodes of Eastenders while it's on then, frankly, they need to get a life.

  • Comment number 44.

    It all boils down to a very simple buisness concept and that is VALUE FOR MONEY.

    As the licence fee payers are effectively 'stakeholders' in the BBC it is only natural to question the associated cost and the predicted viewing figures of such a corporate event (it stopped being a sporting event a long time ago).

  • Comment number 45.

    Facts are facts.
    The BBC has sacrificed F1 coverage in order to spend the money on a one-off event. So, Mr Mosey's blog entry 'we don't remove other people's favourite programmes and that there are sanctuaries for people who don't want to go Olympic-crazy' is plainly rubbish. What a shame, deleting coverage of a hi-tech good for the economy sport, for one where people run round in circles. Sort of sums up Britich society at the moment...directionless!

  • Comment number 46.

    really Joe, so people don't compete against each other in various different sports at the Olympics anymore? I guess those medals are just meaningless decorations then.

    If you don't like the Olympics then that's fine, to each their own, but please don't insult those of us that are looking forward to them by making statements like that.

  • Comment number 47.

    All this re-enforces my view that the BBC should go commercial and learn to live on it's own. Personally I would drop the BBC like a stone and up my Sky subscription tomorrow if I could. Of course if the BBC raised it's game to compete then that would be another issue.

  • Comment number 48.

    Really Peter? Those are facts are they? Got any evidence to back them up? If not then I'd suggest they're opinions, possibly correct opinions as it happens, but still opinions nonetheless.

  • Comment number 49.

    Completely agree with comment #43!
    Maybe the BBC, being a not-for-profit organisation should sell the rights to Eastenders and Holby to either ITV or Sky and recoup some of the money wasted on them over the past 25 years, so that us poor poor license payers can actually have back to free-to-air some of the lost sports and newer films that pay-per-view Sky have heartlessly stolen over the past few years? Championship Boxing anyone? 'Know what I mean 'Arry?
    Leave the Olympics alone you moaners. They are going to happen and they are going to be covered by the BBC because that is the BBC's job. Deal with it!

  • Comment number 50.

    44.At 14:51 15th Aug 2011, Joe blogs wrote:
    It all boils down to a very simple buisness concept and that is VALUE FOR MONEY.

    As the licence fee payers are effectively 'stakeholders' in the BBC it is only natural to question the associated cost and the predicted viewing figures of such a corporate event (it stopped being a sporting event a long time ago).


    Yes it does all boil down to "Value for Money" first things first we should cancel, all soap operas and shows like ER and replace them with programming entirely showing the brilliance of david attenbrough. I cant see a better value for money than him. I also cant see us getting any value from terrible soap opera programmes, as far as i am concerned Jeremy Kyle is a more worthwhile use of TV bandwidth than seeing some terrible actors performing the same plots week in week out.

    BRING ON LONDON 2012. Cant wait for the cycling.

  • Comment number 51.

    As there are millions of viewers and listeners who have zero interest in sport, please remember that we exist.

    BBC 2 and BBC 4 should be 100% Sport-free for the period that sport dominates everything.

    Normal programmes, as well as some new (and hopefully) British-made programmes should be screened.
    Repeats do not need to be scheduled as the iPlayer is available.

    There are posts saying that we should 'put-up-with' the games.

    We already have to tolerate hours of other sports on TV..... and on the news channel... does it really matter?
    For those that want Sport- let them Pay For It Handsomely.
    It was stolen from the general population years ago.

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    There has already been too much 2012 coverage for me, but it is right for the BBC to cover it properly.

    However the people who go on about the oversubscription for tickets showing how popular it is are simply wrong.

    You cannot correctly draw the conclusion "Demand for tickets was massively oversubscribed, demonstrating just how popular it is" because the method chosen to sell the tickets means the true level of demand is not known. If people had got all the tickets they had asked for then there would have been a mass rush to sell most of them off.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am glad to see the BBC has though this through. Use of BBC 3 to help share the load will work great I am sure, but how about maybe adding some to BBC4 too, so that even more events are available ... why not dedicate bbc1 to one sport and bbc2,3 or 4 to other sports ... so if someone wants running they know it will always be on bbc3 with all finals also being shown for that sport on bbc1? just a thought

  • Comment number 55.

    Does Jake have to be party of the Lympics? He really ought to go back to what he's really good at - CBeebies.

  • Comment number 56.

    Once upon a time the the BBC with its unique funding mechanism had a service that allowed people who participated in sailing (a GB Olympic gold medal winning sport), Gymnastics (a GB? world-championship medal winning sport) and even triathalon (where GB are apparently doing better than usual). It also covered Association Football, Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League. It was known by it's broadcast time - 606 (or Six-Oh-Six if you prefer).

    The BBC rid itself of this magnificent service to be replaced by Blogs of self-important types mainly who wanted to justify a slightly higher-salary and because the BBC had been bullied by other service providers e.g. Sky Sports.

    Now given that the Olympics are a year out and the BBC is going overboard with its coverage - and still trying to convince us that the BBC is good at doing this job - I can't understand why 606 had to go. Even if they'd cut it down slightly to maybe Olympics as a block unit, Football (Euro 2012 coming up), Rugby Union (RWC 2011 starts in September), F1 (as the lead broadcaster then why should there only be blogs I ask you?), then a reasonably well regulated "other sports group".

    For me this is a 50:50 in the balance event - I'm not asking the BBC to be just for me but my faith in it will be seriosuly eroded if when I'm not in an Olympic mood there's nothing but the Olympics available.

    Maybe harsh but I worry when a service that I pay for can be used by those world wide as an interactive forum. Yet the bits I want to use/did use are scrapped as a cost cutting measure.

  • Comment number 57.

    @50 avalanche-jersey

    I would hate to think you pressume I like soaps. I hate them but I also appreciate that some people like them.

    When I talk about value for money I refer to the amount of money being spent on a two week event that in the past has struggled to get the viewing figures needed to recognise it as a 'hit'.

    Next year the BBC will be upping its broadcast saturation of the Olympic games like never before. The BBC must have predicted viewing figures for the protracted 'dawn to dusk' coverage which will be spread across a miriad of TV channels and radio stations.

    All I am askingis whether these predicted figures are going to be pound for viewer money well spent.

  • Comment number 58.

    @mark #43 there aren't any analogue channels anymore (in most places at least)

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm hoping to try and ignore the whole thing. It's only School sports day made monstrous. The most horrifying aspect will be the almost constant mind-numbing and meaningless trailers right across the whole BBC estate for the Olympics coverage that I'm not looking forward to. We seem to have lost some perspective really. Hype breeds more hype creating an almost orgasmic response by certain sections of the media

  • Comment number 60.

    Over the course of four years the number of hours of BBC broadcasting devoted to:

    'Cash in the Attic' - 730 hrs
    'The London 2012 Olympics' - 672 hrs (this is a wild overestimate but is based upon 24 hr coverage on both BBC1 and 3, for two weeks)

    Point made?

  • Comment number 61.

    If these services can be provided for the Olympics why can they not be provided when there is blanket coverage of other events so that people can watch their normal programmes the events I am thinking of are World Snooker and Wimbeldon. To those complaining about the F1 coverage being split I agree with you but it should all be on Sky not person I know is bothered about F1 there is more excitement watching a jelly set

  • Comment number 62.

    To all the soap fans etc. moaning about the Olympics I have one simple thing to say - I am a sports fan and a massive Olympics fan and I pay my licence fee just the same as you.

    I wouldn't go on a soap blog moaning aout there being too much soaps because a) I have no interest or inclination & b) I realise that whilst they're not my cup of tea lots of others do like them.

  • Comment number 63.

    If we are going to have blanket coverage of the Olympics, which clearly we are, can we have the BBC showing actual sporting events, and not wasting our time with endless, tedious comment by 'experts' and 'pundits'. It seems to me at the moment that we have a ratio of about 25% action, 75% dross!

  • Comment number 64.

    @Chris MM - if athletics is so tedious why did you read an article about televising and feel compelled to post about it.

    Live and let live - we all like different things. Your TV would be different to mine, and mine different to the next man. Broadcasters have to put together a schedule for a cross section - if wee have 2 weeks of Olympics it makes up for the soaps and other stuff that may interest you but bores me to tears

  • Comment number 65.

    oh, and can someone please tell me what on earth the 'Cultural Olympiad' is ?

  • Comment number 66.

    Amigo @51. There are millions of people who cannot stand soap operas or reality nonsense but are huge sports fans. I don't imagine we took to the blogs to complain when EastEnders episodes were increased or weekends were dominated by singing contests for one part in a musical.

    There is little enough mainstream sport on FTA TV as it is.

    However, Roger, I would re-iterate my comment from a few days ago. Please don't dominate coverage with know-nothing presenters more interested in getting their faces on TV than providing us with a sporting spectacle.

  • Comment number 67.

    To some extent, sports coverage seems to have become more focused on the commentators than on the actual sport. I can see the point for F1, but it got excessive at the Boat Race. The Olympics seem to have the same effect as the old-style "Grandstand", where it was covering so much sport on a Saturday afternoon that the commentators had to give up the screen to actual sport.

    I might watch some of the Olympics, there's so much involved, but if the coverage gets excessive, if there's too much on TV I don't want to watch, I shall start working through my DVD collection.

    Oh, I can see why something such as Eastenders might have to stick around. But please don't displace everything with such BBC stalwarts as "Holby City". They're not a year-round operation. Still, I think I have enough DVDs.

  • Comment number 68.

    Oh dear what a pathetic plan. It seems to me the BBC just does not have the resources to cover the Olympics by themselves. It should be made open to all broadcasters so that adequate coverage is achieved. There is particular weakness in HD coverage because the BBC only has 2 HD channels and I assume only one at a time will output the Olympics. As someone who has be use to watching all my sport in HD it is unacceptable to make so much only available in SD or even worse on the red button. The BBC's failure to keep up with technology will degrade the Olympics. Why waist money on a tempory DAB station. No one listens to DAB.

    I hope that atleast some of the Olympics will be on Eurosport as it has more action and less jaw.

    Why does the BBC get the exclusive rights in any case. Their commitment to sport is pathetic, they only do it if they can get it cheap. The F1 fiasco is a case in point.

  • Comment number 69.

    @65 -hotspur1961
    "oh, and can someone please tell me what on earth the 'Cultural Olympiad' is ?"

    I believe it has something to do with recognising the Olympics through some other symbolic medium. For example looting a pair of Nike Air trainers and making a 100 m dash away from the store. ;-)

  • Comment number 70.

    Okay, while I might be prepared to miss one or two F1 races for the Olympics, as they are in London, it does seem a bit much to have to miss half a season for the next seven years for them!

    Still I can always go for a walk in the park, oh wait I live in Greenwich...

  • Comment number 71.

    Why are F1 fans blaming the Olympics for losing half the races to Sky - the real blame lies with the Tories & their cuts!!

  • Comment number 72.

    @68 - trevorjharris

    Couldn't agree more!

    Exlcuding the F1 coverage the BBC's history with major sporting events shows that the money spent does not equate to the viewing figures expected.

    But I guess through the unique way the BBC is funded they can through money at events that don't provide viewing returns while halfing braodcast for those that exceed expectations.

    Even BBC programmes like 'The Thick of It' and (ironically) '2012' couldn't write/satarise it.

  • Comment number 73.

    @MoonMan1999 In that case, you've got even more non-sport channels while the Olympics are on!

    @Joe blogs the reason why the Olympics aren't shared, unlike the World Cup for example, is that the IOC prefers to have a single broadcaster in each territory, and insists on it being primarily free-to-air on terrestrial TV. And the only broadcaster in the UK with the capacity, at the moment, is the BBC.

    The BBC actually gets the rights as part of a Europe-wide bid by the EBU (the same organisation which brings us the annual delights of Eurovision!), which in total paid $768 million for the combined rights to the winter and summer games. I don't know how that's being split between the EBU members, but I presume that it's at least partly proportional to size or audience, so the BBC will be paying more than, say, PBS in Malta. But, with 74 full members, the average cost per member is just over $10 million, or around £6.1 million. Given that that covers two sets of games (winter and summer), it's an average of just over £3 million per year. Even if the BBC is paying considerably more than the average (which I suspect is probably the case), I'd be surprised if it comes to more than the £40 million a year that was the original (non-shared) cost of F1. The last time the Olympics were held in Europe (and thus took place at peak viewing times), peak BBC audience figures for athletics were around 13 million. A typical F1 race gets a peak BBC audience of around 6 million. Eastenders had an audience of 8.1 million last week, according to BARB.

    Whichever way you look at it, therefore, it's pretty clear that the Olympics is not only more popular with viewers than F1 but probably also provides better value for money to the broadcaster.

  • Comment number 74.

    I always suspected F1 fans were a bit 'dim' but some of the comments on here just go to show that some are as thick as year old porridge.
    The Olympics is the peak of virtually all events that are in the games and many would argue that those events where the Olympics aren't the peak (football, tennis, golf etc.) shouldn't be there in the first place, it shows us who truly is the best runner, jumper, thrower, swimmer, rower etc. etc. sports where the men/women competing are doing all the work themselves.
    Try comparing that to ANY driving, especially F1 where it's far more about the designers and engineers than whoever sits behind the wheel, a 'sport' where ridiculous regulations are brought in on a yearly basis to slow the cars down and make it harder for the constructors to get the best out of their vehicles.
    I find F1 boring, but I understand why many do like it, yet too many F1 fans seem to think that 'their' sport is above all others and many are even deluded enough to think that it's more important than the fact that London is hosting the worlds greatest festival of sport, try getting a grip on reality, sport is far more than the super rich driving around a circuit in insanely expensive motor vehicles.

  • Comment number 75.

    At 15:58 15th Aug 2011, Tiger Rose wrote:

    Why are F1 fans blaming the Olympics for losing half the races to Sky - the real blame lies with the Tories & their cuts!!

    Nothing to do with it. This is all about the utter mnismanagement of the BBC. Far too many chiefs andf not enough Indians.
    How many senior managers does the Beeb have on over £100K/annum? What difference would it make if they weren't there. V little except for having more money to spend on what it's supposed to do - make programmes. It doesn't seem to even be doing much of that these days, chosing to farm out programmes to profit making indepenant production companies.
    Mark Thomson - DG - is on over £800K/annum of my and your money. For what exactly? Spending cash on Salford where nobody wants to go to and programmes will suffer as a result. Employing indys to BBC should be making. Being respnsible for the likes of Wossy/Brand and not having the grace to resign?
    The man's a liability.
    Nothing to do with Tory (or any other) cuts - top heavy BBC with too much money. Bin the licence fee.

  • Comment number 76.

    @73 - Mark

    Thanks for keeping me in check and providing me with an overview of who bids for what.

    I'll still hold judgement until I know more from the BBC on this, if ever.

  • Comment number 77.

    BBC three and four should broadcast during the day and bring back 302 on freeview, that would cover most of whats required to cover the Olympics and do a highlights show on BBC 1 or two in the evenings. Fairly easy to do and minimum impact on the ordinary schedules.
    These are just my thoughts but I think the BBC should have consulted the viewing public before planning any schedules. Granted many millions will be interested in watching the Olympics but millions more will only be interested in selected sports or just in finals, and many millions more will have virtually no interest in the Olympics at all.

  • Comment number 78.

    @all, far from being "thick as old porridge", us F1 fans are standing up for what we believe in. Please take a little time to research how the F1 deal came about, and how the BBC cosied up with Sky to avoid F1 going to Channel 4, where all would be able to watch it without lining the Murdochs pockets.

    I sincerely apologise that some F1 comments have leaked into non F1 blogs. I for one don't blame the Olympics and am very much looking forward to it. The reason F1 comments have appeared here is because the BBC have CLOSED the relevant blog in order to silence us.

    If you would like us to leave, please join me in inviting the BBC to re-open Ben Gallops blog so that we can discuss it in the relevant place.

  • Comment number 79.

    I have no interest in motor racing or the Olympic Games so I really don't see what the fuss is about.
    I shan't be watching the Games but I'm not going to complain if other programmes have to make for coverage of the athletics - including the few programmes I regularly watch.
    If nothing else it will give me a chance to catch up with the books on my must-read list.
    There was once a children's programme called "Why don't you just turn off the television set and go and do something less boring instead?" Why not try it if Olympic coverage has ousted one of your programmes? It's only for a couple of weeks and it's only once every four years - and lots of people love it.
    There are more important things to get in a tizzy about.

  • Comment number 80.

    @79 Michael, as I said, please do a little research before you make derogatory comments. It's not for a couple of weeks, it's for the next 7 years.

  • Comment number 81.

    Mark, most of what you say is probably about right, but comparing peak athletics viewing figures with one F1 race is comparing oranges and apples. Try looking at the total figures for F1 over a season, 20 races x 6m=120m and that's just the UK. Try the same thing with athletics, world championships, the Olympics and other major athletics events and I seriously doubt you would get any where near those sort of viewing figures.
    That being said, I kind of agree, the F1 fans are all getting things mixed up, as I said you can't compare these two very different sporting events and neither should the F1 fans. Although as some one else said, the BBC spends way too much of our license fee on paying extortionate wages to executives and supplying mainly pretty poor Tv plus paying what I consider to be very poor quality presenters, (brand/Ross/Carr et al) ridiculous amounts.
    I pay my license but seriously begrudge doing so as the only two BBC programmes I watch are Top Gear and Dr Who.
    I think it's time the BBC scrapped the license and did advertising like every one else. It seems to me that people having to pay a license for one broadcaster is in a twisted way a bit like a monopoly in business and should not be allowed, in fact I wouldn't be surprised to see it challenged one day in the European courts.

  • Comment number 82.

    Ok I have checked Eurosport is doing the 2012 Olympics thank goodness. They only have one HD channel in the UK at the moment but there has been talk of another.

    I could not find any reference to 3D or did I miss it.


    Actually ITV has 4 HD channels as opposed to the BBC's pathetic 2. ITV is testing a 3D channel at the moment.

    Actually I think the rights must be open to all EBU members. I think that the EBU will be streaming HD live on the internet so there is no need for the BBC to do it.

  • Comment number 83.

    "F1 holds far more global interest as a sport than a bunch of people running, jumping and chucking things for a fortnight."

    No way. The 2004 Olympics has up to 4,000,000,000 viewers. Not every day was this high, but certainly there were many more viewers than for F1 (500,000,000 for the ENTIRE season).

  • Comment number 84.

    Roger Mosey writes: "We're helped by the expansion of digital services that allow us to offer more choice for everyone: the Olympics in greater depth than ever before ... "

    I do wish the BBC's "greater depth" could include the inclusion of some journalistic skills such as objectivity, investigation and maybe even a healthy dose of cynicism. Don't get me wrong, I was trained by two Olympic coaches and am a big fan of many sports. But the way the BBC appears to sycophantically accept as gospel truth every statement or press release issued by the IOC and LOCOG should be - but isn't yet - a cause for concern.

    It can't be fear that prevents BBC journalists from looking at incidences of incompetence and corruption within the London 2012 Games with more enquiring minds, (it's got the contract for coverage and that can't be taken away, surely?)

    Perhaps it is just complacency and laziness. Either way, it makes for a dull BBC.

  • Comment number 85.

    I think this is a great soloution for the sports fans..... and only them.

    Now we are going digital it would be better if the BBC just transmitted more chanels for this period and dedicated them to the olympics rather than interfering with the normal TV shcedules.... not everyone in this country wants to spend our time watching sport.

  • Comment number 86.

    Don't compare viewing figures for F1 with the Olympics, there can only be one winner.
    Regardless of how many watch F1 over a season, they will be the same 6m people every race, the Olympics will bring in many viewers for a first time and events like the 100m, events which the British excel at and the odd freak occurance will probably be viewed by more people than any other sporting events next year and they'll definitely have more non-fans who watch the event simply for the occasion than 25 years of F1 coverage could ever manage.

  • Comment number 87.

    The F1 complaints are getting extremely tiresome. I was sad about the loss too, but you've got to be realistic. The sport will still get far more live, free-to-air exposure from the BBC than Cricket, Golf, Football, club Rugby and a whole host of others. The BBC has a lot of people and tastes to satisfy and the cost of sports rights is eye-watering, and rising fast. They can't go around offering Bernie the blank cheque he so heartily desires.

    Regarding the Olympics and the point of this blog: I remain utterly convinced the games are going to be massive, and so will the audiences for the BBC. The suggestion the BBC should hide it away on digital channels or the red button is ludicrous. If the BBC doesn't provide extensive, top-notch coverage of an event like this to the broadest possible audience, then it might as well not exist at all. This sort of event is what the BBC is for.

    Though it is good to see planning going on to ensure that those with no interest still have a choice of viewing on BBC Two and Four each evening. Thats sensible and hopefully means there'll be planned schedules that won't need to be disrupted (I think its this unannounced deviation from the listings that causes the most complaints during Wimbledon, rather than the coverage of the sport where its been scheduled).

  • Comment number 88.

    "The 2004 Olympics has up to 4,000,000,000 viewers"

    What!? Seriously 4 billion viewers? Is there anyone who hasn't got a TV these days?

  • Comment number 89.

    So you have a contract to show the Olympics in 2012. If so why do any planning, save any effort, ignore the contract and hand it over, or just half of the coverage to Sky, just like you did with F1. Have coverage on BBC One right up the sound of the gun for the 100m final, then show the rest of the race two hours later on interactive. Go on you know it makes sense.

  • Comment number 90.

    I presume by peoples 'favourite' programs you mean the soaps like Eastenders, Holby etc...
    From reading this article it looks as though a none soap, none sport watching person like myself, is not going to find much entertainment on the BBC TV channels.

  • Comment number 91.

    can we not get away from the Olympics, just put it on BBC 3 and leave the rest of our television alone.

  • Comment number 92.

    It would be a good idea to do away with the BBC Three on-screen logo during coverage of the Olympics as I find this can be quite distratcting (a recent example being the coverage of Diamond League athletics). Otherwise, the plans make sense.

  • Comment number 93.

    Following up on saxacat's comment, I hope that other regulars such as news, panorama, newsnight, countryfile etc will still run. Speaking as a non-soap, non game show individual who occaisionally watches football and enjoys the BBC films, plays and news (excluding sport). I might watch the highlights of the opening ceremony if only to guess where some of these countries are and possibly beach volleyball........

  • Comment number 94.

    If you can do away with BBC3 output for the duration of the Olympics, surely you can do away with it for good.

  • Comment number 95.

    @Landscape27 it isn't really 120 million different viewers, though, it's the same 6 million watching over and and over again :-)

    With the Olympics, different sports attract different viewers, so it does make more sense to add the number of athletics viewers to the number of, say, swimming and equestrian viewers to get an overall total.

  • Comment number 96.

    I am not interested in the Olympics in the slightest (save for the opening/closing ceremonies) and really resent the fact that every time without exception the BBC insists on devoting every possible second to covering the event. However, I know there's no point whinging about it because they do the same with every other sport they can get their paws on. People complain all the time and nothing changes.

    Sport should be put on dedicated sport channels (free or paid-for) that those who are interested can access. Channels like BBC One and BBC Two should be limited to "general interest" programs that appeal to a wide range of people. Sport has no place on channels that everybody is obliged to pay for.

  • Comment number 97.

    "make sure that we don't remove other people's favourite programmes" - Already screwed that one up with the idiotic deal that has been made with Sky

  • Comment number 98.

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

  • Comment number 99.

    95.At 17:23 15th Aug 2011, Mark wrote: "it isn't really 120 million different viewers"

    F1 certified coverage worldwide is 527 million people per race (source FOM), i.e. about 16 times per annum it attracts about 1 in 12 of the global population.

    F1 is thus way more important than the once every 4 years coverage of events that if shown more often would have so few viewers as to be worthless.

    Without tax payers being fleeced by force, neither the BBC nor the Olympics would be able to survive.

    It is perhaps not a coincidence that F1 and Cricket, both of which the UK is rather good at, have to take last place behind endless football and occasional athletics at which the UK is very poor. That is no way to encourage winners!

  • Comment number 100.

    I am a little disappointed. The BBC gave away F1 to Sky even though it had a contract until 2013 because it said it couldn't afford it, yet they are going to show a great deal of the olympics. Most if not all F1 fans would have preferred the BBC to share the olympics with Sky and retain F1.


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