Tuesday, August 14, 2012

public service broadcasting

I'm hardly alone in making this comment, but still I want to make it: The BBC's coverage of the Olympics was astounding.

I watched their coverage on my iPhone, on my Mac, on my works PC, on my TV, and I listened on various radios analogue & digital too. I read reports & followed the medals table on their website.


They promised that we wouldn't miss a moment. And with BBC 1 and BBC 3 exclusively devoted to the Olympics for the duratuion, and with twenty four HD channels broadcasting live from every venue, they kept their promise. Red button access, or specific channels on Sky, meant that everything was easy. It's claimed that 90% of the UK population watched something. Over 50% of us were watching regularly.

Did commercial TV bother broadcasting during the last two weeks? I didn't notice. I'm not sure anybody did.

Clive James in the Telegraph was a little sniffy at the use of language employed by some of the BBC's TV presenters. Almost a fair point; in the context of the technical brilliance we were being shown, I will forgive pretty much anything.

This is how digital broadcasting works. And add to it social media commenting on everything, with everyone joining in - this was a quiet and quietly thorough revolution.

Astounding. And all without an advert or a sponsor coming anywhere near it. Why do we pay a universal TV license fee in this country? So we can show the world how to do this kind of thing, and so we can lead the way. Our US friends could only dream of having what we have just seen. They could only dream of it. I'm not sure that, on reading this, they can even begin to imagine what we have just enjoyed. And in our own context - it just knocked Sky Sports out of the park. They have great multi-platform opportunities, but for limited audiences and with pay-walls and advertising. This far surpassed their limitations. 

Hats off. And please - more sport on the BBC, and done like this. Bring back Grandstand! And FIFA, this is why you give a major competition to a major country. Everyone owns it. A World Cup in Qatar? Really? After this?


Ricky Carvel said...

All of the above was true.

But if the BBC are listening to your request for "more sport on the BBC", can I request that they please just invent a dedicated BBC Sport channel, much like BBC 3 has been for the past two weeks, and keep it at that?

We have a dedicated BBC news channel (that hardly anyone watches) and an inexplicable BBC parliament channel (that nobody watches), so why not a dedicated BBC Sport channel? It would be more popular than those other two.

KWRegan said...

Side note: As I Tweeted, I wanted Hawking for the July 28 ceremonies, but the Paralympics were able to give him full time and honours, including a representation of the Higgs Boson discovery using umbrellas: