Embracing the Digital Paralympics

Like the athletes themselves (never mind us cheering fans!), the dictionary of superlatives has surely been exhausted after an incredible London 2012 Olympic Games, writes Hugo Sharman, Director, North & Special Events at digital media specialist deltatre. ‘The greatest games ever’ by popular consent. But no matter your personal favourite of modern times – from Los Angeles, via Sydney and Beijing – one thing is certain; London has been the first truly digital games.

Atlanta heralded the very first Olympics website in 1996, and in 2004 for the Athens games, a core of Rights Holding Broadcasters came together to stream live video for the first time.

But London 2012 has signaled a move to digital consumption like never before. Beijing to the present day has seemed like light years in digital terms. And for good reason.

In 2008, the BBC streamed 625 hours of live competition online compared with 2,500 hours for London. NBC delivered 7.9m live video streams in 2008 compared with 34m in 2012. Similarly social media was in its infancy four years ago. 150m Facebook users in 2008 has climbed to 900m today, whilst 500m of us tweet today compared with just 6m in 2008.

But today’s digital media landscape is one of multi-device and multi-platform. Today’s consumer expects live content wherever they are, at whatever time and on whatever device, and mobile is where the sea-change has happened.

Now such a staple part of our digital diet, the App store was barely weeks old when the opening ceremony launched the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games. Today it has witnessed 30bn downloads. London 2012 has seen more Olympic page views of digital content on Mobile and Tablet than on traditional desktop or laptop computers.

At deltatre we are privileged to work with many Olympics Rights Holding Broadcasters, having supported their live results, graphics, video and digital solutions for London 2012. To be part of making their coverage a success has been very special.

Now only days away at the time of writing, the Paralympic Games rides the wave of post-Olympic euphoria, and fans can expect similarly high levels of digital content.

Internationally, the live digital Paralympic experience will be provided by LOCOG via the official Olympic & Paralympic Games website www.london2012.com, the mobile website and mobile Results Applications. Already these channels have delivered the Olympic experience to a global audience of over 100mfans. As each platform transitions from Olympic to Paralympics mode, Paralympic followers will enjoy the same high quality and in-depth of coverage and live results as for the Olympics.

Although smaller than the Olympics, the Paralympics is still made up of 21 sports with many events happening simultaneously over the 11 days of competition. On Sunday 2nd September 2012 (Super Sunday anyone?) there will be 16 simultaneous sports taking place – the equivalent of 16 Paralympic World Championships – all of which will be covered in real time on london2012.com. On this day there will be 16 athletics events alone. Delivering this live experience across multiple devices and platforms is no mean feat.

Throughout the UK, broadcast and digital coverage will be delivered through the domestic Rights Holder Channel 4, who has already delighted audiences with its bold ‘Superhumans’ advertising campaign (http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/channel-4-takes-over-tv-with-meet-the-superhumans-campaign) and it’s delightful follow up ‘Thanks for the warm up’.










Channel 4 is forging a reputation for innovation, and its coverage of the Paralympics will take this to new levels. deltatre is delighted to support Channel 4 in delivering what will be the most engaging and innovative Paralympics ever.

Initially, deltatre was appointed to build a world class website for the Paralympic Games, capable of supplying live data and results. Since then, the relationship has evolved, with the digital teams on both sides developing new, dynamic ideas and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the digital landscape, while remaining as accessible as possible.

Channel 4 has shown a loyal commitment to an enhanced multi platform and social experience for its audiences. The impact can be seen by the number of Channel 4’s Paralympic Games twitter followers that currently stands at over 80,000.

Working with a forward thinking broadcaster has allowed the development of vast and varied digital solutions (on top of a fully functional live results website), offering a truly innovative, engaging digital media experience for C4’s audience. The offering includes:

  • An innovative Optical Tracking solution for use during Wheelchair Rugby and Basketball coverage, which can detect impact speeds, fastest sprints and heat maps. These will feed live television graphics as well as updating real-time online infographics;

  • Mobile and Tablet Apps for iPhone, Android, iPad and Android tablet that include live results and video.

  • A multi view Video Player allowing the user to watch and select between four concurrent video feeds (The main C4 simulcast, as well as three additional sport streams with the commentary provided by deltatre). These feeds are also available on Sky, Virgin and Freesat in HD with one feed being available on Freeview. For the online offering, C4 will be using a Data Integrated Video Application (in the form of deltatre’s Diva), allowing editorial to tie live text commentary to specific moments in the timeline and offering a quad view of all the C4 streams.

This level of digital innovation is hugely important. Not only to captivate audiences, but to excite new fans through evolving & engaging digital experiences. Hopefully, as well as entertaining and educating the audience, these Paralympics will ignite the passion and enthusiasm in a new generation of ‘Superhumans’ who feel inspired to replicate the achievements of those in 2012, taking their sport to new heights in the future.

This is the power of digital and social media, and is one of the reasons why the first digital Paralympic Games can leave a true legacy for Paralympic sport. 

About deltatre:

There is a way to make sport events come to life for audiences everywhere. Using innovative technology, creativity and total commitment, the people at deltatre do exactly that. With staff in Torino, London, Manchester, Lausanne, Paris, New York and Portland, deltatre has over 25 years’ experience at the highest level of international sport. Always striving for the next level of interaction, we consider the future of global sport engagement to be multi-platform and social. Today, the greatest sport events on earth are more immersive, collaborative, and inclusive thanks to our cutting edge technologies. Sport fans become an active part of the event, connecting socially and sharing their passion, wherever they are. By harnessing our experience, technical skills and passion for sport, we are always one step ahead.

For more information, please visit www.deltatre.comor contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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