London 2012’s Technology Legacy Under the Spotlight

MEI asks digital media experts Rhys Beer from PERFORM, Will Muirhead from fanatix and Carlo de Marchis from deltatre what they believe the main technology legacies from London 2012 are or will be….

Rhys Beer, commercial director, PERFORM:

“In the UK, the BBC's Digital Olympics offering set a new standard in interactive broadcasting, one which fellow broadcasters can seek to emulate and beat in years to come and one which attracted and engaged viewers in huge numbers. Every second of every event was offered across 24 concurrent streams resulting in over 100m video requests in the UK alone. As encouraging as the scale of the service was the reception - it received a 96% satisfaction rating from users, thus avoiding the pitfalls of user experience difficulties that this amount of choice can often bring.

“The BBC service also provided valuable insight into the consumption habits of the modern sports fan. As expected, desktop use peaked during office hours and mobile views did likewise during commuting periods. But it was the peak of tablet-based consumption during evenings and weekends combined with (and not instead of) traditional TV consumption that very much confirmed the arrival of the second screen into our living rooms. Other leading content providers such as NBC, CNTV and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) also reported significant growth of mobile devices within their consumption mix, leading to 2012 being christened the first ‘multi-screen Olympics’.

“For the IOC, the embracing by broadcasters and viewers alike of these interactive services combined with the bonanza of social media activity from fans, athletes and sponsors helped to firmly re-connect the Olympics with a younger audience...for whom sports consumption today is far from the one-way process it once was.”

Carlo De Marchis, CTO, deltatre:

“London 2012 was truly the first digital major event in terms of the richness and reach of the digital offerings. There were three major trends that really delivered above expectations:

  • Mobile: a huge percentage of users accessed Olympic content on smartphones and tablets.
  • Social: the disintermediated conversation between fans and participants is now integral to the media coverage.
  • Digital Video: The Olympics was very popular on TV but an increasing number of users worldwide consumed video online, both live and on-demand.

“There is nothing like the Olympics in terms of richness and complexity and only the combination of linear TV, computers, smartphones, tablet and other digital devices provides a coverage that can match today’s user expectation. The combination of devices also dramatically increases user engagement. Broadcasters and media should take note of the following: ‘There is no way back: fans need sport, sport needs reach, reach needs digital.’”

Will Muirhead, chief executive, fanatix:

"London 2012 was certainly the 'first social media Olympics', but it is worth keeping it in perspective. First, Usain Bolt's 100m victory generated the highest frequency of tweets during the Games, reaching about 1,300 per second, but this was a mere 10% of the twitter activity generated during Chelsea's UEFA Champions League victory in May 2012 for example. Second, much of the investment that goes into the digital coverage of the Olympics is bespoke to the Olympics and is often left without a legacy use afterwards. However, in my opinion, harnessing a legacy from technology and digital media is not as much of a problem as it is extracting legacy value from venues."

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