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Olympics win inspires BBC to improve digital services

17 Aug 2012
BBC iPlayer for iPhone

The BBC has unveiled plans to overhaul its digital service in the glow of its Olympics success, including a mobile sports app, improved online video and an overhaul of the Red Button multi-channel service.

The broadcaster enjoyed "unprecedented audience numbers" for its digital services, according to sports editor Ben Gallop, and has been inspired to keep improving and expanding its online sports coverage.

"The challenge now is how we build on what we have seen in London for our week-in, week-out online sports coverage," he said.

"Big sporting events have traditionally been the catalyst for change in broadcasting – from the advent of colour TV to the introduction of HD – and I'd like to think what we have seen during London 2012 will have a bearing on how sport is covered in the future."

Plans include a dedicated sports application on smartphones, and more development in online video. Perhaps most ambitious, though, is the idea that the BBC will replace red button features with a "genuine, effective 'connected TV' service".

Gallop said that the red button, which many people used during the Olympics, had served the BBC well but was due for retirement.

"London 2012 has proved to be a spur for a new type of media consumption: fully connected at all times, on demand and on the go," he added.

"The statistics are pretty bold, with 39 million UK browsers of BBC Sport, around a third of whom were accessing us on mobile devices."

Other statistics are equally impressive. Gallop said that the BBC broadcasted 2,500 hours of video in its 24 video streams at any one time.

"Across the 17 days of the Games, some 24 million viewers watched at least 15 minutes of our red button service," he added.

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Dave Neal
About

Dave Neal is a reporter at The INQUIRER. Previously he worked at V3.co.uk, VNUnet, and IT Week in editor and journalist roles.

He started his career when the Y2K bug was a front page story and remains committed to covering the interesting world of technology news.

He left the world of office working four years ago and now represents The INQUIRER from home in Kent with his dog.

Dave has been quoted in papers including the London Metro.

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