BBC plans mobile-phone Olympic broadcasts

BBC officials have begun discussions with mobile phone manufacturers and networks about plans to broadcast London 2012 action directly to handsets.

The Beeb have the ambitious aim to broadcast every moment of Olympic action when the Games start in the year after next, with hopes of fans accessing all content through their mobiles as well as using the television, radio and internet.

The process of budgeting for the entire project has started and experts have told Roger Mosey, the BBC’s director of London 2012, that it is possible to deliver the proposals.

“Only one in 50 people used mobiles to follow Beijing and it was shown that they didn’t like it much either, there were judders or people couldn’t get access to video,” said Mosey. “It didn’t catch on for Beijing but it is our big idea for London. Boris (Johnson, London’s Mayor) has also said he would like wireless devices to wander around London and catch up with action and find where to go.

“Mobile is slightly more contentious because there is the question of delivering to the Games area and then the pressure of how much pressure is being put on networks in London.”

Along with the plan for wireless devices around London, there are also proposals to cover events in different languages to listeners on digital radio. Also on Mosey’s agenda is contributing to the Cultural Olympiad – the programme that looks to encourage participation in UK culture – and is hoping Ruth MacKenzie’s recent appointment as director is a positive step.

He said: “Culture is rather more problematic. I saw figures that show recognition of the Cultural Olympiad among the UK population was about 2%, which isn’t too good considering it was meant to have started when we got the Olympic Games from Beijing.”

Mosey also responded to losing the Paralympics coverage to Channel 4, adding: “We tried very hard and wanted the rights but the fact is Channel 4 made a huge financial offer. You can see from their point of view it makes sense for them to have a single focus on the Paralympics.”

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