London will host the 2012 Olympics this summer from the 27th of July to August 12th. A lot of preparation and technology goes into prepping for the worldwide gaming event, and we'll gather all the news we can find about it right here.
Sep 26, 2012
The start of the Olympics should've been a big win for NBC. As the exclusive rights holder to the event, the media giant decided against live streaming the opening ceremony, and instead delayed the broadcast for US primetime TV viewers. The decision prompted #NBCFAIL to almost-perpetually trend on Twitter as the network continued to save the best events for delayed broadcast. However, through stats obtained via Twitter, surveys, and digital analytics, the company discovered what we'd expected to be true all along: multi-platform viewers spent longer watching the games than those who watched only on TV — over two hours more per day, in fact. More importantly, the broadcaster found that "the deluge of online viewing options did not cannibalize the coveted prime-time audience."Read Article >
NBCs analysis of Olympic viewership, along with a wealth of data from Twitter, led to a change in strategy, specifically the decision to stream the closing ceremony live. The network says that its future coverage will be shaped by what it learned from the Olympics; hopefully next time round, US viewers will, like their British counterparts, be able to see the entire spectacle live.
Sep 7, 2012Read Article >
NBC bet big on its coverage of the London Summer Olympics, and according to NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus the network ultimately broke even on the event, despite stellar television ratings. Speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit, Lazarus said that NBC's advertising sales for the event reached $1.25 billion, a jump of close to 50 percent compared to the previous Games in Beijing. He also revealed that the television broadcast of the Games ended up being watched by 219.4 million viewers. "We were fortunate many US teams and athletes performed very well, and that was good for our ratings," Lazarus said. Of course, TV wasn't the only platform NBC used to draw in visitors — the network's Olympics site had 744 million page views, while viewers watched 159 million of its YouTube-powered Olympics streams.
Sep 1, 2012Read Article >
Cord cutters will have an easier time watching the 2012 Paralympics than they did watching the Olympics, thanks to live streams of all the events provided by YouTube. Unfortunately, the live streams only apply to people in the US and Canada, but the full archives of over 1,000 hours of archived footage will be available worldwide. Both live and archived video is available now at http://youtube.com/paralympicsporttv, where you'll also find video blogs from the athletes and interviews as well. The games run through September 9th, and if you catch an event live you'll also be able to use YouTube's real-time commenting feature.
Aug 30, 2012Read Article >
The opening ceremony for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London last night was a celebration of science — titled "Enlightenment" and narrated in part by Stephen Hawking, the spectacle used dance and other visual effects to represent events including the Big Bang and the apparent discovery of the Higgs boson particle earlier this year. While the exact significance of some of the elements may not have been immediately clear to those in the audience, an official CERN blog post points out that the elusive particle was represented by a spherical group of silver umbrellas (earlier, dancers had performed a choreographed routine to Rihanna's 2007 hit "Umbrella"). Check out the festivities in the video below — while the ceremony as a whole lasted for almost four hours, the key visual parts are confined to the first 20 minutes.
Aug 18, 2012Read Article >
When it came to airing the London Olympics online, YouTube played a big role — not only did it stream the Games in 64 countries in Africa and Asia, it also supplied the technology behind NBC's streaming coverage in the US. Now YouTube has released some figures to show just how much its viewers made use of those options. In total more than 231 million streams were watched worldwide, 159 million of which came from NBC's Olympics site, while the rest came from the IOC YouTube channel. And of those stream views in the US, 37 percent came from mobile devices — this in spite of a number of complaints regarding the poor-quality of NBC's stream. These numbers follow the news that network's website also saw an impressive 744 million page views during the Games.
Aug 14, 2012
Image credit: albertizeme (Flickr)Read Article >
Think of the most iconic sporting moments of the past couple of decades and then try to find the one thing they all have in common. That's right, it's the camera flashes. Like popcorn kernels hitting just the right temperature, cameras in the crowd explode with light as fans try to record those breathless moments that they'll one day be telling their grandkids about. As an expression of cultural togetherness, these synchronized photography sessions are great, but there's just one little problem: every one of those flash-"assisted" photos was a bad one. Conventional flashes are only meant to be used within a range of about 10 feet, not from the third deck of a giant sports arena.
Aug 13, 2012
The 2012 Summer Olympics marks the first time that social media made a big splash with international sports fans. Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks have seen an explosion of engagement, and even traditional media outlets like BBC Sports took part in the digital revelry.Read Article >
Twitter saw over 150 million tweets during the course of the games with notable spikes during Kobe Bryant's dunk near the end of the USA-Spain basketball game and Hope Solo's diving save during the USA-Japan soccer match. Usain Bolt commanded the highest number of tweets per minute (TPM) at more than 80,000 TPM, followed closely by Britain's Andy Murray at over 57,000 TPM. Twitter's offical blog points out that, in total, soccer was the most popular 140-character conversation piece during the games, driving over five million tweets despite spikes from superstar athletes in other sports.
Aug 13, 2012
Image credit: Alexandre Moreau (Flickr)Read Article >
There's been one constant in marquee sporting events over the past couple of decades: that brief outburst of nervous energy and anticipation that is characterized by hundreds of camera flashes popping off at the moment of kick-off, tip-off, or the starter's gun. And you know what? Every one of those flash-"assisted" photos has been a bad one.
Aug 12, 2012Read Article >
The New York Times is back with another excellent infographic about the 2012 Olympics in London — this time showing Twitter activity on athletes' accounts. The graphic visualizes the number of mentions 140 verified accounts received over the games so far per 1,000 followers, honing in on when different athletes' mindshare peaked on Twitter. So, who won? Malaysian track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang (@AzizulAWANG) looks to have received the the most mentions per 1,000 followers (2,308) after his public apology for failing to obtain any medals. Michael Phelps' mentions, meanwhile, were dwarfed by his over 1,000,000 follower count.
Aug 10, 2012
Usain Bolt's grabbing all the headlines today following another dominant performance at the London 2012 Olympics, this time in defense of his 200m sprint title. In amongst the pictures accompanying coverage of his feat, however, you might find a few taken by the "living legend" himself.Read Article >
In the immediate aftermath of his victory, Bolt borrowed a Nikon D4 from Swedish photographer Jimmy Wixtröm and proceeded to take some impromptu pictures of his surroundings — a first-person visualization of what it means to be the fastest man in the world, if you will. Wixtröm's newspaper, Aftonbladet, has posted up a few of Bolt's images over on its website, along with an explanation of how the pro photographer convinced the Olympic champ to take the pictures (spoiler: it involved a lot of pestering in advance of the event). Below you'll find our favorite from the Bolt batch: a still capturing fellow Jamaican runner Yohan Blake striking his signature "beast" pose.
Aug 7, 2012
Fans have been turning to smartphones and tablets for Olympics-related information in record numbers, according to statistics released by Google yesterday, with Europeans making a higher proportion of mobile Google searches than inhabitants of any other continent. Writing on the company's Mobile Ads Blog — which means these self-serving figures shouldn't be taken entirely at face value — marketing execs Dai Pham and Adam Grunewald describe how, in most European countries, more than a third of relevant Google searches occurred through the mobile site or mobile apps over the first two days of the Games. Many of these can be attributed to "second screen" viewing, with users searching for extra information and detail while watching events on television.Read Article >
The prize for the most mobile-centric country goes to Japan, which saw 55 percent of its Olympic Google search volume channelled through portable devices. By contrast, nearby China saw an equivalent figure of just 14 percent. One interesting trend pointed out in Google's post is the presumed popularity of tablets among holidaymakers — in holiday destinations such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Olympic searches from tablets actually exceeded those from mobile, though we imagine the sample size was relatively limited compared to larger markets in Europe and Asia.
Aug 7, 2012
What better way to take part in the international spectacle that is the Olympic Summer Games than by mashing keys on a search engine home screen? Google's newest Doodle is entitled Hurdles 2012, and lets you control a hurdler’s sprint down the track with your left and right arrow keys and leap using the space bar. We confess, it’s a little tricky to get the timing right for the first couple of jumps, but believe us when we say it’s way easier than QWOP.Read Article >
Thanks, John Fitzgerald!
Aug 6, 2012
The New York Times has published an incredible series of visualizations, using 3D models to compare today's top sprinters, swimmers, and long jumpers with athletes from every Olympic Games since 1896. The standout is a video analyzing Usain Bolt's blistering 9.63-second performance in the 100m dash last night, showing just how far ahead he is, not only of the current crop, but also of the top sprinters of yesteryear.Read Article >
If Thomas Burke, gold medallist at the first modern Olympics in Athens, ran last night, he would have been more than 18m from the finish line as Bolt crossed it — he would even have been beaten by last-placed Asafa Powell, whose groin injury forced him to jog across the line in a disappointing 11.99 seconds. But it's not just top athletes who impress — according to data from the Amateur Athletic Association, the United States' fastest 16-year-old today could have won a bronze medal at the 1980 Games in Moscow.
Aug 5, 2012
After NBC revealed some impressive statistics following week one of the London Games, the BBC is providing some numbers of its own. Engagement has been a particular strong suit, with 17 million people having watched at least 15 minutes of footage from the company's 24 "Red Button" livestreams. In total, the BBC has seen 29 million requests for Olympics video content.Read Article >
The company is also breaking previous web traffic records, citing a total of 18 million unique browser visits during the first week of coverage. Daily traffic peaks have crossed nearly 8 million in the UK and 10.4 million globally compared to previous milestones of 5.7m (UK) and 7.4 (Global). Whereas Michael Phelps' unprecedented 19th medal win was the most popular clip for NBC, BBC viewers gravitated toward the Men's Road Race involving Mark Cavendish — that event drew an audience of 1.3 million.
Aug 4, 2012Read Article >
NBC's televised coverage of the London Olympics hasn't been without a heavy dose of negative criticism, but that hasn't stopped people from visiting the channel's dedicated site for the Games. According to Wired, NBCOlympics.com exceeded 744 million page views for the first week of the 2012 Olympics, more than four times the amount of viewers who visited during the Beijing Games for the same time period. Even with a flurry of complaints regarding the quality of videos on the site, footage of the Games was viewed over 75 million times, with over two million watching a live stream of Michael Phelps earning his World Record-setting 19th Olympic medal. So while NBC may feel that the Olympic Opening Ceremony is too complex for internet viewers, it doesn't seem to mind the heavy influx of visitors to its site during the event.
Aug 3, 2012Read Article >
You'd think the 2012 Olympics would prove the perfect opportunity for sports photographers to give something like a new Nikon D4 a workout, but Guardian photojournalist Dan Chung is taking a slightly different approach. He's keeping a photoblog entirely comprised of pictures taken with his iPhone, covering everything from fast-paced action on the field to colorful portraits of fans.
Aug 2, 2012Read Article >
Firearms, knives, and illegal substances are unsurprisingly prohibited at the 2012 London Olympics, but here's one you might not expect: unsanctioned portable Wi-Fi hotspots. Ryan Seacrest Productions' Sadao Turner tweeted an image of a member of the Olympics' "Wi-Fi Police," carrying an absurdly large frequency detection device that ironically screams "free hotspot this way." Wireless interference is part of the concern, but it stands to reason that Olympics partner BT — which runs some 1,500 paid hotspots at the event — is looking to keep revenues up as well. Either way, Wi-Fi peddlers should keep an eye out for the enforcers should they wish to keep their signal active.
Aug 2, 2012
Last week Netflix CEO Reed Hastings warned investors that the company's streaming services may take a hit due to the 2012 Olympics, and his fears may have been warranted: according to one report, the company's US streaming service saw a 25 percent decline earlier this week due to the Summer Games. Variety points out data from broadband company Procera Networks, which states that Netflix experienced the drop down from its normal level of US activity on Sunday night; NBC saw a 2-percent ratings increase that night over the 2008 games. The network has also been quite aggressive in promoting its streaming options this year, offering a number of web-based and app solutions for online viewing.Read Article >
Procera's Cam Cullen writes in a blog post that the company noticed no change in Netflix activity in Canada, which Procera attributes to the US being "more involved" in the Olympics. Netflix didn't let the report go unchallenged, telling Variety that "Even if the figures you cite are correct, one night's traffic does not a trend make." It should also be noted that this is one report from one company, and we've yet to see if other firms noticed the same dip that Procera did. In either case, it dovetails nicely with Hastings' concerns — and may strengthen the position of those media companies that seem reluctant to cater to online audiences.
Aug 1, 2012
Thus far, Beats products have been spotted on a number of highly visible athletes,
including swimmer Michael Phelps, who wears a pair of Beats-branded noise-canceling headphones before races.The company achieved a similar coup in 2008, when it gave a pair of headphones to LeBron James, who proceeded to hand them out to the rest of his US teammates.Read Article >
Word of this year's campaign first leaked when British tennis player Laura Robson tweeted about receiving a pair of Beats headphones with a Union Jack design. Robson subsequently deleted her tweet, as did UK soccer player Jack Butland, who wrote "Love my GB Beats by Dre," before promptly removing the post. Butland also told a teammate, via Twitter, that Beats representatives were "bumping into" athletes around the area, though that tweet was eventually deleted as well — likely because the IOC's code of conduct prohibits athletes from promoting their personal sponsors on social media.
Jul 31, 2012
Emily Seebohm, the Australian swimmer that set a new Olympic record in qualifying for the 100m backstroke final but narrowly missed out on the gold, has admitted that spending too much time on Twitter and Facebook may have affected her performance. After establishing herself as a hot favorite with her preliminary swims, Emily was showered with congratulations and encouragement on the social media sites, which, she says, made the victory in the final feel almost like a job already done.Read Article >
While clearly disappointed, Emily chooses to look on the bright side and celebrate the fact she got the silver, plus she still has a chance to rectify her mistakes as she's competing in another race this weekend. We suspect she'll be paying a lot less attention to her Twitter stream this time around, though.
Jul 30, 2012Read Article >
NBC's much-hyped online Olympic coverage has been proving a headache for some, with users — and Verge writers — complaining of streams stuttering, freezing, or not starting at all. Don't worry, though, it's not NBC's fault: in a statement given to The New York Times, the network suggested that the issues were down to problems with users' devices or connections. Rick Cordella, vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital Media, said that the company would continue to tweak the streams, estimating that the problems would be resolved by Monday. We've yet to see any meaningful improvement in stream quality yet — let us know if you're having more luck than us in comments.
Jul 30, 2012
Twitter's grand ambitions for the 2012 Olympics seem to be off to a mixed start. On the positive side, the service saw 9.66 million mentions of the Opening Ceremony from the start of the event at 8:00PM in London until the end of the delayed US broadcast. For the most part, the chosen time period eliminates anticipatory tweets about the event (with the exception of US viewers, who had to wait for NBC's delayed broadcast of the Opening Ceremony). On the negative side, many US viewers took to Twitter to express their displeasure with NBC's decision not to stream the Opening or Closing ceremonies, which Twitter may not be too happy about considering their decision to partner with NBC on Olympics coverage.Read Article >
Twitter has grown exponentially over the past few years — a single day last week had more tweets total than during the entirety of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to a recent blog post. In 2008, the service saw just 300,000 tweets per day, not counting spam. The company's growing user base, its recent moves to curate news on important events, and the partnership that turned the service into the "official narrator" of the 2012 Olympics all show Twitter wants to become a significant media outlet in its own right. Now we just need to see whether those ambitions will be contained in a walled garden.
Jul 28, 2012
The 2012 Summer Olympics have finally kicked off, and while NBC has been boasting about the digital options it's offering US sports fans, the broadcaster offered no live streaming of the opening ceremonies, instead funneling viewers towards its tape-delayed primetime broadcast this evening. NBC has now defended the decision to the Los Angeles Times, telling the paper in an emailed statement that the ceremonies "are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large prime-time audiences that gather together to watch them."Read Article >
However, in the same statement NBC also touts that it is streaming every event from all 32 sports — a massive expanse of coverage that will no doubt demand even more context than the staged entertainment extravaganza that is the Opening Ceremony. As for the issue of translation to the second screen, it's also hard to ignore the fact that NBCUniversal has no problem with viewers watching big-budget spectacles on their computers when it comes to other properties.
Finally, the 2012 London Olympics are upon us. Prepare yourself, for the next several weeks will bring more details than you ever cared to know about this year's competition — and thanks to our hyper-connected culture, you'll be hearing about it through every online outlet you can imagine. For those of us the US who just want to follow along with the games, however, NBC has us covered with unprecedented coverage in excess of 5,000 total hours across TV, web, smartphones, and tablets. If you want to keep up with the games online, here's how you can go from 0 to synchronized swimming in no time (but remember, this is for US visitors only).Read Article >
Let's get the bad news out of the way first: if you want to enjoy NBC's coverage of virtually every event online, you'll need to have a cable subscription that gives you access to both CNBC and MSNBC. Cord-cutters will have to make do with what's being broadcast over NBC network TV. Sadly, this is in direct contrast to what the BBC is doing for UK citizens — the network will blanket the country with coverage on TV, live, and through its apps, and there doesn't appear to be any restrictions on who can view.
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We heard a few days ago that Twitter and NBC were partnering to be the "official narrator" of the 2012 Olympics. As the event kicks off today, Twitter and NBC announced they are launching a dedicated page to highlight tweets from "Olympic insiders," including players, coaches, and teams. The page is similar to event page Twitter previously used for NASCAR and the Euro 2012 Football championship, with a curated mixture of tweets (rather than everything that goes up with the Olympics hashtag). Oddly, Twitter says this page is available to "anyone in the US who visits Twitter.com/#Olympics" — it could be part of its deal with NBC. For users elsewhere, visiting that URL only shows tweets from the official @olympics account. For those of us stateside who crave real-time updates beyond what you'll see live on TV, this page looks like a solid source of information.