Thus spoke Darryl Jefferson, responsible for the incredibly successful US Olympics coverage at NBCUniversal, at the SMPTE industry lunch on 23 October 2012. His reference was to the need for meticulous metadata labelling of all the material they had – something absolutely symptomatic of the new age of file based programme production.
We didn’t really need the statistics from Darryl because everyone knows that the Olympic Games in summer 2012 were the most successful television event in the history of mankind – but we got them.
What can you say about 82 million television viewers (just in the US)? Maybe even more phenomenal than the television audience, which we might expect to be high, was the huge US Internet audience. There were 57 million unique visitors, and at times the Olympic streams were consuming 35-50% of the entire US internet bandwidth. 3000 highlight packages were produced.
There was 2500 staff working in London, with 200 cameras providing pictures in addition to those from the IOC OBS.
Part of the production success was the use of a Media Access management system, which allowed the NBCU teams in New York, Florida (for the Spanish services), and elsewhere to find and call up items instantly from the available material.
Darryl claimed that the event showed ‘Television is not dead’. Maybe so, but it appears to have an ever growing large room-mate.