BBC delivered petabytes of content in a single Olympics day

The broadcaster has released details of how its multi-platform, digital Olympics coverage played out over the two weeks

The BBC has revealed that on the busiest day of its London 2012 Olympics coverage it delivered 2.8 petabytes worth of content, peaking when Bradley Wiggins won gold, where it shifted 700Gb/s.

It has also said that over a 24-hour period on the busiest Olympic days it had more traffic to bbc.co.uk than it did for the entire BBC coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010 games.

"We wanted to offer the whole breadth of the Games to audiences. It's been hugely gratifying to see from our data that they embraced our comprehensive coverage: we saw over 106 million requests for BBC Olympic video content across all online platforms," said Cait O'Riordan, head of product at BBC Sport and London 2012.

"We invested in delivering the first truly digital Olympics to ensure that our audience had a fantastic experience during the two weeks of the games."

This is the first Olympic Games where coverage was delivered from every sport from every venue to users online, on their mobile, tablet, and TV.

BBC Sport Online's most requested live video stream was of the tennis single finals, where Serena Williams and Andy Murray won golds, which saw 820,000 requests.

According to O'Riordan, viewers also grew accustomed to switching between up to 24 streams of available content.

She said: "In between the peaks of Team GB medal moments, our data clearly shows people moving across streams to check out a whole host of different events."

"For example, around 6pm on Saturday 4th, audiences finished watching GB gold in women's team pursuit cycling on stream 7 to take a look at the end of Brazil v Honduras in the football on stream 6, before switching back to stream 7 as the cycling action kicked off again."

She added: "And while team GB's medal moments drove huge traffic, at the same time less flagship events were getting attention on other streams: at lunchtime on Monday 30, while a lot of people were watching swimming on stream 1, more people were concurrently watching weightlifting on stream 12."

PC usage peaked during the week at lunchtime and during mid-afternoon peak Team GB moments, while mobile saw the most uptake at around 6pm when people had left the office but still wanted to keep informed of the latest action.

Tablet usage, however, reached a peak at around 9pm, where people were using it as a second screen or as they continued to watch the games in bed.

"Consumption of video content on mobile has been perhaps the key takeaway from the two weeks", said O'Riordan, as the BBC saw 12 million requests for video on mobile across the whole of the Games.

In other Olympics news, it was revealed last week that the official London 2012 Olympics website, london2012.com, has deteriorated since the Games kicked off, according to a number of benchmarking tests carried out by Compuware.

The results indicate that the average page load time on london2012.com was 10 seconds. However, 28.8 percent of the 2000 benchmark tests for the site exceeded 10 seconds, and almost seven percent of tests exceeded 20 seconds, with times ranging up to 40 seconds.

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Derek du Preez

Computerworld UK
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