Interactive features to play a big role in Beijing reporting

The BBC will unveil a number of new interactive features as part of its Olympics coverage this summer, including blogs by British athletes, desktop widgets and mobile video.

With much of the competition taking place during the British night time, time-shifting technologies, including podcasts and the iPlayer catch-up service for BBC1 and BBC2, will be significant to the coverage.

BBC Radio Five Live will have an Olympics podcast of commentary highlights available each morning.

Although BBC Sport has had a mobile website for some time, the Olympics will mark its first major move into mobile video, with highlights from each day made available on 3G handsets.

The head of BBC Sport Interactive, Ben Gallop, told Press Gazette: ‘It’s still debatable how large a role mobile video will play, because the mobile market is not yet mature, but we’re doing what we can to do some innovative things.

‘We’re really just dipping our toe in the water when it comes to rich media on mobile. In a sense it’s about doing things this time knowing that the really big thing for us is going to be London 2012 – that’s when we think mobile is going to play a really big part in the coverage. So we’re starting to think what we can learn this time.”

Live, streaming video will also play a major role in the BBC’s coverage.

The six live streams available on interactive television will all also be online, making use of the new embedded video player recently added to the BBC News and sport websites.

Users will have the option of watching any of six live streams on a single web page. To help users choose which of the feeds to watch, the site will be running a live blog-style commentary, produced by three journalists working in around-the-clock shifts.

BBC Sport Interactive assistant editor Claire Stocks said: ‘We are essentially taking the concept of what we are doing on the red button and putting it on the web.”

Stocks will be editing the BBC Olympics blog from Beijing. The site will draw together the online coverage from the BBC’s television commentators, along with observations from journalists across BBC News, the BBC World Service and BBC Nations and Regions.

Part of the job will be to monitor the chatter on the Olympic village blogosphere. More than a dozen British athletes will also be blogging for the BBC during the games.

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