HomeUncategorizedDiscovery gains Europe-wide Olympic broadcast rights ; could the BBC lose the rights…?    


Discovery gains Europe-wide Olympic broadcast rights ; could the BBC lose the rights…? — 2 Comments

  1. Roger Mosey – BBC director of the London 2012 Olympics :

    It’s a great shame that the BBC will no longer control the rights to the Olympics now that US group Discovery has signed a £920m exclusive pan-European deal.

    What we showed in 2012 is that sport can bring the UK together like nothing else, and public service, free to air television is essential to doing that.

    By owning all the rights, we were also able to sharpen the BBC’s reputation for innovation. That’s why we could deliver 24 live HD channels, 3D, a fantastic online service and the range of mobile and social media applications that lived up to the promise: you’ll never miss a moment.

    Despite the bad news, all is not lost for the BBC.

    Discovery will probably sub-license some of their rights, and the fact that the Olympics are a listed event will mean the key action is still available to all. But the BBC’s relationship with the Games, which goes back almost to the founding of the corporation, will inevitably be less rich. That is a shame for audiences, though my friends at the BBC are saying that they will still try to maintain the Olympic link as best they can. We must trust that the International Olympic Committee recognises just how much they owe to the BBC’s commitment over so many decades..

    This outcome is not, I think, just a function of the size of the licence fee. The fact is that public service broadcasters the world over are losing key rights to the soaraway inflation caused by pay TV. It is impossible to imagine that the BBC could ever be in the market again for something like live Premier League, which comes in at over £10m per match.

    I was never a fan of efforts to cap the percentage of the licence fee spent on sport; in the end it has to be a management judgement about editorial and strategic priorities within an annual budget of £3.7bn.

    However, the corporation needs to fight as hard for its reputation in sport as it is currently doing in music and the arts. I sometimes found the BBC Trust less sympathetic to sport than they should have been, given its manifest value to viewers and listeners.

    Most important of all, though, is that politicians should not waver in their commitment to listed events. The biggest sporting moments should be available to everyone in the UK, irrespective of their financial means.

    Imagine London 2012 behind a paywall, with the triumphs of Bradley Wiggins and Jessica Ennis seen only by those who paid a subscription; or contemplate the future of the Champions League now wholly owned by BT or the lessons of cricket only live on Sky. However good a job the pay broadcasters do, public service and maximum access for all are still things that matter hugely in the world of sport.

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