Archive for August, 2012

BBC: “The biggest broadcasting event in our 90 year history”

Re-Posted on August 14, 2012 by Steve Allison

from: Adobe Digital Media Blog

A blog post from the BBC Director General Mark Thompson has paid tribute to the Olympian efforts of everyone at the BBC who delivered what he calls “the biggest broadcasting event in our 90 year history” referring of course to the 2012 London Games.

The opening ceremony entered the record books as the most-watched programs in the history of the BBC, and figures across all 24 channels of sport were astonishingly high.

While the top ten events took most of the internet feeds, 50 percent of consumption was for ‘less popular’ events, validating the BBC’s decision to have all sports, all the time, with rewind and catch-up capabilities.

There was also clear evidence of viewers taking the Olympics with them throughout the day. Looking at how people were accessing the BBC coverage online, PC usage peaked at lunchtime, mobile peaked after work around 6pm and tablet use was highest around 9pm. These truly were the world’s first digital games.


More interesting details pointed out by the BBC include:

The Opening Ceremony drew a peak broadcast audience of 27.1 million people (including the red button), of which 9.2 million were via the mobile site and 2.3 million on tablets

  • On the busiest day, the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won Gold and it shifted 700 Gb/s
  • Chapter marking enabled audiences to go back to key event moments instantly – receiving an average 1.5 million clicks per day – 13,000 clicks alone for Bolt’s 100m Final win
  • The first week of the games was the most popular ever for BBC Sport Online with a total of 34.7 million browsers 50 million requests for the BBC Sport’s live video interactive streams and more than 106 million requests for BBC Olympic video content across all online platform
  • BBC Sport Online’s most requested live video stream was of the Tennis Singles Finals, where Andy Murray and Serena Williams were victorious.

Changing the world through digital experiences requires a shared vision. By working with the BBC, an organization with a mandate to push technology boundaries sand introduce innovative new services to its viewers, Adobe and all the broadcast partners have delivered an incredible feat of broadcast engineering both online and on devices.

As a publicly funded service, the BBC has delivered tremendous value to UK citizens, not only via traditional broadcast, but also through the delivery of the games online and across devices. Adobe, through elements of Adobe’s Project Primetime, is extremely proud of the role it played in helping the BBC deliver its outstanding Olympics coverage and of the deep partnerships formed with the BBC’s Future Media team.

Some nice user comments we’ve seen:

I think that I just got a lifetimes value from my license fee in 2 weeks!! – Mike Thomsett

I’ve always thought the License Fee was worth paying; now I think that more than ever. The BBC isa credit to Britain and sets the standard to which broadcasters around the world aspire…Thank you BBC, I have fallen in love with you again – Andrew McNeil

We would like to congratulate the BBC and its leadership for the vision, collaboration, passion and drive that has set a new bar for broadcast, extending far beyond what we know today as “television.” London 2012 has set the stage for every broadcaster around the world to bring TV content and new digital experiences online.

UPDATE (August 14): BBC today posted more statistics from the streaming of the London Games showing significant mobile and tablet usage. See the full details on the BBC Blog


[BBC] Consumption of video content on mobile has been perhaps the key takeaway from the two weeks: we saw 12 million requests for video on mobile across the whole of the Games.

We’ve had 9.2 million browsers to our mobile site and Olympics app over the course of the Games (and over 2.3 million browsers on tablet). While PC and tablet usage has generally peaked and dipped at different times of the day, mobile consumption has increased steadily from the morning to a plateau in the early afternoon, before dipping away in conjunction with TV viewing in the evening. It’s obvious: people have their mobiles with them 24/7, and have been using our app and mobile site to keep up to date with the action wherever they are.

From London to Mars – Adobe Media Server delights viewers with out-of-this world video content

Adobe’s mission is to “Change the World through Digital Experiences”– but our customers challenge that statement more and more every day – Today, NASA announced that Adobe Media Server on Amazon Web Services is powering the live streaming used to provide a real-time glimpse of life on the Red Planet through the eyes of Curiosity.   


[Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]

Check out the live stream:

Amazon Web Services issued a great case study how Adobe Media Server was used in combination with numerous other technologies to stream live, the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity.

NASA/JPL’s live video streaming architecture was developed on a combination of Adobe Flash Media Server, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances running the popular nginx caching tier, Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon Route 53 for DNS management, and Amazon CloudFront for content delivery. [ Source: Amazon Blog]

I am continually impressed how our customers over the past 10 years continue to push Adobe Media Server to new heights and drive new and bigger ideas. I say this as we continue to experience the XXX Olympics in awesome quality and scale on more devices than ever before. If you’re in London, the BBC is streaming the games also with Adobe Media Server and it looks fabulous – the same technology to stream video from Mars! (Read more from another Blog post, I wrote)

NASA and Amazon have done an incredible job configuring the servers to be resilient and scalable on an elastic network that can easily grow to meet the demand of great content like this. Have a look at their diagram of the systems used.


[Image Credit: Amazon Web Services]

Perhaps the appropriate action is that we should expand Adobe’s mission to “Changing the Solar System through Digital Experiences“. Great job Amazon and NASA!