The 2008 Olympic Games all set to start with the usual mixture of daft opening ceremonies and navel-gazing about British hopes, particularly in athletics, to look forward to again.

However, the Beijing Games are likely to throw up a genuinely interesting first.

Even in such a short space of time since the last Olympics were held in Athens, the way we absorb news and information has changed dramatically.

In just four years the way in which the media – both old and new – covers such large, global events has been revolutionised.

So are you ready for the Olympics onslaught?

We’re used to near saturation coverage on the television, but these days we’ll get Olympics news, views, updates and live feeds beamed at us from all sorts of different channels.

It isn’t just the big players in old media, either. For the 2008 Games we can expect all manner of media organisations, interest groups and individuals to add to the mix.

Add in the controversy of allowing China to stage such a high-profile event and you can probably increase the intensity by another few levels.

There’s a few interesting pieces already out there regarding coverage of the 2008 Olympics.

At we are told that UK media organisations alone are sending “unprecedented levels of staff to cover the Beijing Olympics in what promises to be a major test of their cross-media operations”.

We’ll still have the obligatory live TV coverage courtesy of the BBC and their ultra-trendy trailers.

But there will also be online coverage from Aunty on a much greater scale than ever before and there will be iPlayer for those who want to catch up on sporting success and failure but also want their beauty sleep. Indeed, the time difference between London and Beijing offers the Beeb the perfect opportunity to showcase their 24/7 multi-media prowess.

Equally, The Times will use Beijing 2008 to work more closely with News Corp sister titles globally to maintain 24-hour Times Online coverage.

We may think we’ve witnessed near saturation coverage of previous Olympics, but its safe to say we ain’t see nothing yet.

The big question is, will this cross-media coverage enhance the Games experience or subject us to information overload so we experience overkill on an Olympic level?

And will the issue of censorship continue to rear its head?

Some are already asking whether, despite all the technology at our disposal, Beijing 2008 will be micro-managed by Chinese authorities to such an extent that parallels will be drawn with Games previously held under communist regimes. Will we get the full, clear picture, or the sanitised and officially approved version?

It will be more difficult than ever to escape the Olympics – although starting a 10-day holiday 24 hours before the opening ceremony might help.

It will be interesting, once the Games draws to a close and the countdown to London 2012 begins in earnest, to see what sort of brave new world we are left with.


One response »

  1. le craic says:

    Not looking forward to all this coverage either. I have even less interest in it this time round because of where it’s being held. The BBC trailers are excellent though

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