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BBC highlight importance of the second screen in sports broadcasting and debate

Barnaby Read     on 04 Mar 4:14 pm     Horse Racing     913   0  

Source: Google Images

Sporting discussion and debate is increasingly being played out on social and digital media platforms where people from all over the world can come together in a variety of platforms to share their views on the latest sporting events, news and anything else relevant that gets their fingers twitching. Platforms for these types of discussions, where fans, journalists, athletes and official representatives all come together to get their views across, were previously only played out through broadcasting or in meetings of chance. Now, however, we each have access to a whole host of influencers from the sporting world and the humble fan is given the opportunity to reach out and engage with each and every one of those people that influences the sports they enjoy.

It could easily be said that the rise of these platforms could spell the end for the radio and TV phone-in with fans able to engage as they see fit from wherever they are in the world thanks to a smartphone or a laptop. There is though still a thirst for sporting debate on TV and radio and the influence of digital platforms is being seen by broadcasters who look to further the reach and discussion around their programmes by tapping into the online conversations that sit alongside sporting news as it is. With the use of specialist hashtags, social media accounts and the encouragement of sending in questions to panellists, some more traditional forms of media are now embracing new media which at one stage looked determined to eradicate its older siblings.

The likes of Sky Sports and the BBC were right to be threatened by user activity and the potential of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube but, luckily, enough people in the industry have seen the potential of collaboration. One such example is the BBC's dedicated horse racing Twitter account (@PaddockPreview) which launched on February 25th, three days ahead of 5 Live's Cheltenham festival preview in a bid to widen its audience and cater for those unable to attend or listen to the programme. The account was run alongside the programme chaired by the BBC's Francis Keogh and enjoyed great success on the night and has now amassed over 1,500 followers on the back of its first outing. Last Friday we took to Twitter to ask Francis a couple of questions about the account and what this sort of initiative meant for the more traditional forms of sporting discussion.

"@PaddockPreview set up as public service for people who could not make a #cheltpreview night," Keogh explained from his @HonestFrank handle. "Think they all work (TV, radio and social media platforms). People used @PaddockPreview and #cheltpreview while listening to @bbc5live Cheltenham special. Would be interesting to know how many people use social media while following sport. Suspect a very high number..."

Keogh explained to us that the BBC is to use the new account for similar debates around the 'big festivals' with Aintree planned for the next outing whiile users can expect the account to engage around all the latest horse racing news and results in the meantime and be particularly active during Cheltenham. Take not of this digital campaign by BBC and expect a large number of other broadcasters to either strengthen their active, dedicated accounts or launch similar ones around major sports events that feature as part of their programming as they seek to tap into the market of sports fans who consume news online and tempt them to their channels with engaging, digital content.

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