How will BBC website’s Cricket World Cup highlights work?

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If you haven’t heard, the BBC’s secured the rights to publish video highlights of Cricket World Cups on its website. As with most things in our life, we can’t tell whether this is hugely significant or neither here nor there.

The way it’s described, it sounds like short video clips will be an add-on to other web content. A video of all the wickets to have fallen might accompany a match report or a particularly unusual shot might appear within ball-by-ball coverage.

At the same time, the BBC’s apparently allowed to show video clips of up to six minutes per hour of play. For a one-day international – which is what, seven or eight hours – that amounts to a fair chunk of footage. Throw in a bit of punditry and you could make an actual programme out of that. Could such a thing appear on the iPlayer?

Either way, it seems like a good development. We always think that cricket is a sport that lends itself particularly well to highlights. Even live coverage relies heavily on replays of the meaningful bits played between balls, overs and sessions.

In many ways this deal means the BBC will be able to offer the full ‘not really watching but looking up when something happens’ experience.


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  1. I don’t like it. It all seems a bit… new. First the licensing of genetic manipulation of embryos to create designer Frankenstein x-ray baby monsters, now this.

    My children will like it, however. They’ll say, “Hey dad, borrow us your iPad so we can watch some very short highlights of the ICC World Cup of Cricket”, which taken at face value will be difficult to refuse. And then they’ll go off and play Agario or watch porn or something. And that will be the fault of the BBC and the ICC.

  2. Cricket Highlights make decent TV.

    I don’t actually think Cricket Highlights form even a halfway reasonable representation of what was actually going on in a cricket match. The dot balls and the singles vanish, for one thing, but moreover the sense of time disappears.

    Cricket is an unusual sport in that time itself slows down and speeds up, or appears to, during periods of play. In fact it’s that time dilation that probably best characterises any given period of play. On highlight shows we simply see from the clock that massive chunks of time have apparently disappeared, or alternatively that a bunch of clips have come from within a few minutes of each other, but we don’t feel the time… there’s a sense of it that’s missing. The urgency – or the deep freeze.

    I’m not sure what the solution to this is. Perhaps to broadcast more singles and twos. Including the last balls of maidens might help too.

    Incidentally, this might raise tension during highlights, which is their other key problem. You basically know you’re likely to see a chance, a wicket, a boundary, a “meaningful” run (to complete an individual or partnership fifty or century, for instance, or the scoreboard ticking past something-zero-zero) or an incident of ensuing hilarity. A scarpered single when there’s no landmark at stake is likely to be a run-out, for instance, and otherwise we know it’s almost certainly because the batsman’s getting his 50 or whatever.

    It would be nice if sometimes, like in real life, a single is just a single.

  3. I was watching tennis highlights on the BBC recently. Found myself wondering why they were showing the net cord shots. I suppose they’re the equivalent of dot balls. Not interesting in themselves, but they provide context.

  4. Cricket highlights, like all sports highlights, are intrinsically worthless.

    Might as well just go look the score up on Ceefax.

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