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July 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Danny Boyle

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle has said that he is aiming to create a “live film” spectacular at London’s Olympic Stadium tonight (Friday) for his “Isles of Wonder” opening ceremony. While some news outlets have estimated that 4 billion people will be watching his production (the London Daily Mail put the possible number at 8 billion, a billion more than the entire population of the planet), Britain’s Guardian newspaper scoffed at that figure, contending today (Friday) that it is fanciful. The Guardian pointed out that only 1.4 billion households on Earth have a television set. Moreover, most are in Asia, which will be asleep when the opening ceremony is televised. The Guardian concluded, “Britain doesn’t need overinflated viewing figures to prove that we can put on a good event. The wild exaggerations make the truth seem shabby and set us up for a let-down when the real numbers are released.” How many will be watching on mobile devices or on computer screens? Well, so far as the U.S. is concerned, hardly anyone. NBC, which has said that every event at the Olympics will be available for viewing online, presumably does not regard the opening and closing ceremonies as being among those events. A network spokesman said on Thursday that the two ceremonies “are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large primetime audiences that gather together to watch them.” The network did put up some clips taken during rehearsals “so viewers know what to look forward to in primetime on NBC.” In any event, the ceremony will not be available live anywhere in the U.S. It is being delayed 3 1/2 hours for the East Coast and 6 1/2 hours for the West. The ceremony will be televised live by more than 100 countries, however, and some people with a bit of technical savvy have rigged up their computers with so-call VPN (virtual private network) software that will allow them to log in from one of those countries. (Most will be accessing British servers and watching the ceremony via the BBC, which will be carrying it at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time or 1:00 p.m. Pacific time.)