MOSCOW, February 27 (RIA Novosti) – The RIA Novosti media holding has successfully performed its role as the host national news agency and photo pool of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the closing ceremony for which was held on February 23.
Representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have said that RIA Novosti delivered multimedia Olympic content with great efficiency.
The agency’s work has also been praised by the subscribers of its Olympic projects, whose total number exceeded 12 million unique users, the 500,000 visitors of the Olympic exhibition projects organized by RIA Novosti, and the partners who have posted over 76,000 photographs from the agency’s free and commercial stocks on their resources.
The RIA team will be equally professional when covering the Paralympic Winter Games, which will begin in Sochi on March 7.
Free access to Olympic values
The RIA Novosti’s management and staff believe that they have achieved their main goal as the host national news agency and photo pool of the Sochi Games, which was to give quick, full and broad access to information about the Olympic events to its readers, subscribers and partners.
“RIA Novosti provided top-level Olympic coverage. We have achieved all the targets we have set ourselves for the Games, both in terms of quantity and quality. The 2014 Olympic Winter Games have been incredibly successful for Russia, and we believe that we have contributed to this,” said First Deputy Editor-in-Chief Maxim Filimonov. “Our photographers, journalists, the technical staff and the agency as a whole have shown very high professionalism and integrity. We are proud that the IOC described our work as “fantastic”! But this great success would have been impossible without the assistance of the IOC, the Olympic Games Organizing Committee, the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian authorities.”
The IOC leadership also praised the agency’s efforts to deliver Olympic content. Speaking at a regular meeting of the IOC Press Commission in Sochi, IOC Press Commission Head Kevan Gosper said that RIA Novosti is the only agency that is capable of delivering multimedia Olympic content in such a large country as Russia and highly praised the agency’s efforts to produce and deliver media content and photo information on behalf of the IOC.
Before and during the Games, RIA Novosti produced 57 Olympic infographics, over 9,000 news items in Russian and 244 Olympic videos, as well as 1,500 Olympic items, including text information, photo, video and infographics, in foreign languages.
Over 600 Russian media outlets received RIA Novosti’s Olympic photographs from the shooting location within 90 seconds, and the total audience of RIA partners who subscribed to commercial Olympic products and also to the free Olympics 2014 photobank exceeded 187 million.
After inspecting the work of the free photobank, which was established to give Russian media outlets free access to RIA Novosti’s exclusive photo content, IOC President Thomas Bach said this project is promoting Olympic values and expressed his gratitude to the RIA Novosti team for their illuminating coverage of the Games.
Roundup of Olympic victories
The R-Sport newswire service and news portal was launched in mid-2012 to cover the Sochi Games and has grown into a leading media outlet delivering top sports news content in Russia. During the Sochi Games, R-Sport produced over 6,000 items for the Olympic newswire, of which more than 1,700 were exclusive comments from medalists, coaches and experts. R-Sport also published about 50 interviews, over 100 photo galleries, videos and infographics.
“The R-Sport team’s work during the Sochi Olympics can be described as a major achievement. Our subscribers and readers received over 6,000 news items, which is an absolute record considering that these were original items prepared almost in real time. These news items were available on RIA Novosti’s wire services and websites, including rsport.ru and ria.ru,” said Vasily Konov, Head of the R-Sport Desk at RIA Novosti.
He said that the R-Sport team consisted of 70 journalists, 40 of whom were working round the clock in Sochi.
“Good teamwork, a responsible attitude and high professionalism have enabled us to do what no one has ever done in Russia,” Konov said. “We have been commended by the IOC and its president, Mr. Thomas Bach, who visited our group during the Games, as well as by President of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko. Our work at the Games has put us on a par with such giants of the global news business as Reuters, AP and AFP, and we intend to retain our positions and continue to grow.”
The R-Sport Olympic projects welcomed over 8 million unique visitors, including 5.2 million visitors of its main Olympic resource, sochi2014.rsport.ru, where the most visited pages were the Olympic Medal Tally and the Olympic Roundup. As of February 23, the number of visits to R-Sport’s Olympic resources exceeded 22 million.
Citizen journalists helped cover the Sochi Olympics as part of three projects on the YouReporter website. The first, Olympic Torch Relay, launched in September 2013, allowed users to follow the torch’s progress on an interactive map. Participants from all over Russia sent the project editors over 150 submissions.
A national contest was held to find a citizen journalist for the second project, Reporter’s Diary – Full Speed Ahead to Sochi. The winner, Vyacheslav Kasyanov, wrote about his journey to Greece, the homeland of the Olympics, and covered the opening of the games in Sochi, competitions and cultural events.
The third project, Sochi Olympics, involved three YouReporter special correspondents and citizen journalists who travelled to the Olympics on their own.
The Sochi Olympics were covered in eight languages on social media – English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, German, Farsi, Russian and French – including the world’s eight biggest social networks – VKontankte, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo, YouTube, and Odnoklassniki.
The RIA Novosti Group published at least 5,000 items on the Olympics in Russian, generating more than four million user comments on the site, almost three million additional comments on RIA Novosti’s social media pages, and half a million shares.
Equal opportunity venue
Reporters from 245 Russian and 259 foreign media outlets worked day and night in the Sochi Media Center for non-accredited journalists organized by the RIA Novosti Group. Soon after opening it was visited by President Vladimir Putin, who was taken on a short tour of the center and had a chat with journalists.
The center hosted 122 press events for visitors in different formats, including video conferencing with the RIA Novosti International Multimedia Press Center in Moscow, as well as about 300 live video broadcasts. After the competitions journalists had an opportunity to meet with all Russian medalists of the Olympic Winter Games and their coaches.
During its operation, the Sochi Media Center was visited by over 4,000 guests – journalists, athletes, regional administration officials, and press service employees. It hosted Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, Krasnodar Territory Governor Alexander Tkachyov, Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov, and Sochi 2014 ambassadors Irina Rodnina, Maria Kiselyova, Iosif Kobzon, Lev Leshchenko, Svetlana Zhurova, Yury Bashmet and Fyodor Bondarchyuk, to name a few.
The Sochi Media Center welcomed an average of 700 visitors per day, and the 24-hour call center received over 30,000 calls since the start of accreditation. The center’s mobile applications for iOS and Android were downloaded almost 7,000 times; about 2,000 journalists from the United States and Europe used these apps in their work.
The Media Center website received over 100,000 page views during the games. The center provided the following services for the media: daily information materials with previews of events at the media center; SMS and e-mail mailing lists; simultaneous translation of events; a terminal for cell phone payments and an ATM; a medical station; self-storage; reference books and maps of Sochi; and a restaurant and bar.
The Sochi Media Center for non-accredited journalists will continue operating through the end of the Paralympic Games.
The Olympics on apps
The 2014 Winter Games mobile application developed by RIA Novosti in cooperation with the Atos IT Company was downloaded more than 170,000 times. The app allowed users to get live results, make their own schedule for the games, receive notifications and share news via social media. According to RIA Novosti, alpine skiing and snowboard were the most popular sports, while the app was most often downloaded on iOS-based devices.
Another Olympic app, Second Screen, was developed by RIA Novosti in cooperation with Russia’s First Channel to complement live television broadcasts of the Olympics. During the competitions, the app highlighted interesting moments from the history of different sports or the lives of the athletes, and provided statistics, facts, and definitions of terms and concepts for each sport. By the end of the Olympic Games this app had been used over 1.6 million times.
RIA Novosti made its Olympic content available in a broad range of formats. Apart from the Internet and social media, it used unconventional platforms, such as photo exhibitions, media facades, and video panels on vehicles.
The exhibition “Russia at the Olympics” at the Multimedia Art Museum featured over 200 photos by renowned photojournalists as well as archival Olympic video, showing the history of the Olympic movement since 1952. At “Victory Season” in Manezh, RIA Novosti displayed a collection of 300 modern photos of 15 Olympic winter sports, slideshows of the best photos of past years, including those by World Press Photo winners, photos from the 1980 Olympics and many other unique images.
All in all, RIA Novosti staged six exhibitions in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi attended by over half a million people.
RIA Novosti also used media facades and video panels to broadcast images from the Olympics. Muscovites and guests of the capital could watch Olympic highlights projected on the facades of the Hydroproekt building, on Mozhaiskoye Motorway and at the crossing of Leningradsky Motorway and the Moscow Ring Road. These giant projections allowed people to see all the details of events and feel the Olympic atmosphere. Moscow residents could also watch the Olympic events at Izmailovsky Park where LED screens provided by the company 3stars displayed multimedia Olympic content from Sochi.
Altogether, these information screens reach over 50 million people.
In September 2011, the IOC granted the status of host national news agency and photo pool to the RIA Novosti Group, which includes the R-Sport news agency.
In March 2013, RIA Novosti was designated the host national news agency and photo pool for the Paralympic Games in Sochi, which will start on March 7, 2014.
RIA Novosti sent a large team to Sochi: 240 reporters, photographers, software experts and other specialists were involved in covering the competitions, news conferences, festive events and city life throughout the Olympic Games, providing readers and subscribers with all the latest news and multimedia content.