Thursday, February 21, 2008

Internet and Mobile rights for Olympic Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been negotiating agreements for distribution of content from Olympic games for the Internet and on mobile phones, separate from the traditional TV broadcasting rights.

The IOC launched a tender process for Internet and Mobile Rights in China in early 2007. For the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, internet and mobile platform exhibition rights within China have been awarded to, who also happen to have the "over-the-air" (that is broadcast) rights.

i-CABLE Sports Limited won the tender for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, as well as for London in 2012 within Hong Kong.

It may not appear to make sense in the age of the global Internet to have specific geographic territories allocated for Internet rights. The reasoning is outlined in the Olympic Marketing Fact File:
The IOC is the owner of the broadcast rights, including television, mobile and internet, for the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games. The IOC is responsible for allocating Olympic broadcast rights to media companies throughout the world through the negotiation of rights agreements. The IOC manages Olympic broadcast partnerships to ensure that the long-term interests of the Olympic Movement are protected. ...

Increased host broadcast coverage has afforded the Olympic broadcast partners greater programming opportunities in more sports and enabled the broadcast partners to deliver more complete Olympic coverage to their audiences around the world. The IOC works in partnership with its broadcasters to ensure that an increasing amount of live coverage is available, and that the latest technologies, inclduding HDTV, live coverage on the internet and coverage on mobile phones is available in as many territories as possible. ...

2004 Athens ... Live coverage is also available on the internet in several territories for the first time. ...

2006 Turin ... The Olympic broadcasters also maximised opportunities in new media technology, providing viewers with more access and greater choice through the Internet, mobile phones and multiple television channels. Telvision coverage is offered for the first time in HDTV and coverage is available for the first time on the mobile phone. ...

The TV Rights and New Media Commission is responsible for preparing and implementing the overall IOC strategy for future broadcast
rights negotiations.

To this end, the Commission collects marketing intelligence and consults with experts, determines the rights and benefits packages to be sold, and organises the tender and negotiation process. The Commission also deals with issues pertaining to the current broadcast rights agreements. The IOC has signed long-term broadcast agreements for the Olympic Games in all major markets, up to 2008. ...

From: Olympic Marketing Fact File, IOC, 2008

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