Olympics Expands Online Coverage With YouTube Deal
The Olympics has reached a deal with YouTube to broadcast daily highlights videos, adding to its already large online video content.
YouTube will be allowed to broadcast in 77 Asian, African and Middle Eastern territories that aren’t covered by Olympic sponsors. It will feature between 500 and 800 segments during the games, mostly highlights and daily recaps.
The International Olympic Committee hailed its deal for providing coverage in nations where coverage is traditionally limited. “The IOC’s priority is to ensure that as many people as possible get to experience the magic of the Olympic Games and the inspirational sporting achievements of the Olympic athletes,” said Timo Lumme, the IOC’s director of television and marketing services. “For the first time in Olympic history we will have complete global online coverage.”
The deal expands the Beijing Olympics’ considerable online presence, which includes live video of many events. In the United States, NBC is broadcasting 2,200 hours on NBCOlympics.com. Networks in other countries—such as Britain’s BBC, Canada’s CBC and China’s CCTV—will be offering similar coverage.
Olympic organizers feel it is crucial to use new media to appeal to a younger audience, who generally don’t tune in to the Olympics. People will now be able to follow the Olympics on television, online or on their phones through live coverage or on-demand highlights. “The Olympic Games will be played out on Facebook, YouTube and Flickr whether we like it or not,” says Alex Balfour of the London 2012 organizing committee. “We need to engage not disengage with them.”
The deals reflect a trend of networks and studios to embrace free online video. Sites like Hulu and ESPN360 provide users with legal, high-quality video of movies, television and sports, while allowing companies to control and profit off its content. IOC officials believe the Olympic content “will help reduce piracy, because viewers will opt for professional video over illegal amateur footage.”
Still, Americans will be unable to see many marquee events live, as NBC will not make its primetime events available online until after they have aired on NBC. Viewers who want to see events that took place during the day will have to wait until 8:00 p.m. or find other places online to see them.
“We suspect we’ll spend most of the Olympics cursing NBC for forcing us to watch the Olympics according to their schedule and style, not ours,” writes Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider. “In response, we’ll also try to take advantage of the first truly global medium to see if we can find other sources for the video we want to watch.”