Monday, July 5, 2004

Desktop Olympics

During the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, August 13 to 29, 2004, spectators the world over will have a wider range of viewing options than ever before. For the first time the Olympics will be beamed to computers and cell phones during the games.

During the Sydney and Salt Lake City Olympics, the International Olympic Committee conducted web trials involving about 100,000 homes. As a result of the success of this trial, the IOC is now permitting more than a dozen broadcasters, mostly in the US and Europe, to show online video of the Athens Games.

But while many Europeans will be able to see live Olympic coverage on the Internet, Americans will have to settle for tape and post-broadcast delays.

Web-broadcast footage is restricted by the same lucrative broadcast contracts – which are sold by territory – that limit television media. To protect the $793 million NBC paid to secure their coverage rights, employs technology to block viewers from outside the US Likewise, US web surfers won’t be able to access BBC's live coverage. site will check computer Internet addresses to make sure they are going through US Internet service providers. The site will also measure how long it takes data to travel back and forth from their servers to the visiting computer, further weeding out visitors from afar.

US viewers must also verify their identity using a Visa credit card, though at no charge. Not a Visa cardholder? Sorry.

NBC will offer clips of key events in every sport and a daily highlights package at Broadband Olympic footage will appear online only after it is broadcast on television – NBC plans 1,210 hours of coverage on seven networks: NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, USA, Telemundo, and a high-definition channel.

Brief highlights from NBC will also be available to US customers of AT&T Wireless' mMode information service.

Some European broadcasters are limiting online video to broadband, as well. In the United Kingdom, the BBC Web site will simulcast five broadband television feeds and carry as many as 30 highlights at a time.

News websites not affiliated with official broadcasters can’t carry competition video at all; unaffiliated TV stations can show only three highlight segments a day, 2 minutes apiece. anticipates 20 million unique visitors in August, a record for any NBC website. The BBC Sport website, which already averages 1 million unique users per day, also expects record traffic during the Games.

The official ATHENS 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games website – the most comprehensive site, worldwide, for a single sporting event – will feature extensive video and news coverage as well. is hosted on 16,000 servers worldwide to meet the anticipated demand of 5 million visits a day.

Despite video delays for US customers, this move by the IOC and affiliate networks remains a tremendous step forward. NBC will offer, online and off, more than four-times as much coverage for these Olympic games than they offered for the previous four games. The IOC, as well, is now including Internet broadcast rights in their contracts for the upcoming 2008 and 2012 summer games. fb

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the share, I have been readin online all day and this was actully worth reading. Thanks

- Justice SPARROW