Friday, 8 August 2008

Beijing Olympics: A test for TV

The Beijing Olympic Games will surely be a test for the TV industry. For the first time in Olympic history, there will be complete global online coverage of the events.

Major broadcasters such as NBC and BBC, technology providers like Adobe and Microsoft and content networks like Google's Youtube are all getting ready for the online battle.The Athens 2004 Olympics broke all global TV viewing records with near 4 billion unique people watching the games at least once, and a cumulative audience at around 40 billion. However, at that time online broadcast coverage was only available to a few territories.

But times are a-changing. This will be the first games when online streaming video will be availabile to mass audiences. NBC will offer more than 2,000 hours of live video coverage and 3,000 hours of on-demand video on its website. The BBC holds the exclusive rights for the Olympics content in the UK and will bring daily highlights to its iPlayer service. Meanwhile, Youtube has managed to get the rights for online video coverage of the event in the 77 territories that aren't officially covered by Olympic sponsors.

The increasing popularity of streaming video combined with the expectations raised by the Beijing Games will surely boost web traffic and possibly be the greatest test the broadcast and telco industries have faced to date.

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