Through which online medium did you plan to watch the Olympics through? If you’re in the US or Europe then your options are limited. But in some countries, YouTube will be a possibility.
With just days to go until the Beijing 2008 Olympics kicks off in China, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) has announced a deal with Google meaning coverage of the games will appear on YouTube.
There is a channel dedicated to the Games, on which there will be about three hours of footage uploaded by the IOC on a daily basis. The only problem is: you probably won’t be able to watch it.
The deal covers 77 territories, including countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East such as India, the Republic of Korea, Nigeria and Indonesia. The channel will be geo-blocked to everyone resident in other countries.
Why these countries? Because they are the territories in which the IOC has failed to sell exclusive rights for online coverage. In an effort to combat piracy, it was decided that a YouTube channel would be the best solution.
IOC Highlight Reels
The content on the channel will include highlight reels and daily wrap-ups. No live coverage will make it to YouTube however, with that being reserved as the domain of those media companies willing to pay for the privilege.
The IOC itself will supply the footage, between 500 and 800 segments during the course of the Games. While YouTube will be allowed to sell advertising around the channel, it will only be to official Olympic sponsors.
The content is only expected to reach around 200 million people due to the small numbers of online video watchers in the countries covered. But it will hopefully mean people choose the official footage rather than illegally shot amateur efforts.
Other Side Of The Fence
Things are different in other countries. In the US, NBC holds all the cards, and are forcing people to use Vista and Silverlight to watch live footage. In China, the only option is CCTV.com, the online arm of China Central Television.
I’m glad people everywhere will have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, but I personally think the YouTube channel should be available to all, even those of us in the countries where broadcast deals have already been struck.
As this isn’t the case, piracy in these countries will still be a problem. Which begs the question: why bother with this channel in the first place?
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- NBC Olympics Live Online Coverage To Be Used As Research Lab For Future Multimedia Events
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- Pirate Olympics: Alternative Ways to Watch The Olympics
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