Games a global TV gold mine


If you tuned into the Olympics, whether on tele­vi­sion or your smart­phone, then you be­long to a multi-bil­lion dol­lar club of 5 bil­lion peo­ple.

As the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee launches its Olympic Chan­nel, here are five things to know about the big­gest broad­cast­ing op­er­a­tion on the planet, a com­bi­na­tion of tech­nol­ogy and busi­ness be­ing raised by the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion to ever-new lev­els.

From New York to Tokyo and Buenos Aires to Lon­don, peo­ple all over the world tuned in for the few sec­onds it took Ja­maica’s Usain Bolt to run the 100m.

To make that hap­pen, the sig­nal was sent by the Olympic Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, which is un­der the con­trol of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, and sent to four satel­lites, then beamed back down.

More than 7,000 tech­ni­cians in blue T-shirts worked in a cen­ter re­sem­bling mis­sion con­trol, with the walls cov­ered in screens, to de­liver footage from the Games filmed by 1,200 cam­era op­er­a­tors. More than 7,000 hours of con­tent were beamed around the world.

The Olympics is about money as much as sport and one ma­jor ex­change of money is in sell­ing broad­cast rights.

The rights hold­ers pay a pre­mium for ex­clu­sive trans­mis­sion of the Games.

“Rev­enue for trans­mis­sion rights keeps go­ing up. At Rio, it came to more than $3.5 bil­lion,” said Yian­nis Exar­chos, CEO of Olympic broad­cast­ing.

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