Beijing expects 4 bil viewers for Olympics

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BEIJING - Some four billion people are expected to watch the 2008 Beijing Olympics on television, a billion more than the Athens Games in 2004, state media reported Wednesday.

"The figure will be one billion more than that of the 2004 Athens Olympics, and I believe we can achieve that goal," Xinhua news agency quoted Ma Guoli, Chief Operation Officer of Beijing Olympics Dissemination Corporation Ltd, as saying.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) received about $2.5 billion for the broadcasting rights for the Turin 2006 Winter Games and the Beijing Summer Olympics.

In March, the IOC issued a tender for mainland China for the sale of Internet and mobile phone platform rights for next August's Games, after already selling over-the-air TV rights to state broadcaster CCTV.

China in January said it would launch two satellites this year dedicated to broadcasting Olympic television and radio coverage.
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