CCTV.com awarded Beijing Olympics rights

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BEIJING -- Internet and mobile platform broadcast rights for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were awarded to CCTV.com, a part of state broadcaster China Central Television, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday in Geneva.

China had 137 million Internet users at the end of 2006, second in the world to the U.S., and its mobile phone users numbered 515 million by August, making it the world's largest user group.

As a member of the Asian Broadcasting Union, CCTV already has acquired over-the-air TV rights for the Beijing Olympics. CCTV reaches nearly all of China's 340 million households.

The IOC is eager to boost deals with new media as it bids to extend the reach of the Olympics to a younger audience and diversify its media contracts for the games.

"We look forward to working with our broadcast partner CCTV and its digital arm, CCTV.com, to bring the excitement of the Olympic Games to a new generation of fans in China," IOC president Jacques Rogge said.

Terms of the Internet and mobile platform deal were not released.

Income from broadcasting and new-media rights for the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympics already has risen nearly 40% from the previous two-game package, which includes the Beijing Olympics, and will be in excess of $3 billion.

The IOC estimates about 15% of that will come from new media, including the Internet and mobile phones. The IOC received about $2.5 billion for broadcasting rights for the Turin 2006 Winter Games and the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.

"By granting digital rights to CCTV.com, the IOC believes CCTV.com's digital team will work closely with the broadcast team at CCTV to develop joint executions across media platforms," said Richard Carrion, a member of the IOC's TV rights and new media commission.

"This will ensure Chinese Olympic fans have access to the best possible Olympic coverage in 2008," he said.

The rights for the Internet and mobile platform broadcast rights in the Chinese mainland were won after vendors submitted bids into a tender issued in March.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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