Digital Olympic Games set to begin

Coverage to include video content on up to 14 live streams

TORONTO -- Let the first fully digital Olympic Games begin.

Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium unveiled its digital offerings for the 2010 Vancouver Games, promising to deliver from Friday's opening ceremonies every second of every competition live at CTVOlympics.ca and RDSolympiques.ca.

The digital event coverage will include 2,200 hours of video content delivered on up to 14 concurrent live streams, and across the broadcast, social media, Xbox and mobile platforms, among others.

Alon Marcovici, vp of digital media and research at the CTV-led Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, said the digital Games content will reach Canadians where they control and consume their media.

"This is the first Games where freely interactive and experiential viewing is an opportunity for Canadians," Marcovici said as he predicted Canadians will be leaning forward to view the Olympics on their computer or smartphone screens as much as they lean back on their living room couch in front of the TV set.

CTV chose Silverlight as an online video player to stream content from its consortium's Canadian networks, including TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, V and RDS, in addition to another nine feeds from the world broadcast.

The Canadian digital offerings aren't out to change media habits, only reinforce them, said Marcovici.

So social media users can access branded fan pages on Facebook, Twitter updates or a CTV-branded Youtube channel.

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The CTV-led consortium also plans online destinations for user-generated content, and has released a CTVOlympics.ca mobile app to offer instant Games updates and notifications, video, medal results, a viewers' guide and guide users to alternative Vancouver 2010 content online.

CTV will also archive the entire Olympics for on-demand viewing. Most video coverage will land online within 15 minutes, later in the day for cable VOD and within three days for Xbox viewing.

Marcovici said CTV isn't holding back content. The call-up delay is due more to the proprietary set-ups of the various platforms targeted for on-demand viewing.

At the same time, the Canadian TV exec added the broadcast consortium's digital offerings will be complementary to the main TV coverage: "People will gravitate to the biggest screen. If you don't watch the Games on TV, you will have alternatives," Marcovici said.
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