London 2012: Canadian TV Consortium to Lose 'Tens of Millions' on Olympic Investment (Exclusive)

3:18 PM PST 08/01/2012 by Etan Vlessing

The Bell Media-led group has so far earned impressive ratings for its Summer Games coverage, and is ahead of ad revenue targets, but making money has proved a losing battle.

TORONTO - The math is in and the Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium has finished out of the medals when it comes turning a profit on its investment in broadcasting the 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London Games.

Bell Media, which leads the consortium of cable and conventional TV channels airing the Summer Games, on Wednesday said it expects to lose “tens of millions” after the Summer Games in London wrap.

The ratings for the consortium’s London 2012 coverage are so far impressive, and the consortium is ahead of its ad revenue estimates.

But it’s still a no-win situation when it comes to breaking even or making money, according to sources.

The consortium is near to breaking even for the London Games telecast, according to estimates, but remains in a deep hole after factoring in the Vancouver Games investment.

News that the Canadian consortium is losing money comes on the same day that the CBC reached terms with the IOC for the exclusive domestic rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games.

Bell Media-predecessor CTVglobemedia and Rogers Communications secured the rights to the Vancouver and London 2012 Summer Games for a record $153 million.

But Bell Media pulled out of the bidding for the upcoming Sochi and Rio de Janiero Games, after failing to meet license fee targets set by the IOC.

The consortium’s London Games coverage is following 2010 Vancouver in giving Canadians a wall of content on free, over-the-air, cable and digital platforms to meet consumer demand.

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