2008 Beijing Olympics


Road to Beijing
The Hollywood Reporter's yearlong series about the Beijing Olmypics covered every aspect of the media and government preparations for China's first Summer Games. Go to index

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4.7 billion watched Beijing Olympics
The Beijing Olympics attracted 4.7 billion viewers, or roughly 70% of Earth's population, from Aug. 8-24, making it the most-watched Games ever, according to Nielsen Media Research. Full story

Aug. 28, 2008

China's access to iTunes restored
Users can once again access iTunes in mainland China. Apple's online music store was fully blocked last week after it emerged that Olympic athletes in Beijing had used the store to download the compilation "Songs for Tibet." Full story

Aug. 27, 2008

John Woo dips into Olympic talent pool
The Olympics seem to have provided a little inspiration for John Woo, who is talking up his desire to make a sports movie with champion hurdler Liu Xiang and multiple gold medalist diver Guo Jingjing. Full story

Aug. 26, 2008

Olympics gain traction in India
With India creating history at the Beijing Olympics by winning its first-ever individual gold and two bronze medals, statecaster Doordarshan’s closing ceremony telecast was watched by about 30 million viewers across India’s estimated 70 million cable TV homes. Full story

Aug. 25, 2008

Commentary: Thoughts for NBC after the Summer Games
What lessons can NBC take away from its 17 days in the sun? Full story

Australia's Seven has 'greatest Games ever'
The Beijing Olympics were the "greatest Games ever" -- at least for Australian rights-holder the Seven Network, Seven boss David Leckie said Monday. Full story

Olympics set online video fight in motion
The Summer Olympics set the stage for a battle between Microsoft and Adobe Systems over the Internet's next big competition. Full story

Jimmy Page joins local stars in Beijing
Musicians Jimmy Page, Leona Lewis and Placido Domingo joined Chinese performers including Wei Wei, Andy Lau and Karen Mok at the 2008 Beijing Olympics' closing ceremony Sunday night. Full story

Aug. 24, 2008

Beijing Olympics end with massive viewership
The Beijing Olympics ended Sunday, attracting nearly all of China's 1.3 billion people to their televisions, making it "likely to be the most widely watched Games in Olympic history," according to International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge. Full story

Beijing Games most-watched U.S. TV event
NBC Universal smashed yet another historic ratings benchmark: The Beijing Olympics is the most-watched U.S. television event of all time. Full story

Fans watch Olympics online
The European Broadcasting Union has said that over 120 million video streams were downloaded of the Beijing Olympic Games from its members' Web sites and from the EBU aggregated live video portal. Full story

Aug. 23, 2008

Olympics to break all-time viewer record
NBC is rapidly closing on another historic ratings benchmark: The Beijing Games is set to become the most-watched U.S. television event of all time. Full story

NBA, Tsingtao are post-Olympics partners
NBA commissioner David Stern and Tsingtao Brewery chairman Jin Zhiguo has announced a marketing partnership set to feature TV and online campaigns aimed at growing China's audience for basketball. Full story

Aug. 22, 2008

Will NBC see ratings gold in the fall?
NBC is crowing that the Beijing Olympics is poised to become the most-watched event in U.S. television history. But even a promotional platform of this magnitude doesn't necessarily mean the upcoming crop of new NBC primetime series, heavily promoted during the Games, will see ratings gold in the fall. Full story

Youku strong at edge of Olympics
Apart from a brief dip in traffic during the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a steady 20 million people have visited Youku.com each day during the Games. Full story

Wang: Media biased on China, Tibet
Foreign media are unable to provide a balanced account on China and its southwestern region of Tibet because they know little about either, Beijing Games organizers vp Wang Wei said Friday. Full story

Olympic piracy predictions wrong
Doomsayers predicted it would be the Olympics of piracy. But instead, law-abiding consumers are turning on to Internet video on PCs -- and even on mobile phones -- in unprecedented numbers. Full story

Aug. 21, 2008

POSTCARD: Marketing to Chinese in their 20s
Prosperous, tech-savvy Chinese twentysomethings are prime targets for advertisers here, the kind of audience the Beijing Olympics is providing ever greater opportunities to reach. But figuring out how to do that remains a work in progress. Full story

Games went off without a hitch for EBU
Fernando Pardo, the European Broadcasters Union's head of operations at the Beijing Olympics, said Thursday that he will retire in December with the satisfaction of knowing that the 2008 Games went "much better than expected." Full story

'Hulk' no match for Yao Ming and co.
Universal Pictures' "The Incredible Hulk" started its Chinese screening schedule Wednesday, losing an opening-night match against the Chinese basketball team. Full story

Aug. 20, 2008

Broadcaster's COO addresses Games' legacy
With four days until the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese half of the power duo masterminding its broadcast thinks that for all the change hoped for with the arrival of the Games, Chinese television will remain much the same when they end. Full story

Telemundo attracts more Olympics viewers
NBC-owned Latino broadcast network Telemundo has drawn 12 million unique viewers in the first 10 days of the Beijing Olympics, surpassing by 12% the audience for the entire run of coverage for the 2004 Games on Telemundo. Full story

BLOG: NBC commentators vs. volleyball-hating viewers
So how is NBC's Beijing Olympics coverage so far? Depends whom you ask. Here's some quotes from an NBC Beijing Olympics coverage team and some feedback from The Live Feed comment board (culled from posts here, here and here). Full story

Chinese gold medalists to tour Hong Kong
China's Olympic gold medalists will visit Hong Kong on a three-day tour Aug. 29-31, the Hong Kong government said Wednesday. Full story

Aug. 19, 2008

NBC gets an additional $15 mil in ad sales
With the possibility of makegoods now off the table, NBC Sports & Olympics continues to write more business in the last week of the Beijing Games. Full story

Nielsen: China on track for record ad year
China posted a 17% jump in advertising for the first half of 2008 and can look forward to record full-year numbers as Olympics media buying helped offset the effects of May's deadly earthquake, a new Nielsen study shows. Full story

Hunan still in the game alongside CCTV
Hunan Satellite TV, competing with Olympics broadcasts on China Central Television, has created edgy programming as an alternative to the state-run flagship network. Full story

Olympics dominance continues at NBC
NBC is running out of ways to describe its stellar Olympics ratings. During last week's Summer Games coverage, the network enjoyed the most-watched week in total viewers outside of the traditional broadcast season since the Atlanta Games in 1996. Full story

Summer Games huge Internet, viral hit
The 2008 Summer Olympics has become one of the biggest Internet and viral hits in sports history. Full story

ESPN throwing its hat in the rings
Count ESPN in for the bidding on the 2014 and 2016 Olympics in the next year or so after the Beijing Games conclude this week. Full story

Samsung praying for Rain at Games
Samsung, Korea's handset leader and the Beijing Olympics' sole mobile handset sponsor, will try to tap a nonsports Asian celebrity to help push its products, including mobile TV, into the closely guarded Chinese media marketplace. Full story

Aug. 18, 2008

NBC not as splashy without Phelps races
NBC's second Sunday of Olympic competition came in about flat compared with the comparable night four years ago. Full story

Michael Phelps' success has a ripple effect
Michael Phelps is ready for his close-up. The 14-time gold medalist said Monday that he hopes his success will translate into broader exposure for swimming, with agent Peter Carlisle adding that he will consider film and TV offers "for the good of the sport." Full story

China's Liu Xiang withdraws from Olympics
In a major blow to China's hopes to win a gold medal in track at the Beijing Games, defending Olympic hurdle champion Liu Xiang withdrew Monday because of a foot injury. Full story

Olympics boost H.K. primetime TV
Carrying the Olympics in real time has meant a viewership boost for Hong Kong broadcasters, but segments of the audience here have been eager to complain about the primetime coverage nonetheless. Full story

Phelps still no household name in China
Sorry, Michael Phelps, but it might take more than eight Olympic gold medals to make you a household name in China. Full story

Aug. 17, 2008

NBC has best Saturday since 1990
Michael Phelps' record eighth gold medal catapulted NBC to its best Saturday night ratings since 1990, with almost 40 million tuning in around 11 p.m. ET to see Phelps and the U.S. team win in the 4x100m medley relay. Full story

Michael Phelps wins 8; NBC wins, too
On Sunday, the day Michael Phelps won his record-breaking eighth gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, NBC said its networks have -- in eight days of broadcasting Phelps' races in primetime in the U.S. -- reached a record 185 million viewers. Full story

Aug. 16, 2008

Olympics strong at start of second weekend
More than 25 million viewers tuned in Friday night for the start of NBC's second Olympics weekend, a night highlighted by Michael Phelps' record-tying seventh gold medal in Beijing. Full story

Aug. 15, 2008

NBC's Olympics ratings steady
Despite a sixth gold medal win by Michael Phelps, NBC's Beijing Olympics coverage Thursday was roughly on par with the previous night. Full story

Ethnic groups faked at opening cevocals by Hong Kong film hero Jackie Chan. Full story

McCain devotes $6 mil to Olympics ads
A week after the Obama campaign spent $5 million on advertising during NBC's Beijing Olympics telecasts, the McCain campaign has committed $6 million for its own flight of commercials. Full story

Aug. 4, 2008

Terrorist attack not reported on CCTV
Four days before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the nightly news on host broadcaster China Central Television did not report the worst terrorist attack in the country since the early 1990s. The details of Monday's attack by two minority Uighurs in Kashgar -- 2,100 miles from Beijing -- were reported by the official Xinhua news agency. Full story

Matt Lauer on anchor desk for Olympics
"Today" co-host Matt Lauer, already in China for his daily gig, will co-anchor with Bob Costas coverage of Friday's Olympics opening ceremony. Full story

Olympics hit by Internet ticket scam
Sports fans around the world have been swindled by an international Internet scam that offered thousands of bogus tickets for the Beijing Games, Olympic officials said Monday. Full story

YouTube to host Olympics channel
VOD clips of the Beijing Olympics will be available on YouTube in 77 territories in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the International Olympic Committee said. Full story

Aug. 3, 2008

Opening ceremony coverage extended
NBC's look at rehearsals for Friday's opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics has led the network to extend its tape-delayed coverage a half-hour. Full story

July 31, 2008

Olympics opening ceremony leaked
Olympics organizers on Thursday slammed a South Korean TV station for an unauthorized broadcast of a dress rehearsal for the Games opening ceremony, but the network said it shot the footage legitimately. Full story

Dick Ebersol ready for Olympics
NBC's top man at the Beijing Olympics is excited about athletes breaking records, but he's prepared for any breaking news. Full story

July 30, 2008

IOC OK'd Olympics Web censorship
International Olympic Committee officials have cut a deal with China to allow the blocking of sensitive Web sites from media during the Beijing Games, press chief Kevan Gosper said. Full story

July 29, 2008

NBC ready for Olympics, says executive
Ten days out from the Beijing Olympics, and an NBC executive says things are A-OK. "The infrastructure here is really sound. We feel very good about our build, our plans, our sales," NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said from Beijing. Full story

July 21, 2008

BLOG: Opening ceremony to have 15,000 performers
NBC Sports promised that China is planning to stage the most spectacular opening ceremony ever seen, featuring 15,000 performers and directed by Zhang Yimou. Full story

July 18, 2008

China says it will ban performers
China is tightening the screws on political expression, saying it will ban foreign artists and entertainers who have ever engaged in activities deemed to "threaten national sovereignty."
Full story

July 15, 2008

NBC sales may be Olympic record
With the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics less than a month away, NBC Universal is close to earning a gold medal of its own. Full story

Canada's CBC sets Olympic plan
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. will provide more than 2,400 hours of multiplatform coverage of the Beijing Olympics. Full story

July 9, 2008

Broadcasters, IOC, China agree on coverage
Chinese organizers, under pressure from global broadcasters and the International Olympics Committee, have apparently lifted some restrictions on TV crews for the Beijing Olympics. Full story

July 8, 2008

Olympics broadcasters to meet Wednesday
With one month to go before the Olympics open on Aug. 8, China's work is hardly complete. The government needs to meet its pledge to deliver clean air in one of the world's most polluted cities, and must finish two new subway lines and a railway line. Full story

IOC taps Africa Olympics broadcasters
Beijing Olympics broadcast rights to 37 African territories were awarded to the South African Broadcasting Corp. and the African Union of Broadcasting, the International Olympic Committee said. Full story

NBC takes wraps off Olympics plan
NBC Universal announced the most wide-ranging coverage plan of any Olympics in history, including 225 hours in 17 days on NBC and 3,600 hours total across TV, online and mobile. Full story

July 7, 2008

Artists contributing songs for Olympic team
Several major artists have teamed up with AT&T to provide exclusive motivational songs for the U.S. Olympic Team as it gears up to compete in Beijing. Full story

July 6, 2008

Olympian research effort at NBC

In an attempt to measure consumption of what at 3,600 hours will be the largest amount of Olympics coverage in history, NBC Universal is pulling out all the stops. Full story