Canadians to Get a Record 5,500 Hours of London Olympic Coverage

Summer Olympics in London - Global TV Event of the Year
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The London 2012 Summer Olympics drew huge ratings for broadcasters around the world - from the BBC in the U.K. to NBC in the U.S. While many viewers tuned in live, delayed viewing on TV and digital platforms also drew a crowd. Plus, the Summer Games became the first-ever social media Olympics, with people in many countries turning to Twitter and Facebook to celebrate and comment on winners, losers and old favorites and new-found stars among Olympic athletes - from Usain Bolt to Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. TV network groups that didn't air the Summer Games, meanwhile, reported a hit to ratings and advertising revenue.

Canada's 2012 Games broadcast consortium plans round-the-clock TV coverage and a wall of mobile, computer and tablet streaming content.

TORONTO - Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium plans coverage on four screens and a record 5,500 hours of programming when it beams the 2012 London Olympic Games to Canadians.

"With 26 sports, plus a sizeable time difference and so many people on the go during the Summer, it is important to provide Canadians with a choice on how, when, and where they want to consume London 2012 content,” Adam Ashton, president of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, said.

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

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Ashton said the broadcast consortium had in all around 1200 people working on the 2010 Olympics, and nearly just as many, or around 1100 people in all, will ensure exhaustive four-screen coverage of the London Summer Games format, which includes a significant time difference.

Canadians will receive around 2000 hours of round-the-clock TV coverage, with around 1140 hours of English language coverage of live events on CTV, TSN, Sportsnet and OLN.

Then there’s another 704 hours of French language coverage on the RDS and V channels.

The consortium also plans another 223 hours of multi-language coverage on the OMNI and ATN channels.

And the Canadian digital play for the London Games will see around 3500 hours of streaming coverage on mobile phones, computers and tablets, with content coming from the CTV, RDS, TSN, Sportsnet, and V broadcast properties.

Ashton said the London Games will follow Vancouver in giving Canadians a wall of content on free, over-the-air, cable and digital platforms to meet consumer demand.

At the same time, the Canadian consortium has worked hard to ensure viewers can easily find the content this time round on four screens, and not be confounded by the wide and varied choice.

“Simplicity is key. When we’re talking about 5,500 hours of coverage, we have to make it simple so people know and understand where to get the content,” he said.

For the upcoming Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Rogers Media has dropped out of the bidding with Bell Media.

That’s left Bell Media to pair up with the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, to bid for the next round of Canadian TV rights.

With Rogers Media out of the running for the Sochi and Rio Games, the CTV-CBC bid to the International Olympic Committee is unlikely to come near the record $153 million winning offer for the Vancouver and London Games.