Australia's Seven Network Acquires Rights to Next Three Olympics

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.

The deal encompasses TV, radio and digital rights and includes an option to add the 2022 Winter and the 2024 Summer Games.

SYDNEY — Australia's Seven Network has acquired all rights to the next three Olympic Games through to Tokyo 2020.

Under the deal, it also exercised an option to extend the agreement to include the 2022 Winter Olympics and the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

While financial terms were not disclosed, Australia's top-rated TV network reportedly paid less than $187 million (AUS$200 million) for broad rights to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The rights cover broadcast TV; subscription TV; digital, including online and HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast and Broadband TV); and radio. The deal also incorporates an agreement to air this summer's Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

Seven described the acquisition as a "homecoming" for the Olympics in Australia. Seven began broadcasting the Olympics with the 1956 Melbourne Games, Australia's first Games as host, with its last Games being the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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TV networks group Nine and pay TV giant Foxtel jointly aired the 2012 London Olympics in Australia.

Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner said that over the coming decade, Seven will "create and deliver the most comprehensive, technologically advanced, multiplatform coverage of the Olympic Games to all Australians on any communications device."

Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, said: "The Olympic Games has been a key part of Seven's history and development. I am extraordinarily proud of our long partnership with the IOC and the Olympic movement and look forward to our partnership with the Olympic Games as we define and build our media presence over the coming decade."

Worner added: "The Olympic Games are a commitment to excellence that invigorates us. In many ways, our connection with the Games has defined our business and our connections with our audiences. We are ready to begin the next step on our journey with the Olympic movement and take the responsibility to provide the Games to all Australians across all forms of delivery platforms."

Worner said the Games would provide a centerpiece for the network's burgeoning digital and multiplatform business.

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"The Olympic Games [are] the greatest show on earth. The Olympic Games deliver the biggest audiences and the biggest marketing and advertising partnerships. It will be a remarkable platform for Seven as we continue to move forward as a media company, developing new content and building new businesses [that] will drive our future as Australia's leading integrated media and communications business," Worner said.

He said the Olympics would provide the best content, as Seven aimed to expand its "significant "online presence, which includes the launch of a long-planned Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television service in the coming months.

"Everyone knows the media landscape is changing at breakneck speed, and the way our coverage of these events is produced and distributed across all platforms to all Australians will be revolutionized in the lifetime of this deal," Worner explained. "And if Seven is granted broadcast rights following the exercise of the option for the Games in 2022 and 2024, it will become the longest agreement in Australian Olympic history."

He stated that Seven has programs in development that it will launch off the back of the 2016 Rio Games.

Seven was reportedly able to name its own price for the Olympics after rivals, the Nine and Ten networks and Foxtel, all elected not to bid for the rights.

Nine reportedly lost money on the London Olympics, while Network Ten, which is struggling financially, was not able to capitalize on its Sochi Winter Olympics coverage this year to rebuild its ratings and revenue.