EBU plans extensive Olympics coverage

2,000-plus hours of material available in 61 countries

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BRUSSELS -- The European Broadcasting Union has promised more than 2,000 hours of live material from Beijing to national broadcasters across 61 countries in Europe and beyond.

This would add up to more than 18,000 hours of television across 118 channels, equaling the most extensive media coverage of the Olympic Games in history, the EBU said Wednesday.

The EBU, which includes such broadcasters as ARD, Canal+, ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL Group, has covered the Olympic Games since 1956, and said it will transmit across mobile, the Internet, radio and television. It added that its broadcast infrastructure for Beijing -- in both high-definition and standard definition -- will be more than double the size of that for the Athens 2004 Olympics.

More than 20 EBU broadcasters will be making Olympic material available via mobile and 30 broadcasters on their Web sites in their countries. A common EBU broadband platform, www.eurovisionsports.tv/olympics, will feature more than 9,000 hours of Olympics video material.

The Geneva-based EBU represents 120 public service broadcasters across Europe and neighboring regions as well as U.S. media giants ABC, CBS, NBC and Time Warner.