- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Discovery won’t shy away from human rights issues in China, a company executive said on Monday in unveiling its TV and digital coverage plans for the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.
Andrew Georgiou, president of sports, called this a “massively important issue,” adding: “It is not a topic that we are going to shy away from, we are going to address it,” given that Discovery is “really focused on social justice issues,” even though the focus will “undoubtedly” be on sports and the great athletic performances.
He, Scott Young, senior vp, content and production, and senior vp, technology and operations Simon Farnsworth discussed the company’s content and technology ambitions for the Games, which it will air in European markets, during a virtual media event that also featured Discovery U.K. Olympics host Reshmin Chowdhury and others.
Georgiou highlighted that about 175 million Europeans watched the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, last summer, noting that bringing another Olympics to viewers just a few months later was “unique” and “a challenge.”
In November, Discovery highlighted that it had “successfully broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, which reached over 372 million people in Europe across TV and digital platforms, and delivered 1.3 billion minutes of Olympics content on our streaming services.”
Georgiou said the Tokyo Games boosted not only the company’s linear networks, but also streaming service Discovery+, with his team hoping “to continue to improve those numbers” with Beijing. Young highlighted that his team’s goal was to “unlock” the stories of various athletes throughout the Olympics and use technology, led by the company’s high-tech Cube, which brings augmented reality and the like to provide interactive insights, for the “most immersive” experience.
Discovery touted that it plans to bring a “cinematic” feel to the coverage, saying in a statement on Monday: “As the viewer is brought closer, the experience is revealed to be a vast cinematic winter resort, offering limitless immersive presentation and analysis positions on multiple levels of the resort.”
Looking ahead at Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, Young said that hopefully by then, “touch wood, COVID will be an environment, which will no longer dictate our production.”
The Beijing Winter Olympics will run Feb. 4-20. Only “selected” spectators will be permitted at the Games, because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said last week. Beijing had previously said that no fans from outside the country would be permitted at the events and had not offered tickets to the general public.
Discovery, led by CEO David Zaslav, has said it plans to close its mega-merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia by mid-year.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day