Chinese network to host online coverage

BEIJING — The International Olympic Committee has awarded the digital broadcast rights for the 2008 Beijing Olympics within China to CCTV.com, the online arm of state broadcaster CCTV. The decision reflects the growing importance of internet and mobile phone broadcasting in China, which has 160 million Internet users and 508 million cellphone users. It is the latest feather in the cap for the country’s top broadcaster, which is thinking big for the games that begin at 8.08 p.m on the eighth day of the eighth month, 2008. In case you hadn’t guessed, eight is a lucky number in China. The IOC said it chose CCTV.com because it could work closely with its TV unit, which had already acquired the TV rights for the event as a member of the Asian Broadcasting Union. “The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be a landmark moment in Olympic history, and is obviously an event of huge national interest in China. When this is coupled with China’s digital media potential, it means our agreement with CCTV.com represents a very exciting partnership for the Olympic Movement,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement. Richard Carrion, an executive board member and member of the IOC’s TV rights and new media commission, said the move would “break new boundaries in terms of digital Olympic broadcast.” “It was important for the IOC to make sure that all potential partners understood the value of the rights and demonstrated that they would fully exploit these rights in mainland China, whilst also providing satisfactory guarantees of anti-piracy and security measures,” he said. CCTV it will use seven channels to cover the Olympics: CCTV-1, CCTV-2,CCTV-5, CCTV-7 and a new high-definition channel, as well as two pay channels for soccer and tennis. “Working with new media for broadcasting is something new for the IOC. If it succeeds in Beijing, it could be extended to other events,” Wei Jizhong, a consultant to the Beijing organizers (BOCOG) and and prexy of the Beijing Olympic Economy Research Association, told the China Daily. “Broadcasting through new media can benefit more people, especially those who don’t have access to a television set,” said Wei.

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