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IOC Sets Post-Rio Launch for Olympic Channel Free Over-the-Top Video Service

The International Olympic Committee set Aug. 21 as the the launch date for its promotional Internet-video destination — the Olympic Channel — designed to sustain fan interest in athletes and events all year round.

It’s a reflection of the org’s aims to better market the Olympics, especially to younger consumers, in the two-year intervals between the summer and winter games. The free Olympic Channel will go live after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, available via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com. The IOC also has launched social-media accounts for the service on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

The channel will showcase content from around the world, initially available only in English with subtitles in nine different languages. The short- and long-form original programming will focus on elite athletes, and also will include live sports event coverage, news and highlights.

The Olympic Channel “is the start of an exciting new journey to connect the worldwide audience with the Olympic Movement all year round,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement. “Fans will be able to follow sports, athletes and the stories behind the Olympic Games. The Olympic Channel will inspire us all and reach out to new generations of athletes and fans.”

The IOC signed a deal with NBC’s Playmaker Media, the streaming-video unit NBC Sports Digital formed in May, to provide live streaming video support for the IOC’s year-round Olympic Channel.

The org announced plans for the Olympic Channel in 2014, and originally anticipated launching it last year ahead of the Rio Games.

After the global launch in August, the IOC expects to develop partnerships with other Olympic stakeholders, including rights-holding broadcasters and national Olympic committees to develop localized versions of the Olympic Channel. Those will offer in-language content on digital platforms, and will also include linear TV programming options.

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