EBU data for internet broadband streaming and mobile media platform coverage of the Winter Olympics in Turin last month have revealed a rapidly increasing acceptance of these new distribution mechanisms, especially among younger audiences, writes Fergal Ringrose.
In addition to the extensive coverage of the Winter Games by the EBU members on free-to-air television, European broadband internet users were able to watch a large selection of live and on-demand streams available on a number of EBU members' and sublicensees' websites in a wide variety of languages. These included ORF (Austria); TV2 (Denmark); ETV (Estonia); France T_l_visions (France); Eurosport, Wanadoo (France, UK); ARD and ZDF (Germany); RUV (Iceland); RAI (Italy); NPB (Netherlands); NRK (Norway); TVP (Poland); SVT (Sweden) SF, TSR and TSI (Switzerland); and, BBC and Tiscali (United Kingdom).
By the end of the Games over 23 million live and on-demand video streams had been distributed over the Internet, amounting to some 400 terabytes of moving-image data delivered. At peak time over 45,000 concurrent streams were being viewed by internet users in more than 35 countries within the Eurovision territory. Content was delivered to more than 1,500,000 individual viewers across the Eurovision territory in more than 10 languages.
Through a wide range of sublicensing and cooperation agreements with European mobile operators, moving image content of the Olympic Games was available in Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
The distribution of video over the internet and on mobile platforms by EBU members and sublicensees, which corresponded also to an express wish of the IOC, surpassed that of the Athens Games in 2004 after just four days of going online and proved that these additional offers meet the viewing habits of a new and young user group.