Talk about a bold move, and a bold statement. The International Olympic Committee announced today that it will live stream the London 2012 Olympic Games in 64 territories on the IOC's channel on YouTube
. Wondering why that's a bit deal? Because it'll be free. Most developed nations will have to turn to television (or at least have a pay-TV subscription to view online), but what about places like Africa, and locales that are far more remote? 64 erritories across Asia and Africa will be able to enjoy live coverage of the events as well as highlight clips on this digital platform free of charge; viewers from these territories will be able to watch the streams on the IOC's YouTube channel, accessible online or on Internet-enabled devices like smart/mobile phones and other YouTube-enabled devices.
The live-streaming on the IOC's YouTube channel will provide exclusive digital access to the London 2012 Olympic Games in territories where digital broadcast rights have not already been acquired by the IOC's broadcast partners:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Bhutan, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
And in 42 Sub-Saharan African territories on a non-exclusive basis, including:
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The IOC's live streaming on its YouTube channel will consist of 11 different simultaneous high-definition broadcasts, all with English language commentary. There will be 10 live feeds from London 2012, running 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (London time) (on some days, these will start earlier or finish later based on the competition schedule), plus a 24-hour broadcast of the Olympic News Channel, which includes summaries of the latest results, general reports on different events, and interviews with athletes.
This is a huge precedent-setter. Getting content to places that aren't as equipped to deal with content acquisition is crucial to developing the global digital economy, and it's much, much bigger than just delivering sports. It's about a new worldview. And that's something we can get behind.