Discovery and Eurosport Unveil Digital First Winter Olympics
With just 100 days before South Korea opens the Winter Olympics, European rightsholder Discovery promises a record-breaking online viewing experience. It will make every minute of coverage available online for viewers across Europe via its sports platform Eurosport. This will make it the first fully digital Olympics for Europe, Discovery claims.
Its live and on-demand coverage will deliver to 48 markets with all the action collated on Eurosport Player available online on mobile, tablets, and connected TVs. More than 4,000 hours of coverage and 100 events will be available, including 900 hours of live action, more than ever before across the continent.
Editorially, Discovery are offering fans the chance to personalise their own Olympic viewing. Beyond choice of stream, few details are offered at this stage but we expect this to mean users can curate their own Olympic programme by selecting to follow countries, athletes, events, and other criteria.
Social media is a significant new approach to previous Olympics coverage. Discovery’s partnership with Snap Inc will see UGC and behind-the-scenes content from PyeongChang published to Snapchat users in Europe.
Discovery and Snapchat already work together in the U.S., where Discovery creates mobile shows for Snapchat’s Discovery platforms. During Discovery’s Shark Week, 17 million viewers watched Shark Week content on Snapchat.
Snapchat is used by 57 million people daily in Europe.
A dedicated mobile digital studio on the ground in PyeongChang will work with digital influencers, embedded into editorial teams, to create bespoke content for social media focused on engaging millennials.
Jean-Briac Perrette, Discovery Networks International President and CEO, said in a statement: "PyeongChang 2018 marks the first Olympic Games of our ground-breaking long-term partnership with the International Olympic Committee. We want to redefine the Olympic Games experience for the viewer with immersive storytelling, unrivalled expert talent and an all-screen strategy reaching new and younger audiences. We know that viewers want more: more access to their local heroes, more expertise and more ways to watch the Olympic Games, and this is exactly what we are bringing to fans across Europe."
Augmented reality technology will be used to share a greater understanding of winter sport events. For example, Sport Explainers will use AR and data to create films "that delve deeper into the technical explanations of winter sports, showing how the world’s best athletes win gold," the company said.
Discovery paid €1.3 billion ($1.45 billion) for pan-European rights for four Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024. Under terms of the deal broadcasters in some territories, including UK and France, also retain rights to free to air coverage for those tournaments.
A year ago Discovery inked a deal with digital streaming specialist BAMTech to launch BAMTech Europe, a new digital technology provider, intended to re-invigorate Eurosport’s digital streaming offer as well as provide expertise to third parties.
Since then, ESPN parent Disney has taken full control of BAMTech. It is not clear how this has impacted the deal with Discovery. In Europe, Eurosport and ESPN would not necessarily be seen as competitive, but other sports broadcasters may not want to share a tech partner with a potential rival.
Ahead of the BAMTech announcement, Discovery poached Ralph Rivera from the BBC to lead Eurosport’s digital transformation. At the BBC, Rivera, was responsible for all of the BBC’s digital media services, including delivering the first truly digital Olympic Games for London 2012.
Discovery Communications' sports division spent €1.3 billion on pan-European digital and linear rights to Olympic Games until 2024, and aims to make every second of every event from PyeongChang available on multiple platforms.
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