NBCUniversal has announced the creation of an all new Olympic Channel to debut in 2017 in an effort to stir up waning interest in the Games. The new channel will be dubbed; Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. The channel will broadcast Olympic style events from around the world and will be especially focused on American athletes and teams as they train to compete in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea.
NBCUniversal is producing the Olympic Channel in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee as well as the United States Olympic Committee. They are working in this partnership in an effort to create some buzz in between the two years in which the Olympics are held rather than only being able to promote and do coverage just months, or even weeks, in advance of the Games.
The programs will be both original content as well as some archival programs and footage provided by the International Olympic Committee as well as coming from NBC Sports. The official launch will be made sometime after the middle of next year and the channel will be carried by both DirectTV as well as AT&T. NBCUniversal will continue to find additional broadcast outlets as it enters into negotiations with other cable and satellite providers for inclusion in their viewing packages.
The President of NBC Olympics, Gary Zenkel, said that, “We are confident that given the vast interest in the Olympics and the rich content made available, that distributors will embrace this opportunity.”
The new Olympic Channel will not be a separate video streaming entity and will only be available through cable and satellite broadcast providers. However, it was announced that there will be certain content available for streaming on certain platforms such as NBC Sports.
NBCUniversal has secured the television rights to the Olympic Games through the year 2032. It cost the company $12 billion for the rights to broadcast in the United States and it hopes that the Olympic fortunes will change soon as last year’s version in Brazil was the smallest audience share since 2004 with the average television viewing audience coming in at 25.4 million. Despite those disappointing numbers, the network stated that they had stronger than anticipated advertising revenue and so ended up making a profit of $250 million on the Games.
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