YouTube Olympics channel brings games to multiple nations

For countries like the U.S., where exclusive rights to content have been bought, YouTube will use IP geo-blocking to prevent access to the channel.

Holly Jackson
2 min read

Updated at 1:30 p.m. PDT with comments from YouTube and the hours of online live content offered by NBC.

Citizens of Ethiopia and Thailand (we originally said Taiwan here, which is not included) are among the international Web users who will be able to view online content from the Beijing Olympics via YouTube, according to an announcement made by the International Olympic Committee Monday.

While NBC holds the Olympics digital video-on-demand rights in the U.S., rights have not been sold on an exclusive basis in more than 70 countries. In those countries, people can access the specialized YouTube Olympics channel youtube.com/beijing2008, starting on August 6.

The IOC said the Olympic Broadcasting Services will produce the YouTube channel content and will include highlights, news clips, and daily videos of the international games. YouTube, and parent company Google, will also help pull videos that violate the IOC copyrights on Olympics content, The Wall Street Journal reported. YouTube said it would not disclose exact terms of the deal, but that the IOC is "is using our industry-leading VideoID technology to manage and protect its content on the site."

A YouTube spokesperson also said the site will only sell advertising on the channel to any of the IOC's 12 exclusive sponsors.

For countries like the U.S., where exclusive rights to content have been bought, YouTube will use geo-blocking, based on a user's IP address, to prevent access to the channel. However, NBC will also be broadcasting the Olympics on the Web, with more than 2,000 hours of live content available on its Olympics site. NBC paired with Microsoft in its effort to broadcast online videos into homes across the U.S, although some of the most popular sporting events will not be streamed live.

Users in China, where the Olympics are being held, will view exclusive video content at China Central Television's Web site.

The IOC granted online Web access for some countries beginning with the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, and 23 territories could view videos online during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, but its YouTube channel can reach the most people yet--about 200 million Web users.

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