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  • OBS Increases Live Paralympic Coverage


    09/07/18

    (ATR) A wealth of new Paralympic sports will be broadcast live by Olympic Broadcasting Services thanks to “remote lightweight production units”.

    OBS cameras at PyeongChang 2018 (OBS)
    OBS, Tokyo 2020, and the International Paralympic Committee said that 16 disciplines from 14 sports will be provided to rights holders by OBS. For the first time badminton, boccia, road cycling, goalball, triathlon and the marathon events will be broadcast by host broadcasting the IPC said.

    Yiannis Exarchos, chief executive officer of OBS, told Around the Rings the new coverage will surpass the 822 live hours broadcast in Rio. Exarchos said that the IPC approached OBS to discuss increasing the live broadcasting after soliciting input from rights holders about gaps in coverage.

    “The starting point for determining the live coverage of the Paralympics has always been based on the previous Games,” Exarchos said. “Adding live coverage requires additional resources, infrastructure and technology from the Organizing Committee.

    “Our operation has been assisted in this effort by our use of remote lightweight production units. Utilizing such units significantly reduces the amount of space required at the venues and, while there are fewer cameras, it allows us to offer some live coverage of more sports, when this might not have been possible before.”

    The new technology will allow OBS to be “more flexible and efficient” in its coverage, while ensuring more sports get broadcast to the standard OBS strives for

    Broadcasting the Paralympics poses a challenge for OBS because of the limited number of facilities and broadcasters of the Games. Held weeks after the Olympics, the Paralympic Games have grown in stature worldwide in recent years.

    For example, NBC, the broadcaster that pays the most for its Olympic rights, did not begin live broadcasting the Paralympics until Sochi 2014. By PyeongChang 2018, NBC broadcast over 90 hours of the Paralympics live on TV, and over 250 hours on all platforms.

    Exarchos said that adding new Paralympic broadcasting means OBS will be tackling sports that “are often less known” to international audiences. The host broadcaster will then work to fulfill its objective of “[telling] the story of the athletes and their achievements” in Tokyo.

    The technology that is being used to broaden the Paralympic broadcasting will also help OBS produce live broadcasts of the five new sports added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It may also be used to broadcast the more than 200 team welcome ceremonies at the Olympic Village.

    Social media will also play a larger role in the suite of options that OBS provides to the rights holders. After launching the Content+ platform that holds short-form packaged content at PyeongChang 2018, OBS will produce “specific social media content including data driven infographics” at Tokyo 2020. A clipping tool that allows rights holders to post the packages directly to social media is in the works.

    “We are very satisfied with the preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Games,” Exarchos said. “We have the utmost confidence in the Organizing Committee and believe our planning is well on track to ultimately yield an extremely successful broadcast of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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