Monday, November 24, 2008

AP Threatens Court Fight Over Olympics Video Restrictions

While the Beijing Summer Olympics is a distant memory at this point, Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley is looking ahead and is demanding that broadband access to the games be loosened, Sports Business Journal reported. Curley directed his comments to International Olympic Committee at a speech in Vancouver, adding that a court challenge might be in the offing unless the IOC revises its distribution policies. Since the contracts for the 2010 and 2012 games are already in place and unlikely to be changed, Curley hopes to influence bidding for the 2014- and 2016 games, which are expected to go out to bid next year. So far, ESPN (NYSE: DIS) and other outlets that have slammed the IOC for its heavily restricted access to video of the games. NBC paid the committee $894 million for exclusive access to bring video cameras into the Beijing games. As a result of the IOC’s restrictive digital video policies, Curley estimated at least 10 percent of the potential audience for NBC’s online video content couldn’t view the games because their TV service provider didn’t have deal with the network.

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