Beijing Games to take Olympic coverage to an all time high

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Beijing, Aug 21 (UNI) Billions of people across the world witnessed the enthralling August 7 opening ceremony and the Beijing Games are set to top all previous broadcasts of the event in terms of coverage and technology.

While at the 2004 Athens Games, only eight countries experimented with delayed Internet broadcasts, some 4.5 billion people would have viewed the Games on TV and online, an official said.

For the first time, the Games are being broadcast in digital and high definition, Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, said at a press conference yesterday.

The NBC website, which is the IOC's US partner has received 30 times more video views than it did at the Athens, and 12 times more mobile phone downloads than it did for the Turin 2006 Winter Games, Lumme said.

In China, 102 million people have watched live broadcasts of the Games online in the past 12 days, with another 146 million people watching video on demand.

Lumme added that there is an unprecedented amount of Olympic sports content available, some 5,000 hours of coverage provided by 200 countries through rights holding broadcast partners.

''These partners are expected to make a combined total output of Olympic coverage which will be about three times that of the Athens Games,'' he said.

Lumme claimed that the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games had the highest broadcast rating in the history of Chinese television.

''About 842 million people in China tuned in to watch some coverage of the opening ceremony,'' he said.

''Although we won't have the complete definitive global statistics for sometime, yet indications suggest that the figure could be around 1.2 billion people,'' he added.

Michael Phelps' remarkable campaign at the Olympics made sure that the audience especially in the US remain glued to the television.

NBC registered the largest audience for a Saturday night in 18 years. More than 40 million viewers tuned in to watch Phelps, when he won his record eight gold medals.

In China, more than 96 per cent of the people watched the Olympic Games from August 9 to 16, the monitoring agency AGB Nielsen said yesterday.

Urban Chinese people's viewing time also quadrupled to 750 minutes in the week, while rural people watched more than 990 minutes, 3.6 times the weekly viewing time before the Games.

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