Olympic Channel

As Rio Olympic Games end, IOC launches the Olympic Channel

The Olympic Games may have come to a close on Sunday, but already there is one visible legacy. At the end of the games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched a new digital channel.

The idea behind the Olympic Channel is that it extends the Olympic experience to 365 days of the year. It is intended to serve as an outlet for keeping an eye on big-name stars away from the games, as well as allowing fans to follow smaller Olympic sports that do not usually get much attention.

As a concept, the Olympic Channel seems well placed to overcome a common criticism of the games. It is often pointed out that the Olympic Games are a time when people become obsessed with particular sports, only to then forget about them for four years.

In terms of marketing exposure, the Olympic Channel could not have been given a better start. The service was trailed during the closing ceremony for Rio 2016.

Exposure to such a large TV audience has initially proven to be a double-edge sword, however. In the immediate aftermath of the closing ceremony, the website for the Olympic Channel was inaccessible for most users, such was the demand.

As of now, the Olympic Channel is available to watch in online linear form, broadcasting 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And in addition to the traditional linear output, there is also a range of on-demand content to view.

Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments of the Olympic Channel is that it does not support Chromecast from day one.

Currently the content can only be viewed on the channel’s website. There are no mobile apps either, although the website is compatible with smartphones and tablets.

The Olympic Channel has not provided any information as to whether it will be developing mobile apps, or adding support for devices like Chromecast. However, given that it is not yet one day old, there is likely to be much more to come.

With the financial backing of the very-wealthy IOC, combined with the fact that the channel is being run by the well-regarded Olympic Broadcasting Services (host broadcaster of the games), this is a service with a lot of potential. As with so many ventures, though, much will come down to funding, and how prepared the IOC and its partners are to invest in content.