Business

Olympic coverage to get Caribbean flavour

BY NEKIESHA REID Business reporter

Wednesday, July 11, 2012    

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THIS year's TV coverage of the Olympics will be the first to focus mainly on Caribbean athletes without the usual "American bias". International Media Content (IMC), parent company of sports cable channel SportsMax, is spending big bucks to ensure that regional heroes will be in the spotlight.

Before, Caribbean broadcasters would take a US feed, said SportsMax's chief operations officer, Newton Robertson.

But not this time around.

IMC is investing US$4 million ($360 million) to guarantee fuller coverage of Caribbean competitors in boxing, sailing and equestrian events.

"From time to time sports get sidelined because of the heavy focus on swimming and track and field," said executive producer Lance Whittaker, "but this project guarantees a more wholesome coverage of the Caribbean."

IMC acquired exclusive Caribbean broadcast rights across all platforms to London 2012, which will be transmitted on six channels from the Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) on a 24-hour basis to broadcasters.

This partnership with OBS will ensure that, for the first time, the Caribbean audience will be able to follow events of their interest.

But lovers of non-Caribbean events such as synchronised swimming and gymnastics will still be able to enjoy those sports.

"We won't deny the wholesome Olympic viewer of the event they've been accustomed to because we're focusing on the Caribbean," Robertson said.

An additional 124 persons have been hired for the period to ensure smooth operations, including four London-based and five Kingston-based presenters; eight track and field analysts; and four swimming analysts.

Sixty-two interns from the University of Technology, the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies and the Northern Caribbean University have also been employed.

With more than 396 hours of television coverage and 130 hours of radio coverage to be transmitted, IMC has sold rights to 18 broadcasters across the region, including CVM TV for television coverage and RJR for radio coverage in Jamaica.

It will also negotiate with other companies, such as Digicel, for the rights to use Olympic symbols with their sponsored athletes.

Robertson declined to say what the company hopes to earn from the venture.

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