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SBD Global/October 28, 2013/Media

OBS CEO Yiannis Exarchos Says Digital Coverage Enhances Traditional Broadcasts

Olympic Broadcasting Services CEO Yiannis Exarchos said that "digital broadcasting and digital applications are not here to kill traditional broadcasting." Asked about the biggest takeaway from the London Games, Exarchos said, "The big lesson for us was that you have to look at the world of multiple screens as a world of multiple possibilities of cooperation and integration. They are here to enhance it, extend the experience and maybe even promote it." A great example for this co-existence between traditional and digital broadcasting, Exarchos told SBD Global at the recent Sportel Monaco, was NBC’s coverage of the London Games. The network decided to embark on a very advanced digital operation for the first time in London, transmitting all of the events live on digital but still going ahead with its traditional late-night shows and coverage. Exarchos: "Their findings were extraordinary. Not only wasn’t their primetime show destroyed, it was actually enhanced by the digital coverage." The OBS, which was created by the IOC in ’01 as the host broadcaster for all Olympic Games, will further promote this digital integration by offering a white-label platform to broadcasters during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Exarchos: "One of our key objectives is to enable broadcasters to do more with less. It’s clear that they are eager to receive more content; they are eager to receive more content in a format that is ready for them to put on the air. There’s a role for the host broadcaster to create synergies among different broadcasters. A shared white-label platform enables broadcasters to have their own solutions for tablets, mobiles, PCs and so on, by doing very little while at the same time they can still customize it. They can have it in their own language; they can have it with their own branding and so on."

HEADACHE RELIEF:  The white-label platform, the so-called Olympic Video Player, would represent a very big investment and headache for a number of broadcasters, Exarchos said. To limit the burden on broadcasters, OBS felt that it could take on the role of consolidator and cater to the needs for such a service by creating this platform. The ready-made product will enable broadcasters to save resources or devote them to other projects. Exarchos added that the reason OBS can provide such a service to broadcasters is trust. He said, "I believe that through the years the most important capital that we have gathered with OBS is the fact that broadcasters trust us, so it is easier for them now to trust that we can provide a service or deliver to them a production of the quality that they expect."
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