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Volume 21 No. 2
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NeuLion to stream HD Games in China

Video service provider NeuLion has been hired by national broadcaster CCTV to stream the Olympics live in HD for the first time in China.

The deal is the result of a partnership NeuLion struck with CCTV five months ago. It will provide a main broadcast feed and six to nine live events in high definition for tablets, computers and mobile devices throughout the Olympics.

China’s CCTV provided a more advanced mobile offering during the 2008 Games than U.S. rights holder NBC did. But U.S. rights holders have jumped ahead in the quality of the sports video they deliver to tablets, mobile devices and computers. NeuLion’s HD feed represents an effort by the country’s biggest broadcaster to catch up.

“The interest in the Olympics here in China is big and our audience will be very excited,” said Wang Wenbin, general manager of CNTV, a subsidiary of CCTV.

The premium Olympic video content will be free to Chinese consumers. CCTV and NeuLion plan to turn premium video of other sporting events into a pay-per-view service.

“The opportunity with a population four times the size of the U.S. and much more interested in premium service is huge,” said Chris Wagner, NeuLion’s executive vice president of strategy.