(ATR) General manager of the Olympic Channel Mark Parkman tells Around the Rings that its athlete-focused programming and Olympic broadcasting agreements should make the media property self-sustainable in four years.
"We expect by 2021 that we will become self-sustaining through our partnership with our founding partners (Toyota, Bridgestone, Alibaba) and other TOP partners, rights holders, broadcaster agreements and services," Parkman tells ATR on the sidelines of Sportel Monaco.
"The idea is after 2021 that will become a self-sustained media property for the Olympic movement, and we think we are on the way to do so."
The Olympic Channel launched in August 2016 at the conclusion of the Rio 2016 Olympics. It was established with funding by the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Movement totaling 490 million euros over seven years.
In just over a year since its launch, the property has signed agreements with a multitude of International Federations and has established dedicated Olympic television channels with NBC, Eurosport and beIN.
"The partnership with the right holders is key to keeping the Games alive 365 days a year and promoting their coverage during the Games," he says. "When we don’t have live coverage, we are supporting the athletes to tell their stories with documentaries, we have tutorials, we have fitness and we also have great original content.
"That all can be surrounded by the live competitions and what people are watching, so we think our content offering is very strong. It is engaging, it’s thought-provoking and we think it is for a viewer who wants more in-depth coverage of the Olympic Movement."
With the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics on the horizon, Parkman says the Olympic Channel will focus on the stories of athletes to drive interest in the Games.
"A lot of our content will be focused on the lead up for the next few months and what is happening in PyeongChang. This means telling athlete stories, tracking their progress and going behind-the-scenes to show what they have done to get the highest level of sport."
Reporting by Heinz Peter Kreuzer at Sportel Monaco. Written by Kevin Nutley
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