Telco TV

Verizon, NBCU Secure Multiplatform Summer Games Accord

7/18/2008 6:03 AM Eastern

Verizon and NBC Universal have reached an agreement to bring the programmer’s coverage of the 2008 Olympics to the telco’s customers.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, provides Beijing-related content from schedules, medal standings and video-on-demand to news, photos, highlights, and cuts across Verizon’s FiOS TV and broadband services, as well as its wireless offering.

Moreover, Verizon will supplement its current carriage of NBD HD and Universal HD, with the addition of Bravo HD, CNBC+HD, USA Network HD and SciFi HD. Those services will be rolled out to FiOS customers, region by region, in the months ahead, according to the parties.

It was unclear if Verizon’s agreement was part of a more comprehensive, long-term Olympics package with NBCU. Many long-term Olympic deals, signed before the 2000 quadrennial from Sydney -- and well before Verizon FiOS was formed -- are set to expire at conclusion of the Summer Games from Beijing.

NBCU is said to be seeking "a premium fee" from distributors for digital and TV rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, packages that included additional high-definition, video-on-demand, broadband and interactive content.

“We don’t discuss the length or terms of our deals,” said an NBCU spokeswoman.

Verizon didn’t offer a comment about whether the Olympics portion of the contract extended to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver two years from now or the Summer Games in London four years out.

Yesterday, NBCU and DirecTV, without announcing terms, inked a VOD accord for the Beijing Games.

Under the pact, Verizon’s FiOS TV customers, who already were going to have access to NBC Olympics VOD programming, including athlete features, Beijing previews and more, will now be able to access NBC’s daily highlight clips in standard- and high-definition, as well as replays of some of the best events of the day, including swimming, diving, gymnastics and track and field action.

On the broadband front, Verizon’s FiOS Internet and high-speed Internet customers will have online access to NBC clips, news, photos and slideshows, a countdown clock and background on various athletes.  During the Games, Verizon’s broadband subscribers can tap NBC’s live streaming of more than 20 different sports, as well as highlights from various events and medal standings.  Verizon’s broadband customers can decide which Olympic sports to watch online, either live or on demand, through a high-quality, full-screen viewing experience.

In addition to the aforementioned quartet of new HD channels, Verizon’s FiOS TV will also launch two enhanced channels dedicated to covering Olympic basketball and soccer.  Live events, highlights and studio programming will be made available on NBC Universal’s USA HD and Universal HD.

During the Games, Verizon Wireless customers can keep up with the Olympic action on V CAST video that will include features daily highlights, breaking news, scores and results.

“From TV to broadband to wireless, Verizon is delivering the very best content and programming, and that includes NBC Universal’s unprecedented Olympics coverage,” said Terry Denson, vice president of FiOS TV content and programming, in a statement. “That’s exciting for our customers, and it is a great opportunity for us to be able to showcase FiOS TV’s video-on-demand and high-definition content, our incredible broadband services, and Verizon Wireless’ V CAST video service.”

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