Olympics on TV: Faster, Higher, Stronger... but is it so in India?

The Olympic Games, the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet, officially kicks off tomorrow in Athens. Over 10,000 athletes representing 202 countries, including 74 participants from India, will be competing for the top spot in more than 37 disciplines.The International Olympic Committee has predicted record Olympics viewership for Athens 2004. With more than 300 channels and about 35,000 hours of scheduled coverage, the committee expects that 3.9 billion people will watch this year‘s games on TV. This is compared to the 29,600 hours broadcast to 3.6 billion viewers at the 2000 Games in Sydney.

Talking about the international scenario, NBC is promising 1,210 hours of coverage while Canada‘s CBC and TSN are set to provide 440 hours. Among German channels, ZDF and ARD will bring 1,400 hours of coverage. In South Africa, Supersport International, SABC2 and SABC3 are expected to provide 1965 hours of Olympics coverage. takes a look at how Indian television channels are covering the event.

Doordarshan: The Olympics telecast rights owner will telecast the games round the clock. It will have a total of 4,000 hours of programmes on DD Sports. Olympic highlights can be seen on DD-I. Daily capsules of India‘s participation in the games will be shown including interviews with players, athletes, coaches, managers and Indians living in Athens.

The opening ceremony airs live on DD-I tomorrow (13 August) from 11 pm to 3 am. It repeats on 14 August from 9 am to 12 noon on DD-I. There will be two segments on DD-I. The India Specific - India at Athens and Highlights of the Day - will be telecast at 7:30 am to 9:30 am and 2nd segment from 11 pm to 1:30 am except on 15 August. On 15 August, the morning segment will be telecast from 10 am to 11 am.

The Days Best Events will be telecast from 11:30 pm to 00:30 am (early next day). The events that will receive round the clock coverage on DD-Sports include hockey, swimming, shooting, cycling, boxing, judo and weight lifting.

Doordarshan will also telecast live the closing ceremony on 29 August from 11:30 pm to 3:15 am.

Sponsors: Coca Cola, Samsung, McDonalds, Kodak, Panasonic, Hyundai, and General Motors.

As reported earlier by, DD will net Rs 80 million from the games. However the acquisition costs were substantially higher at Rs 240 million.

News channels hop on board in a big way:

Star News has been airing a special show Ek Champion Ho Apna since 10 August. The special, which will be hosted by resident anchors Ashish Chadda and Mandira Sawhney, features experts of various sports. Reporter Siddharth Dutta will be at Athens to provide the latest updates, results and also report on the off-the-field action.

The half-hour special airs at 8:30 am, 7:30 pm and 11:30 pm daily. The morning show will look at the previous day‘s events complete with athletes‘ reactions and the day‘s schedule. Whereas the 7:30 pm special will provide the viewers with the latest updates on the day‘s events along with the latest development on the upcoming late evening events. And finally the late night special will present a complete wrap up of the entire day‘s action.

Will India end its long spell of poor performance at the Olympics & bring home the precious yellow metal this time? A special segment on the show called Ye Mera India will provide comprehensive coverage and updates on the Indian contingent‘s performance at Athens Olympics. This segment will be a mix of their on as well as off the field activities.

In addition, it will also have additional segments like Olympics Breaking News, Olympics Trivia and Medal‘s Tally which will air at regular intervals throughout the day during the games. These segments will feature all the results and key developments of the day, features on Olympics-related topics, additional statistics and the medal tally following every competition. Star News will take the feed from APTN and Reuters.

Sponsors: Asahi, Hyundai Accent, D-Cold Total are among the sponsors.

The broadcaster will also run an Olympic-related SMS contest for its viewers where they can win prizes from the channel.

Aaj Tak: The Lead Hindi news channel has been running a special Athens ki Dagar since 2 August. Another show Athens ki Jung will air from 13 August to 30 August. The show has three segments at 7:30 am (15 minutes), 7:30 pm (20 minutes) and 11:10 pm (special segment of 30 minutes, live from Athens.)

The channel attempts to capture and showcase all the excitement and events of Athens 2004, with a special eye on the India‘s performance. The special bulletins will give a recap and analysis of the day‘s performances/events. To cover the hockey segment, the channel will use the expertise of hockey players Jugraj Singh. Indian players Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur will provide their inputs from Athens.

Headlines Today: Aaj Tak‘s English sibling has started airing its 15-minute Olympic special Gold Rush from 11 August. The show airs at 7:45 am with a repeat at 12:45 pm. The show is centred on two elements: Results round up and What to expect.

Results round up gives a round-up of all the major results from the previous day. What to expect is a half an hour preview show at 10:30 pm with a repeat at 12:30 am. The special will contain a round-up of all the latest results and will be partially anchored from Athens.

Both the shows, including overall coverage on the channel also feature: Section One2Watch which will focus on one, or two key match-ups in the Olympic games, Dopewatch which will take a special look at athletes who are under the doping cloud, Olympic diary that will contain a round-up of all the background news and events from the Olympic village in Athens.

Zee News: After enjoying success with Javed Miandad on its coverage of the Asia Cup, Zee News will buckle up for the Olympics by engaging commentator Jasdev Singh, and Hockey Olympian, Pargat Singh, on their panel throughout the Athens games.

Jasdev Singh has covered nine Olympics so far. He will be seen in all Olympic-related programmes on Zee News as an expert commentator and analyst. Pargat Singh will share his point of views on all the hockey matches where India and/or Pakistan will be playing only on Zee News. He will also be available for his expert views for the semi-finals, Final and the 3rd place match in the tournament.

Moreover Zee News has designed special Olympic programmes to give its viewers a different experience and knowledge of the sport so that they don‘t miss out the action.

Talking about the initiative Zee Telefilms Newsgroup director Laxmi N. Goel added, " With this special mega event programming Zee News wants their viewers to know the history and the facts of the games besides watching the exciting event. Zee News took the initiative in roping in the world class experts to give A to Z analysis of the greatest event on the earth".

The broadcaster‘s Olympic themed specials will include Athens per Nazar. The segment will air in prime time and non-prime time bulletins every day. It will be throwing light on various vignettes of life in Athens. It will be on till 29 August.

The channel will also showcase prominent winners during the various Olympic games through its programme Athens ke Sikander. Athens Mein Bharat shows the Indian challenge in Athens.

Olympic Ke Pannon Se is a trivia piece with a difference. It tells little known facts and records of the past Olympic games. Olympic ke Bharatiya Nayak profile Indian sportspersons who won medals in the Olympics or just missed it.

Zee News will be showcasing in the Young Achiever show the youngest Olympic winners of the day. Meanwhile Medals Tally will update the viewer on the medals won by countries competing in the games. Celebrity Bites is another segment where stars, players and the glitterati wish Indian players good luck at the games.

CNN: The US broadcaster will provide special reports from Athens. CNN‘s coverage sees Your World Today co -anchor Michael Holmes in Athens keeping viewers updated on the numerous news stories that the games generate.

His special packages and live reports will air on Your World Today and other shows including CNN Today and World News Asia. In addition, Terry Baddoo and Josie Carp will bring the latest action and results from the games in the special World Sport. Baddoo will be reporting from Athens.

He said, "So, the Olympic Games are going home to Greece. But what sort of Games will it be? One thing we can be clear on is that Athens has a great deal to live up to. After reporting on the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, I can confirm that former IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, may not have been guilty of hyperbole when he described the Aussie event as "the best games ever". Sydneysiders provided well-organised, spectacular games, with a cordial atmosphere that was a credit to their nation. Can Greece deliver something similar?"

BBC World: The beeb‘s Olympics programming will centre around its two flagship sports programmes which will be sponsored by Konica Minolta.

The channel‘s regular 15-minute Sport Today bulletins will feature action, news, results and interviews from Athens several times each day.

The other show Extra Time will see major sporting names of the past and present talk in depth about their careers.

Konica Minolta will receive ten-second on-screen sponsorship credits before and after every edition of each programme from 7 August until 3 September, as well as on-screen credits during the promotional trailers that are broadcast as part of BBC World‘s Dynamic Junctions.

These are the distinctive and innovative "junctions" between programmes, unlike anything on other international news channels, which were introduced last October. Several on-screen "boxes" convey constantly updated news and information plus attention-grabbing 15-second clips with highlights of forthcoming shows.

The multi-media campaign will also see web banners for the photographic company on BBC World‘s website ( and on the two programming highlights e-newsletters that are sent each week to 45,000 subscribers.

The Konica Minolta branding will appear in August on a print advertisement promoting BBC World‘s Olympics coverage in the European edition of the Financial Times and the Asian edition of the International Herald Tribune. Special programme guides with information about the channel will also be placed in almost 4,000 hotel rooms in ten hotels in Athens for the duration of the Games.

BBC World airtime sales director Jonathan Howlett added, "At BBC World, we‘ll be offering extensive coverage and analysis of the Olympic Games throughout August to our highly influential and upmarket global audience. This agreement will mean enormous international exposure for Konica Minolta and we‘re delighted they‘re part of our Olympic package."

Konica Minolta assistant manager brand management department Michiaki Matsuzaki added, "We are expecting our sponsorship of Sport Today and Extra Time to raise awareness of the Konica Minolta brand and company globally. The sponsorship timing in August will be linked to the Olympic Games and will help us in fulfilling our goal."

The general entertainment Scene:

Pogo: The kids‘ channel will air a special First Olympians on 13 August at 7:30 pm with a repeat on 14 August at 4 pm. The historical feature tells the story of the only existing skeleton of an ancient athlete ever discovered. A mix of cutting edge forensics, lavish special effects and drama recreate the world of the first Olympian. Viewers will travel back in time to the Ancient Games of 444 BC, and discover how he came to be an Olympic athlete, how he prepared for the competition, and events at which he excelled and how his success changed his life.

Discovery: On 14 August at 8 pm the channel brings to a close its series of specials under the programme band Athens Games Special Week.

The initiative which kicked off last month had two facets. Firstly it aimed at giving viewers a feel of what the ancient Olympians were like and how the event developed over the years. One of the specials was The Real Olympics. This showed that even before Christ was born cheating, bribery and financial scandals were very much a feature of the Games.

Secondly the channel‘s Rural Olympics special had showcased an Indian version of the Olympics celebrated every February in the villages of Punjab. The event captured the passion and the competitive spirit of the people representing over 2,000 villages of Punjab. Over 100,000 people from the region attend this unique sports extravaganza every year.


Radio City 91 FM: Radio City has kicked off its Olympics coverage on 12 August. For its 18 day-long coverage, the radio station has lined up programmes like Khiladi No.1, Athens Update, Olympics Special - sirf ek sawal and Radio City Fun Olympics. Khiladi No.1 presents interesting trivia on heroic individuals while Athens Update is a daily update on the latest medal tally. With Olympics Special, Radio City brings an SMS contest. The programme is scheduled for Monday - Friday, four times a day - 7 am, 8 am, 2 pm, 7 pm. Radio City Fun Olympics is a set of on air contests based on programme categories.

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