DD to telecast Athens Olympics

HYDERABAD Nov. 1. Doordarshan has taken the rights to live telecast the Athens Olympics next year. In fact, the DD's coverage of the first Afro-Asian Games, which concluded here on Saturday, could be considered the stepping stone for the Olympics telecast, the Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer, K.S. Sarma, told a news conference on Saturday.

For the Afro-Asian Games coverage, Mr. Sarma said, the DD employed about 350 programme and technical staff and ten out of the 12 Outside Broadcasting (OB) vans available with it in the entire country. Eight more uplinking vans and 86 cameras were used. Twenty-four-hour telecast of the Games was also done on the DD Sports channel which was made a free trade channel for the Games. It was a pay channel for the National Games here last year. For the first time in the history of Indian television, a grandstand set-up was installed at Hyderabad DD Kendra to receive signals from the venues for terrestrial and satellite mode of telecast. An International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for DD was set up at the GMC Balayogi stadium for the purpose of making available three multi-lateral signals for downlink, free of cost with DD logo, for foreign broadcasters. One unilateral feed was available for those countries that wanted a specific game to be telecast when their teams or players were participating. In addition, video editing booths, post-production rooms, off-tube commentary positions and dubbing facilities were also made available for foreign broadcasters in the IBC.

Mr. Sarma said the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) subsidised the cost of telecast for the African countries because of their poor economic status. He further said that cash outflow of DD and AIR for the Games was Rs. 1.50 crores while the earning from commercials was Rs. 1.75 crores.

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