It is the first time Nine has televised the Summer Olympics since it shared coverage rights with ABC and Seven in 1976. Seven has had exclusive rights to the Summer games in 1980, 1992, 1996 and 2000, and shared coverage with SBS for 2004 and 2008. Network Ten covered the games in 1984 and 1988.
The 2010 and 2012 deal incorporates broadcast, subscription, internet and mobile coverage rights. Mobile carrier Telstra is a part-owner in Foxtel, as is Publishing and Broadcasting Limited which is also a part-owner of Nine. The new deal should see a multi-channel bonanza as Foxtel has demonstrated with previous coverage of the Commonwealth Games, and with Nine’s promise of a new digital channel to be launched later this year and under current legislation could have another one on the air in 2009.
The announcement is no doubt a welcome boost to sinking morale at Nine which has suffered all sorts of behind-the-scenes drama and the loss of its long-time ratings crown since the passing of Kerry Packer in 2005.
In the meantime, new Nine CEO David Gyngell is also on the hunt for new game show formats at the international television conference Mipcom to add to Nine’s schedule following the recent popularity of game shows such as Deal Or No Deal which is crippling Nine’s critical lead-in to the 6.00pm news.