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CWC, CANOC dial up big Olympic deal

Published:Tuesday | April 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe

Building on its historic acquisition of the broadcast rights for the 2016 Olympic Games, the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) yesterday welcomed Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) as the region's official broadcast sponsor and exclusive telecommunications partner for the Games set for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

CANOC will manage the rights distribution on all platforms and languages through its offshoot, CANOC Broadcasting Inc (CBI), with CWC now coming on board to deliver the content through a cutting-edge, multi-platform approach which features dedicated material on a myriad of mediums.

The announcement was made during a regionally broadcasted press conference from Trinidad and Tobago's Hyatt Regency, with officials from both organisations hailing the partnership as a ground-breaking and timely coming together, one that will change the paradigm of Olympic programming in the Caribbean.

dedicated service

"(This is a) historic occasion in the history of the Caribbean Olympic movement," said CANOC chairman, Steve Stoute, during his remarks. "Today (yesterday) we announce that Cable & Wireless Communications is the exclusive telecommunications partner of CANOC and CANOC Broadcasting Inc. They are CANOC's first major broadcast sponsor and our exclusive mobile broadcaster for 2016.

"Previously, we have had to piggyback on external companies providing coverage predominantly for their country's athletes. How often have we waited in front of the television set to see our team march into the stadium in the opening ceremony, only to be confronted with an advertisement?

"Now, for the first time, we will have dedicated Caribbean service with dedicated media personnel, as this partnership will allow CANOC to bring the Games to the Caribbean audiences on cutting-edge technology," Stoute added.

CWC represents a merger of the Jamaican subsidiaries of Cable & Wireless, traded locally as LIME; the mobile and fixed telephone provider and Columbus Communications or Flow, which offers telephone and cable services.

John Reid, CWC's president of Consumer Group, shared that the company is prepared to provide enriching and first-world packaging.

"Instead of taking a traditional linear approach to broadcasting, which limits our customers' viewing options, CWC will adopt a multi-platform approach to transmitting a wide variety of content. For our customers, this will be nothing short of spectacular. They will have access to a unique variety of live video feeds offered across a number of media platforms," Reid noted.

"The best part is that we will do so at no additional cost to our customers," added Reid. "I believe this partnership is the most practical way for us to demonstrate to our customers, and the region as a whole, the value of our recent merger."

Among the delivery options will be a mobile platform that will provide over 40 video-on-demand streams at multiple camera angles, over 12 hours of extra content focused on regional athletes and their communities, as well as live concentrated Caribbean coverage and analysis.

Importantly, Larry Romany, CEO of the CBI, noted that it's the organisation's intention to provide the feed free of cost to broadcasters in all territories across the region.

"The intent has always been to give the signal to all television stations so that there is no bidding (process for broadcast rights). The discussions have been completed. We have signed an MOU with the Caribbean Broadcast Union and with the other free-to-air (television) members across the Caribbean. You will be seeing it on free-to-air television, as well as a number of channels on Flow, as well as the mobile devices," Romany pointed out.