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Discovery, Austrian Broadcaster Sign Olympics Deal

Discovery Communications said it has formed a long-term partnership with Austrian public broadcaster ORF for multi-screen carriage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea and the 2020 Winter Games in Tokyo.  

Under the agreement, ORF will exclusively sublicense free-to-air audio visual and radio rights for its channels, for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and 2020 Olympic Games. The sublicense package will include selected digital rights to the content ORF broadcasts on its linear TV channels.

Eurosport will hold pay rights to air all Olympic Games action on its German language channels available in Austria, as well as across all digital, OTT and mobile platforms.

 Discovery secured European rights to the Olympic Games for its Eurosport cable network last year. The programmer has secured seven sublicensing deals with broadcasters in Croatia (HRT), the Czech Republic (Ceska Televize), Finland (YLE), Ireland, (RTE), the U.K. (BBC), and The Netherlands (NOS) over the past several months to ensure broader coverage.

 “We have secured a groundbreaking Olympic partnership for viewers in Austria, ensuring that the Olympic Games remains accessible to the broadest possible audience and delivered to the highest standard, said Discovery Networks Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa president Kasia Kieli in a statement. “The agreement is a perfectly example of how Discovery will deliver more coverage of the Olympic Games, across more screens than ever before.”

The Olympic Games are heavily watched in Austria -- The London 2012 Olympic Games were watched by more than 5.6 million people (78% of the population) in Austria, while 5.9 million people (81% of the population) watched the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia on television via ORF.

 “With the acquisition of the rights for the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games from the Olympic rights holder Discovery, we are able to offer our Austrian sports fans the most important winter and summer sports events in full extent and in the usual top quality,” said ORF director general Dr. Alexander Wrabetz in a statement. “It is that proven and internationally well recognized quality of ORF sports reporting, that made a contractual partnership with Discovery possible. Knowing that their product is in the right hands, my thanks go to Discovery and also to the negotiating team of the ORF under the direction of Hans Peter Trost and Martin Szenercsi.”