Discovery Staffs Up For Olympics

Discovery Communications has made two key appointments to its technical staff leading up to the 2018 Olympic Games in an effort to ensure that European viewers are able to watch the contests on as many screens and devices than ever before.

Discovery Networks International landed a deal last year to carry the 2018-2024 Olympic Games in Europe. On Monday, the company said it has named Dominic Baillie, chief technology officer, Olympics & Sports and Simon Farnsworth, senior vice president, Olympic Technical Distribution.

Baillie and Farnsworth will build the technical foundations necessary to ensure that every event is available to fans whenever and wherever they choose to watch it. Both men will report to Discovery chief technology officer John Honeycutt from the London Office. Farnsworth who started in March will be joined by Baillie in April, working across Discovery’s international portfolio of channels and digital products including both Eurosport and Eurosport Player.

 “Dominic is a real industry innovator; a seasoned professional with a wealth of technical expertise. Simon brings an unmatched balance of commercial and technical experience, with an impressive background in content delivery,” said Honeycutt in a statement. “Both men are global players who will push the boundaries of innovation as we continue to develop our technical operations.”

In this newly created role, Baillie will be responsible for developing the Olympic Games and sports technology strategy – including the successful delivery of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games across all screens.  He also will play a leading role in the planned migration to IP, cloud for content management and distribution of the whole portfolio. With over 15 years’ experience, Baillie has held a number of senior roles in the industry including CTO at Sky News Arabia where he was responsible for engineering, development and technical operations. Prior to this he was CTO at Ten Sports.

Farnsworth will be responsible for strategic oversight of content aggregation and signal distribution, managing the transport of content from the Olympic Games venue sites to Discovery. Previously, Farnsworth held several senior positions at Globecast overmore than 10 years and most recently served as CEO of Globecast Australia, responsible for growing the revenue and profitability of the business before leading the sale and subsequent integration of the business to Telstra.

These two appointments add to the company’s Olympic Games organization team, of which three leadership positions were announced last November.

The news follows an agreement announced by Discovery Communications and the International Olympic Committee last June, which includes exclusive multimedia rights for 50 countries and territories in Europe for the 2018 through the 2024 Olympic Games. Since the agreement was announced, Discovery has made two important broadcast deals, ensuring the Olympic Games will be viewed by more people across more screens than ever before. The first of these included a sub-licensing deal with the BBC and the second was a similar deal with NOS, the Dutch broadcaster.