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Media > Change > Olympic media

The Olympic media dossier

By a happy coincidence, the revival of the modern Olympic Games occurred barely more than a year after the birth of the cinema and a few months before Marconi's first wireless transmissions. Not only have the two traditions of the Games and moving pictures grown up together, they have become inextricably linked.
        The Olympic Games are big business for television and television is big business for the Games. This chart shows the rise in the amounts paid for the US television rights.

Because they represent one of the few truly global media events, the Games have been used to introduce and showcase new technologies and production techniques that their inventors and developers hope to sell to broadcasters around the world. For the US networks in particular televising the Olympics is also seen as a means of attracting and keeping audiences for other programming.
        Although the costs of television rights have soared astronomically over the past 30 years, the increasing complexity of the media scene is leading bidders to want a comprehensive package of rights to a range of media outlets, not just over-the-air television but including cable channels, pay-per-view, video-on-demand and Internet narrowcasting

The purpose of these pages is to gather information about media involvement and innovation at each of the 25 Olympiads of the modern—the audio-visual—era.

NB: Information is still being gathered and processed for this section.

1896: Athens
1900: Paris
1904: St Louis
1908: London
1912: Paris
1920: Antwerp
1924: Paris
1928: Amsterdam
1932: Los Angeles
1936: Berlin
1940: Helsinki
1948: London
1952: Helsinki
1956: Melbourne
1960: Rome
1964: Tokyo
1968: Mexico City
1972: Munich
1976: Montreal
1980: Moscow
1984: Los Angeles
1988: Seoul
1992: Barcelona
1996: Atlanta
2000: Sydney
2004: Athens
2008: Beijing

2012: London

The Olympic Television Archive Bureau website offers over 20,000 hours of footage

Change index

Page updated 27 July 2008
© David Fisher