Rio 2016 – Sports Beyond Commercial Value

Time, the Only Impediment now in Singapore, thanks to Mediacorp

I did not realize that Singapore had managed to secure a last-minute deal with Dentsu, the Olympics broadcast rights holder, until it was too late. So I missed the live telecast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics earlier today.

Even if I had been aware of it, I may have missed the first half of the ceremony because of the timing – 4am Singapore time.  

That’s trivial, though, what I find amusing is that viewers in the U.S. had to put up with a time lag because of what appears to be an idiosyncratic action of NBC, the country’s Olympic broadcaster.


Not a Sports Competition, a Cultural Ceremony

According to this BBC report,  NBC decided that  “It’s not a sports competition. It’s a cultural ceremony that requires deep levels of understanding, with numerous camera angles and our commentary laid over it.”

So NBC took upon itself the task of editing the live coverage so it can present the ceremony to the audience in the proper context.



Media Aberration

That’s the problem with media outfits – they assume they are the only intelligent people on earth and their viewers/readers so dull-witted they cannot understand any live coverage and will have to be spoonfed the context.

Nothing can be further from the truth. The reverse is the reality.

Commercial considerations

A tailored coverage, to me, means that commercial considerations have infiltrated a major event with a social import.

Monetary factors, incidentally, delayed the live telecast decision of Singapore. The 2012 London Olympics is said to have cost Mediacorp US$2.5 million towards “free-to-air fees”.

For Rio, the cost is said to be more than double that amount, making Singapore initially decide on giving live telecast the skip.Cristo Redentor_130892

Raising the Profile of Sports

For a progressive country trying to raise the profile of sports in the country that was a shortsighted decision. Luckily, good sense appears to have prevailed finally.

Nonetheless, we cannot brush aside the position of Mediacorp’s deputy chief executive Chang Long Jong, that: “As a commercial company with a social purpose, we needed to balance the cost of acquiring live broadcast rights and the expectations of our audiences.”


Model Giselle’s Dazzling appearance


It is a relief that they were able to clinch a breakthrough in their negotiations with Dentsu and make live telecast possible.

Singapore viewers can now catch Rio action live through the following media:

  • the Okto TV channel (108 on StarHub)
  • Four Toggle channels

The best thing about Mediacorp closing the deal is that viewers can watch Rio live free without having to pay a penny extra to either StarHub or SingTel’s Mio TV. Mediacorp will get any revenues through advertising.

Well done, Mediacorp and Singapore!

Rio mascot

G Joslin Vethakumar




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Filed under Olympics, Sports

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