silentbrad writes: From the Globe and Mail: "The first Olympic broadcast crackled over the airwaves 64 years ago in London, as a few thousand people who lived near venues were able to pick up some events on their black-and-white televisions. The decades since then have been kind to Olympic broadcasters, who raked in billions of dollars from advertisers eager to get their products in front of the massive worldwide audiences glued to television sets. As the Games return to London, that model is coming apart
... The future is so unclear that all of Canada’s broadcasters have pulled out of bidding for the 2014 and 2016 Games because they aren’t convinced the old model will still work only a few years from now as more consumers move online. ... Sixty-four years after television came to the Games, the Olympic Broadcast Service employs 13,000 to produce 2,500 hours of content covering virtually every sport. Canada’s Olympic Consortium – 80 per cent owned by BCE Inc. and the rest by Rogers Communications Inc. – will send more than 5,000 hours of content to televisions, phones and computers. Unlike the Canadian broadcasters who are threatening to walk away completely because of high costs, NBC doesn’t have the luxury of sitting out the next time Olympians gather to compete. It signed a $4.38-billion deal last year that will see it broadcasting through 2020.