YouTube to Get Olympics, But (Probably) Not for You

The Olympics will be officially shown on YouTube in an effort to preempt pirated online footage, the International Olympic Committee said today. But the eleventh-hour announcement only covers 77 territories “across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including India, Republic of Korea, Nigeria and Indonesia” where the rights to the online broadcast have not already been sold.

The channel — which is to be geo-blocked to everyone else — will include highlights produced by the IOC’s broadcasting group.

It’s interesting that YouTube is being used as the default here. In the U.S., for instance, there will be much broader coverage available online, but users will have to download Microsoft’s Silverlight and wait for the events broadcast on TV to be posted after a delay. A simple YouTube channel seems like a much more lightweight option.

I’m sure YouTube will be screening and blocking additional uploads of the geo-blocked official channel’s footage, but it will be highly surprising (and unprecedented, in recent years) if the site doesn’t become a repository of all sorts of easier-to-access highlights as well.

In other online video-related Olympics news, Adobe said today it will help power the official Olympics video portal in China and Macau. We had noted last night that Brightcove KK is powering the Japanese equivalent.