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May 20, 2021

The Tokyo Olympics are Fast Approaching, But Will Viewers Play Fair?

  • Blog
  • Media & Entertainment

By James Clark, Director of Global Sales, GeoComply

 

The upcoming Tokyo Olympics have the potential to be a great diversion to the chaos of the past 18 months. As viewers tune in to cheer for their country or tear up at their national anthem during the medal ceremony, many are seeking some palpable relief from the ongoing pandemic.

To watch their country’s athletes compete, most viewers will be consuming it at home on their televisions. Research by GWI indicates that linear TV remains the dominant way of following the Games. But with audiences spread across all time zones, half of fans are planning to use catch-up services to watch the day’s action.

 

Breaking the Olympic Spirit with a VPN

The Olympics has traditionally been broadcast on free-to-air, linear TV networks, and so has not been a target for video piracy in the same way as English Premier League soccer games or a big boxing match. But the way we consume sports is changing and the Olympics are no exception, with premium streaming services such as Eurosport and Peacock offering this summer’s Games to paid subscribers. This opens the floodgates for fans who choose to use VPNs to commit geolocation fraud and geo-piracy to access the Olympic telecasts from other territories.

Viewers use VPNs for a number of reasons, but the real menace are those viewers who habitually use VPNs to avoid paying for services or to avoid the disruption of advertisements on their local streaming services by opting for an foreign broadcaster without any advertising.

 

Territorially-Based Broadcast Rights Need Protection

NBC, holder of the biggest commercial rights contract, inked a $7.75 billion contract in 2014 running until 2032 to broadcast the games in the US, while Discovery subsidiary Eurosport paid €1.3 billion for European rights through 2024. Broadcast rights are always territorially restricted and because sponsors pay for access to audiences in certain markets, each broadcaster is contractually obliged to ensure that viewers reside in their contracted territory.

To eliminate geolocation fraud and geo-piracy, protect revenues and comply with their contracts, many broadcasters including the BBC and CBC, use GeoComply’s hyper-accurate and fraud-proof technology, GeoGuard DB.

Detecting and blocking people who use VPNs and Proxies to access the Olympics from outside their territory, pushes them to legitimate services and protects the value of those all-important sponsorships and broadcast rights. This contributes to the ongoing financial viability of one of the greatest shows on earth, and that’s a gold medal performance for everyone.