Originally Posted by sneals2000
Sadly the rest of Europe hasn't done as well since London 2012. Unlike the UK (BBC) and Germany (ARD/ZDF) many other countries have lost public service broadacst access to the games, and they've gone Pay TV. This is because the EBU (the European Broadcasting Union which represents European public service broadcasters) wasn't able to negotiate a Europe-wide rights deal, and the larger European countries' rights were sold separately, with the smaller countries' rights sold as a single lump to be sold-on.
For instance, this is the first year that Sweden has not had Winter Olympics coverage on free OTA - SVT no longer have the rights and instead Viasat (a Dish/DirecTV type operation) have it. I think the same is true for NRK - who lost the rights to TV2 (but NRK have been sub-contracted by TV2 to act as host broadcasters for the Biathlon I believe?) TV2 is also not entirely Pay TV - so may be FTA in Norway for some stuff?
I was wondering if you'd check in too to give the UK perspective.
The EBU losing the contract for their members to broadcast the Olympics was certainly a major shakeup, but I'd argue that for the most part these Olympics and the upcoming 2016 ones did mostly stay on the public-service broadcasters in Europe that have long broadcasted the games. Certainly the biggest exceptions, as you noted, are Sweden and Norway. RAI in Italy also doesn't have broadcasting rights, but they lost many rights to Sky Italia starting with the 2010 Olympics I believe. Other than that, I think the only other EBU broadcasters that lost broadcast rights are LRT in Lithuania and RTP in Portgual, though that could actually improve coverage in both countries since I don't believe their public broadcasters are particularly well funded with many resources. There's a Wikipedia list of 2014 Olympics broadcasters here
Nevertheless, that was a huge, huge coup for TV2 and Viasat to take the rights from NRK and SVT in Norway and Sweden, respectively. Indeed, in both countries, this is the first time that the public-service broadcaster is not airing the Olympics, winter or summer. From what I read before the games, the public, or at least the media, in both countries seemed somewhat glum about the move, primarily because TV2 and Viasat said that they would be showing commercials on their channels during
live competition (something NRK and SVT would never do) and also because, without the Olympics, there is less perceived value obtained from paying the hefty and mandatory license fees that go toward funding NRK and SVT. Having to pay for access to all the Viasat or TV2 channels airing competition, or even the live streams on the internet, also probably doesn't help, although I noticed when visiting TV2's website that one can sign up for a free one-month trial subscription and get access to Olympic live streams.
Anyway, with all that said, now that we are a few days into the games, I wonder what Norwegians and Swedes think of their television coverage of these Olympics. Whatever the case, I'm sure they're still tuning in in enormous numbers given how passionate they are about many of the sports.