Production of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be a “level up” from anything seen before thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements, according to Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) chief executive Yiannis Exarchos.

Speaking to Sportcal (GlobalData Sport) on the power of AI, Exarchos stated: “There are obvious benefits in terms of efficiencies. We [will] introduce a platform with [technology company] Intel that will allow broadcasters to generate very fast highlights.”

These highlights will be disseminated across broadcasters and content partners for linear TV, social media, and other digital platforms, a rapid system that Exarchos says has never existed before due to the lack of technological advancement.

He said: “The Olympics is massive in terms of events and content, so generating highlights that are more customized for different audiences is very important for different sports, different countries, etc. So those are very good opportunities.”

Speaking at the launch of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic AI Agenda alongside AI partner Intel, Exarchos talked positively about the future of Olympic broadcasting with the value added by new AI solutions.

He explained: “There is no doubt [that] providing an opportunity for more personalized content is, of course, something that adds value to our partners [and] to the product.”

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He added that the nature of the games as a multi-sport cultural attraction that draws so many different segments of the global populace to watch makes it the ideal proving ground for AI technology in bolstering its broadcast mix.

He stated: “The Olympics remains one of the few properties out there that can still act as massive aggregators of audiences. Today's media are facing a fundamental problem of disaggregation of audience or fragmentation of audience.

“This I would say is the most fundamental problem that we face. The Olympics still has the power to aggregate audiences but this power works on the back of providing content to different audiences and demographics, and in different ways on different platforms and enhancing the possibility of people to consume this content the way they want to consume it, not just in the traditional way of the linear television.

“The more diversity and opportunities that we offer to our broadcasters to put this on different platforms to monetize it, the greater the value and the greater the effect.”

Exarchos also touched on the IOC’s partnership with Chinese business conglomerate Alibaba, which is a TOP partner (the highest partnership tier) of the games, and whose cloud technology partnership will also help to bolster OBS’ broadcast coverage ahead of Paris 2024.

He said: “The partnership with Alibaba has been extremely beneficial for us. We saw the opportunity for OBS and OCS [Olympic Channel Services] from the very first day, on the back of moving broadcasts into the cloud.

“At the time [2018] we recognized the fundamental problem with the games. The flipside of the success of the games is the complexity of the huge amount of content, and also the need for broadcasters to have a lot of presence in the broadcasts.

“Using cloud services cloud technologies would be an answer to this problem. At the time, there was skepticism from many of our colleagues in broadcasting because they felt cloud [was not useful] for broadcasting. Alibaba sat down with us and really understood the problem was the necessary expertise and resources to create a bespoke broadcast cloud platform, the OBS cloud.”

The benefit of the OBS Cloud, Exarchos explains, is that it streamlines the processes of Olympic broadcasts, stating: “It's already bringing together what a broadcaster wants to do without them needing to bring all this hardware and people etc, whether it's editing, storing, or even live transmission.

“In Paris, almost 40% of international transmission of the games to other countries will happen over the cloud live. That was unthinkable even six years ago.

“Alibaba is one of the three or four major players in the world. So for us, it's important that we can leverage its capacity on that front.”