Discovery breaks records for Olympic digital engagement, sues Polish government | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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Just as it was reporting that over 372 million people in Europe watched the Tokyo Olympic Games across its TV and digital services, content giant Discovery revealed that it will take legal action against the Polish government following its refusal to renew the licence of its subsidiary broadcasting group TVN.
Discovery Tokyo 12 Aug2021
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 drove record digital engagement with almost three times more people signing up to Discovery’s subscription services compared with Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. More than 372 million people watched Tokyo 2020 in Europe, more than 10% more than the Winter Olympics of PyeongChang 2018. Over 175 million of those viewed Discovery’s coverage on TV and digital, 13 times more than for PyeongChang 2018. Almost 200 million additional people watched through partner broadcasters with whom Discovery agreed sublicence agreements, including 45 free-to-air national broadcasters throughout Europe.

The Games have been dubbed the first streaming Olympics and the company recorded 1.3 billion minutes of Olympics content consumed across Discovery’s digital platforms led by the discovery+ direct-to-consumer and Eurosport subscription services. This was 21 times more minutes compared to PyeongChang 2018, Discovery’s previous Olympic Games, as on average viewers consumed 60% more minutes per user for Tokyo 2020. Discovery’s said its first Olympic Summer Games underlined the continuing broad interest across Europe for the event, as well as the strong desire by audiences to create their own personalised experience by choosing what to watch. and its multiple local market versions continued to see record breaking daily audiences throughout the Games, delivering 3 times higher reach than PyeongChang 2018. More than 47 million unique visitors followed Eurosport’s Olympic coverage during the 17-day period of the Olympics, seeing page views and video starts more than double compared to the previous Olympic Winter Games.

Yet just as the Olympic medals were being handed out, Discovery said it was heading for the Polish courts after what it called a “discriminatory” campaign against TVN, including the Polish government’s refusal to renew TVN24’s broadcasting licence which culminated in the vote on 11 August yesterday in the lower house of the Polish Parliament to pass legislation that would ban upstream foreign media ownership in the country. Discovery said such legislation was the latest in an “assault” on independent media and freedom of the press, and took direct aim at broadcasting group and news provider TVN.

Discovery added that the Polish government had targeted TVN in an “arbitrary and discriminatory” manner for a number of years, as part of a broader crackdown on independent media and in direct violation of legal protections around freedom of expression.

Discovery has sent a Notice of Dispute to President Andrzej Duda and gave notice that it intends to commence arbitration proceedings in accordance with Article IX(3) of the current US-Polish Treaty and seek full compensation for Poland’s breaches.