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Saturday, 30 September, 2000, 19:34 GMT 20:34 UK
IOC 'disappointed' by internet
Athletes logging on at the Olympic games
Athletes have logged on, but the public prefer television
By Sports correspondent Harry Peart in Sydney

Senior officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have said they over-estimated the number of people who would log onto the official Olympic internet sites during the games.

They said the figures showed that the internet still had a long way to go before it could rival television as a mainstream broadcasting medium.

The IOC had forecast that 35 million people, or what they call unique users, would use the official website during the games.

But with one day to go, the latest estimate is 15 million.

Television still 'king'

The head of the marketing division and IOC vice president, Dick Pound, said they had paid too much attention to "internet hype".

 India Internet World in New Delhi, sept 2000
The IOC is still not sure how to classify the internet
The director of marketing, Michael Payne, said the perception was that the world revolved around the internet.

But in fact, he said, television remained king with 99.5% of the audience.

Part of the problem for the IOC is that the place of the internet has yet to be accurately defined.

The IOC classifies it as a broadcasting medium and retains control of the use of any moving pictures for the next two winter Olympics and the 2004 summer games in Athens.

There was also pressure for a ban on pictures on the internet from the American broadcaster, NBC, which is the biggest financial backer of the games.

NBC's controversial decision to show no live pictures and delay its coverage by 18 hours has led to lower viewing figures than expected.

The IOC is staging a world conference on the new media in December.

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Background:
See also:

27 Sep 00 | South Asia
Internet experts gather in Delhi
11 Jan 00 | Business
Can the internet save 'old media'?
22 Aug 00 | Business
Battle for the internet
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