NeuLion Inc., an Internet video company based in Plainview, has been contracted by China Network Television to provide an online video stream of the Olympics to Chinese consumers, the company announced Monday.
"This new deal with CNTV just continues to expand what we've been doing in the U.S." in video streaming, said Chris Wagner, NeuLion's executive vice president for marketplace strategy. "China's going to be the world's second largest economy by 2015 so it's a great place to start."
CNTV has the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics via Internet and mobile in mainland China. It is part of China Central Television -- the state-owned TV network in China.
Through NeuLion's platform, viewers will be able to access a live stream of CNTV's Olympics coverage on their PCs and mobile phones after signing up for CNTV's new media service called CNTV 5+ VIP. The service also offers interactive features like a TV guide, tournament highlights and instant replay.
Signing up for CNTV 5+ VIP and watching the Olympics online will be free, but CNTV plans to roll out additional programming through NeuLion's video platform after the Olympics that will be on a subscription basis, Wagner said. The two companies signed a multiyear contract, but Wagner would not disclose how much it was worth.
NeuLion has offices in Beijing and Shanghai that will be handling most of the work for the CNTV contract, but the company's senior management at its Plainview headquarters will be overseeing the streaming operations remotely.
Wagner said he could not give any estimates to how many viewers the online video streaming will reach. But figures from the China Internet Network Information Center -- a state-owned nonprofit group -- stated that there were over 538 million Internet users in China as of June, of which 388 million are connecting via mobile phones.
NeuLion is a public company traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company's co-founder and chief executive, Nancy Li, is the wife of Charles Wang -- the founder and former chairman of Islandia-based CA, Inc. Wang also serves as chairman of NeuLion.