Thomas Bach addressed the PASO General Assembly this morning, with details about the Olympic TV Channel encouraging most responses ©Twitter

Targeting a mainstream audience with a "different approach" to broadcasting sport has been revealed as a major aim of the Olympic TV Channel by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach here today.

Bach delivered a general update on the IOC and its future aims to delegates from all 41 Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) members at the body's General Assembly, with the Channel highlighted as one of the key objectives which came out of the Agenda 2020 reform process.

It was this which provoked most debate in the subsequent question and answer session, with Bach responding to suggestions and queries as to what exactly it will show.

This will include footage of past Games from the IOC archives, he answered, although this will not be the prime-time focus.

Live sport will instead be shown as much as possible, with all National Olympic Committees, International Federations and Organising Committees urged to approach the IOC with offers for their events to be shown.

Because many major events, such as various World Championships for specific sports, will already have been sold to an exclusive rights holder, a "different approach" will be sought in order to find a new angle.

"In this case, we will offer a broadcast programme one, two or five days after, not just repeating the Championships but telling stories around it, to enrich it," he said.

"This could include interviews and profiles on athletes, details on what is needed to put the Championships into place, for example, or a look at the contribution of volunteers."

Thomas Bach right was acknowledged by PASO President Julio Maglione following the discussion on the TV Channel today ©IOC
IOC President Thomas Bach right was presented with a souvenir by PASO President Julio Maglione following the discussion on the Olympic TV Channel in Toronto today ©IOC

A news programme, where viewers can follow all that is happening in the world of sport, featuring results but also "as much background as possible" will also be broadcast.

"We will hopefully become a reference point to all the sports fans in the world," Bach said. 

"It will start with a worldwide digital channel but we are in discussions with countries and rights-holders and we will see how to extend this programme to different countries and regions."

But in response to a question calling for educational programmes detailing training methods or scientific process regarding issues such as doping, Bach warned against adopting an overly niche approach.

“We should not just be an in-house channel for the Olympic Movement, we should promote it to the rest of the world," he said.

"So we must be careful not to be too specific and address just our target groups."

The Olympic TV Channel was a key proposal resulting from last December's IOC Session in Monte Carlo ©IOC
The Olympic TV Channel was a key proposal resulting from last December's IOC Session in Monte Carlo ©IOC

The question of when the Channel will start was described as the easiest to answer, because "we don't know yet".

Some figures involved in the project are hopeful of a launch date next year, Bach revealed, before warning that they will not have a second chance to make a first impression.

The improved nature of relationships between the IOC and PASO was also discussed during the two-hour meeting today, with several delegates suggesting how in the past there had been a sense of distance between the two organisations.

In return, Bach said that they had previously felt PASO was "looking for some distance" before praising the new and open approach introduced by the body's interim President Julio Maglione. 

But the importance of continuing these relations, and of IOC officials regularly visiting, was outlined in a passionate intervention by St Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee vice-president Dennis Knight, who cited problems within football governing body FIFA as a counter-example of what happens when this does not occur.

Related stories
April 2015: 
Olympic TV Channel could screen korfball, netball and sumo after Bach offer
March 2015: Miró given new IOC role as structure of Olympic TV Channel confirmed
December 2014: Olympic TV Channel secures unanimous approval