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Multi-Screen Sports Viewing Options for 2013

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How can networks capitalize upon the fragmented attention span of sports fans during live broadcasts? The reality of our ever increasing need for information has caused broadcasters to not only think about how they stay connected with viewers, but also how to serve their advertising partners.  The use of multiple screens by viewers has been widely debated by advertisers and programmers.  Evidence from parties such as Time Warner’s Research Council suggests that users who interact with social media during broadcasts are more engaged with programming than those that watch broadcasts without a second screen option.  NBC and ESPN are developing apps to address the opportunities associated with multi-screen viewing experiences.

NBC’s Live Extra App for the 2012 Summer Olympics “will allow you to view live video, highlights, news, and more on your smartphone or tablet”.  Satellite and cable subscribers will be able to access more than 3,500 hours of live competitions, including medal events.  NBC’s new app will not deter viewership from their broadcasts, but will either complement their broadcasts or connect with viewers unable to watch the events live on their TV.  A similar thought process has compelled ESPN to develop an app for the college football season.

ESPN will unveil a college football app that has access to video highlights as soon as six seconds from the live action, game recaps, trending scores, and live engagement.  The opportunity to connect fans before, during and after games is what appeals to ESPN.  The fact that they will be offering in-game highlights demonstrates that they are committed to providing fans with content as it unfolds.  This user first approach of ESPN will ensure that the company continues to provide its consumers with the experience they demand, and advertisers with opportunities that connect them with the experience of the game.

The sports consumer now demands to know what, why and how things are happening in real-time and wants to consume this information on their terms.  Broadcasters no longer have a monopoly over a fan’s attention span.  It is imperative that they continue to provide fans with more interactive options during their broadcasts.  NBC and ESPN should be commended for their initiative, and we can be assured that they will not be the last broadcasters to take this approach.

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Written by Peter Amador

July 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM

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