ESS launches interactive show targeting mobile users

MUMBAI: Television's cricket audience are not just 'dumb viewers', at least that is what ESPN Star Sports (ESS) believes. The sports broadcaster, along with wireless solutions provider OnMobile Systems, has launched an interactive television sports programme that gives mobile subscribers a chance to interact with ESS commentators during the live coverage of Asia Cup matches.


Subscribers of Airtel, Orange/ Hutch, Tata Indicom and Idea Cellular will have to call a unique number and express their views on IndianOil Asia Cup. A team of ESPN Star Sports' officials after analysing viewers' opinions and comments would invite selected callers to interact with the commentators during the live coverage.

OnMobile has provided the technology for interactive programme, which has been launched for the duration of the cricket championship, stated an official release.

ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd Cricket and Indian Production director Ray Hume said, "The latest initiative marks a significant step forward in TV-mobile interactive programmes in India. The motive is to make people interact with television rather than just watch it. The format of the initiative is extremely user friendly. Mobile users can simply record their views after dialing a number and selected callers will be rewarded with a chance to interact with our commentators live on air. I am confident that this level of simplicity will bring a new phase of interactive programming in the country."

The interactive programming service is available nationally to over 17 million mobile users. The users will be charged Rs 6 per minute for availing this service across India. Subscribers simply have to call a number and say STAR Sports to leave comments/ opinion about the 'IndianOil Asia Cup' in English or Hindi. The number for Airtel is 646, Hutch - 123, IDEA cellular - 456 and Tata Indicom (applicable in Mumbai and Pune only) is 1590.

OnMobile technology currently enables users to purchase PINs for the popular ESPN Super Selector game using their mobile phones. The cost of the PIN is charged to the users' mobile bill, the release added.

"At OnMobile, we are focused on making services easy-to-use. We are very excited to be working with ESS in developing simple, yet powerful interactive programming services. Mobile subscribers become active participants in the channel's programmes, while generating revenues for the mobile operators, making it a win-win situation for everyone" said OnMobile Systems CEO Arvind Rao.

ESS and Yahoo! India had earlier announced a strategic partnership for cross-media SMS interactivity and promotion across the channel for the Asia Cup.

ESPN STAR Sports will be simultaneously telecasting the last five matches of 'IndianOil Asia cup' with Hindi commentary on Star Sports along with English commentary on ESPN. Star Sports Hindi cricket telecast will be called Voice Aapki-Choice Aapki and will be anchored by Suman. The Hindi team will also include former Pak captain Waqar Younis, former Indian Test players Arun Lal, Maninder Singh and Vinod Kambli. On STAR Sports, in addition to Hindi commentary, the broadcaster will introduce Hindi-programming initiatives.

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