Study examines opportunities for sports broadcasters in interactive TV

MUMBAI: At the forefront of the interactive TV (ITV) experience is the sport genre. ITV shows great potential in enriching the sports viewing experience and deepen the fans relationship not only with TV programmes but also with the sport itself and individual teams and players.

Now a report from Research and Markets Interactive TV: The Opportunities for Sport has noted that in recent years the credibility of iTV has, like other new technologies, been hampered by expectations running far ahead of capabilities. In addition one has to consider financial problems associated with many broadcasters and technology companies.

However in reality many of the potential services revealed in a blaze of publicity a few years ago are now becoming available as a broad array of iTV services are now being rolled out in the UK, France, US and other countries.

With the number of sports channels on the rise sports broadcasters are increasingly looking to interactive TV to provide greater levels of viewer interaction and viable alternative revenue streams.

Higher TV ratings and traffic can be achieved while generating new revenue streams through pay-per-play premium rate telephony and/or micropayments.

However, iTV is still an expensive addition to a sports offering's armoury. Bearing this in mind sports broadcasters needs to decide their iTV strategy carefully.

Failure to do so risks alienating and frustrating the viewer with slow, clumsy, ill-thought through interactive applications that do not enhance the drama of the sporting event nor add to the viewers sense of involvement with the action. It is therefore vital that sports organisations looking to move into the world of iTV have a clear understanding of the media and their audience to provide services that add significant value.

The report provides a market overview of existing digital markets where exploitation of iTV functionality's is possible for sports rights holders and contextual commercial operations. The key issue of programme enhancement versus direct revenue is examined along with how interactive functionality can indirectly impact on the other revenue streams of sports rights holders.

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