ESPN’s web video gets interactive

By : |August 30, 2003 0



LOS ANGELES: Sports network ESPN has new moves in store to expand its high-speed Internet video service “Motion,” a sports news and highlight feature that is one of the most successful uses of video on the Web, said the head of ESPN.com.


About 1.9 million users have downloaded software to view clips that ESPN, a division of Walt Disney Co., sends over high-speed Internet during the day to fans’ home computers.


Home computers cache the clips and then play them when an Internet browser is pointed to ESPN.com. The quality of the cached clips approaches that of television.


John Kosner, general manager of the ESPN Web site, said in an interview that he wanted to make the service more interactive by integrating hyperlinks for Web sites and fan polls with the video streams, as well as offering menus of clips.


ESPN would “almost provide some TiVo functionality,” Kosner said, referring to the brand of personal video recorder that automatically records television onto a computer hard drive.


Kosner did not set a target date for the new features, although he said ESPN would steadily increase the number of clips on the site, which is currently about 15 per day.


A number of attempts to integrate television and the Internet have failed so far, but ESPN has been getting about 800,000 views of its Motion clips per day, out of about 4 million visits per day.


ESPN.com had 16.7 million unique users in July, according to Media Metrix, and the site will be profitable for the first full year in the fiscal period ending in September, executives said.


Motion, which Disney is expanding to other company Web sites, including ABC.com, is popular with advertisers since the screen proportions are the same as for television.


© Reuters

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