News

Interactive Yanks Score

12/09/2007 7:00 PM Eastern

A-Rod, Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees helped the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and DirecTV’s interactive application for live games hit a performance home run, enticing usage from close to half of all subscribers with access to the service.

YES said 42% of all DirecTV subscribers with interactive boxes accessed YES Interactive on DirecTV, which offered out-of-town scores, a second bonus video feed and real-time game statistics with a click of a button.

YES chief operating officer Ray Hopkins also said users of the interactive service typically watched Yankees games on YES 54% longer than viewers who did not access YES Interactive. “That [viewing time] ultimately translates to ratings points, which is something that we can monetize,” he said.

Actual user numbers weren’t revealed — only percentages. Only DirecTV subscribers who live in the defined New York market area can watch live games on YES and therefore use the interactive service, with the right set-top. About half of DirecTV’s 16.5 million subscribers have interactive boxes.

As the Yankees closed the gap with the division-winning Boston Red Sox late in the season, so did use of YES and DirecTV’s interactivity. From April to September, the average number of users increased 20%; the number of times YES Interactive was used per household per month increased 84%; and the amount of time spent on YES Interactive by the average user increased 184%.

Hopkins said the most popular application was the out of town scoreboard feature, usage of which rose 67% over the season.

DirecTV executive vice president of entertainment Eric Shanks said the usage percentages were similar to those for similar interactive elements for sports events such as the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the March Madness NCAA college basketball tournament.

“If you’re a DirecTV customer, you’re interacting with your remote control,” Shanks said.

Hopkins said YES wants to add more interactive applications. This is the second season of YES interactivity on DirecTV.

“We know that it works, but we’ll look to make some tweaks to the package to further improve the experience for the viewer,” he said.

November