DirecTV Adds Interactive Features to Punch Up 'NFL Sunday Ticket’ Package

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DirecTV Inc. is adding some interactive elements to its exclusive “NFL Sunday Ticket” out-of-market National Football League package.

The direct-broadcast satellite company said it will introduce additional game channels, on which viewers will be able to watch one game while also viewing real-time scores, red-zone alerts and time clocks from all of the other games — “all on one screen, in an L-wrap format.”

REAL-TIME CLOCKS

The enhanced games — which can be viewed on channels 702 to 705 — include real-time clocks for each game and color-coded indicators that will alert viewers to the start of the game, which team has possession of the ball and when a team has scored, DirecTV said.

DirecTV also stole some thunder from Comcast Corp., which announced a deal with the NFL last week to offer video-on-demand customers highlights from NFL games each week. (See story, page 42.)

The satellite-TV provider said late Wednesday that Sunday Ticket subscribers who have digital-video recorders would be able to view two-minute highlights from NFL games that will be automatically downloaded to their DVRs.

James Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson — announcers for DirecTV’s News Corp. sibling, Fox — will provide wrap-ups for all of the games to Sunday Ticket customers who own DVRs, DirecTV said.

The DBS company also rolled out a new “GameTracker” feature for Sunday Ticket, which will allow subscribers to get alerts via e-mail “when games heat up, so that they can tune to the right game at all of the key moments.”

EMMYS FOR ITV

Cable-industry executives have been waiting for DirecTV to roll out new ITV features since the company was taken over by News Corp., which offers several interactive services on its satellite platforms in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Wednesday’s announcement from DirecTV may signal the beginning of a series of new ITV features it could offer to subscribers.

DirecTV also said last week it received a Primetime Emmy for interactive enhancements to Sunday Ticket. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said it also handed out Emmy Awards Plaques for outstanding achievement in interactive television to: Showtime Networks Inc., David Preisman, Brainstorm Communications Inc., OpenTV and EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network for Showtime Interactive; and to ABC Enhanced TV and Zetools for Celebrity Mole: Yucatan.

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