ESPN, Real Add Broadband Content - Multichannel

ESPN, Real Add Broadband Content

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With the combined cable and digital subscriber line modem count now close to 18 million homes, content providers are moving to proffer more video product for high-speed subscribers.

Last week, ESPN introduced ESPNMotion to its Web site, which makes it easier for broadband subscribers to access the increasing amount of video clips available on ESPN.com.

And Real Networks Inc. is launching TOURCast Plus, a standalone subscription offering built around Professional Golfers' Association Tour content.

"There is much talk about broadband in the industry right now," said ESPN executive vice president of broadband John Skipper. "With 80 percent of our users already having access to broadband, we can roll out a product like ESPNMotion to bring life to the stories they follow."

ESPNMotion allows users to view game highlights, original programming, analysis and interviews with players or coaches, as well as clips from the weekday series Pardon the Interruption, automatically, from the network's home page.

The application also allows advertisers to run TV commercials online. Gatorade has signed on as an initial sponsor, ESPN said, running the Super Bowl ad in which National Basketball Association legend Michael Jordan plays one-on-one against himself.

Video clips are created in Windows Media Encoder 9 Series and will be published several times each day. Viewers have on-demand access to clips with full pause, rewind and fast forward capabilities, ESPN said.

The content is free for subscribers with broadband connections. Users also will be able to tap the site's new search offering, powered by Overture, for access to current and archived clips.

Real's TOURCast product will feature audio and video highlights from the PGA Tour, plus a special ShotLink feature, which enables users to follow tournament play in real time or to replay golf shots through graphic presentations. Both features were scheduled to be available this past weekend for the Nissan Open from Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Real partnered with Sportvision to create TOURCast; the application is hosted by IBM Corp. It will allow users to see every shot by each player in a tournament's field.

Additional information about players, shots and holes is also available. Users can replay any shot they missed.

TOURCast is priced at $9.95 per month on a standalone basis, or $14.95 a month when packaged with Real Networks's SuperPass offering.

A three-hole version of TOURCast and a 14-day free trial can be accessed at PGATOUR.com, said Real.

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