MediaOne Express, MediaOne Group Inc.'s
high-speed-data service, has added a new original "series," called
"MediaOne Racing: The Inside Track," which is designed to rev up subscriber
loyalty and to speed up acquisition rates.
The series -- which debuted April 9, and which will run in
five installments through May 3 -- follows a MediaOne-sponsored race car as its team
prepares for the Formula Atlantic Long Beach (Calif.) Gran Prix and the following race in
the Kool/Toyota Atlantic Championship series.
According to Phil Weinstock, director of product and
programming for MediaOne Internet Services, the MSO's goal is to create local
programming content especially for broadband.
MediaOne chose to follow the race-car team as a test case
because, as a sponsor, the MSO had access.
Weinstock said he hopes that the MediaOne Racing series
will help to establish the broadband-programming concept when the MSO talks with local
sports teams about creating original content in other MediaOne and Road Runner markets.
MediaOne Express will become MediaOne Road Runner sometime
High-speed Internet providers are starting to emphasize
original content as the market moves beyond the early adopter stage.
"Our first customers were probably more interested in
the speed," Weinstock admitted. But beyond faster links to other Internet sites,
cable-modem services should also provide unique content that takes advantage of its
broadband capabilities, he added.
"It's not just information today," Weinstock
said. "It's broadband storytelling."
New York-based Thoughtbubble Productions -- which also
designs broadband content for Bravo, The Independent Film Channel and American Movie
Classics -- created MediaOne Racing.
Jonathan Heck, executive vice president at Thoughtbubble,
said the high-speed theme of the car race also helps to show off the benefits of
broadband. "There's a synergy between the subject and the medium," he said.
Broadband allows a subscriber to experience the race in
ways that television and low-bandwidth online services can't, Heck added.
Future MediaOne Road Runner marketing materials will make
more references to the unique content found on the high-speed cable-modem service,