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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Split Screen with stats & more camera angles offered on YES DirecTV regional telecasts---NY Times

Fans who watch the Yankees locally on the YES Network on DirecTV can now push buttons on their remotes to call to their screens the in-game box score, scores of other games (with Boston’s always first), player statistics, standings, major league leaders and the players coming up next in the lineup.

They'll also get one more feature to the YES Interactive venture: a camera dedicated to showing the second-best angle on a particular play. When requested, it will be shown in a split screen.

BonusCam, as the secondary camera is called, is largely at the mercy of the camera operator’s ability to determine quickly throughout the game what the second-most-relevant angle to a play will be. It might be the reaction in the dugout to a home run while the batter trots around the bases, or a player arguing a called third strike while a pitch sequence is being shown.

BonusCam will be available only during home games.

YES has been looking to add interactive elements to its Yankees broadcasts for a year, reasoning that viewers’ craving for information and statistics during games would be satisfied with the right type of service.

“What defines our product is its stickiness, the way people watch the Yankees and care intensely,” Tracy Dolgin, chief executive of YES, said yesterday. “This takes it to a whole new level.”

He said the service, which is free for DirecTV customers, will eventually provide additional advertising revenue. YES has been aggressively selling many elements of its Yankees and Nets games to sponsors, and the interactive addition will receive similar treatment.

DirecTV subscribers in the Yankees’ regional market are the only ones who can get the interactive service. Viewers have seen YES Interactive being tested during home games since the All-Star Game. So far, a third of DirecTV subscribers who get YES have used the service, with 25 percent of those using it at least 11 times a game.

YES is the first regional sports network in the country to add DirecTV’s interactive service (which uses statistical information provided by M.L.B. Advanced Media, which owns MLB.com). DirecTV will not provide it to any other sports networks this year. A spokesman for SportsNet New York, the Mets’ four-month-old channel, said the network was interested but not until next year.

And because DirecTV does not have an exclusive hold on the service — as it does on NFL Sunday Ticket — cable operators will be able to offer it.

by Richard Sandomir, NY Times July 26, 2006

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