This week, ESPN reintroduces ESPN360, its broadband-only service that delivers high-quality video clips and interviews, among other features. The goal is to give cable operators a broadband product that differentiates it from competing high-speed Internet offerings. Tanya van Court, ESPN Broadband and Interactive Television VP/GM, discussed the relaunch and iTV with B&C's Ken Kerschbaumer.
What does the relaunched broadband site do that the old one didn't?
There are three things: First, it has a more video-centric feel, so users feel like they're sitting somewhere between our TV network and the Internet. Second, we have more customization, like MyESPN, which allows users to store clips and automatically get information on favorite teams and players. Finally, we have a compact mode that takes up about 15% of the computer screen. That means users can watch ESPN360 while doing other things on the computer.
Which cable operators will offer the service?
We can have the service up and running in about two weeks. We have deals with 13 cable providers, including Charter and Adelphia.
What do those deals entail?
In negotiations, we figure out the right model for us and our partners so consumers can get free access. Operators pay us a certain amount per subscriber. Consumers want more than just a high-speed data connection.
What is happening on the interactive side of ESPN?
There is a lot of potential on the interactive side because sports content lends itself to interactive services. That is unlike drama and series, for example, which might be hard to build interactivity around.
When will ESPN launch iTV services?
It's too early to say, but we're actively involved in conversations about iTV. For a long time, iTV was a nascent space. But now those business models are coming to fruition. This is the time to jump in.