PxPixel
In the Loop - Broadcasting & Cable

You Can Bet on It

Millions of Americans bet on sports events, and every office seems to have a weekly NFL pool or NCAA March Madness contest. Cincinnati-based DigitalBang decided to make an honest buck off the practice and now sells software, with names like "Football Frenzy," to TV-station Web sites. About 35 so far have invited viewers to bet on everything from college basketball games to who will survive on Survivor. Viewers are encouraged to visit the Web sites and register their game picks. Advertisers, such as car dealers, collect data on who these players are and whether, for example, they're in the market for a new car. DigitalBang keeps score for contestants, and some stations offer prizes. DigitalBang President and founder Ed Estes says, in Cincinnati, WXIX-TV, the Fox affiliate, lets its pool winners become the station's sports anchor for a night. —P.J.B.

Chop Shot

When the Staten Island ferry crashed two weeks ago, WPIX(TV) New York's news helicopter was in the air and wound up getting the beat on the whirlybird's-eye view of the aftermath. While high winds grounded some other birds, WPIX was already in the air with what it boasts as the market's only all-digital, chopper-to-control-room link, as well as a 1-meter lens that can provide closeups from up to 30 miles away, according to the station. WPIX supplied footage to WCBS-TV and WNBC-TV, both New York, as well as to CNN and NY1 News. The WNBC footage also was fed to co-owned CNBC and MSNBC. —J.E.

Sony, So Long

This week, Sony is expected to lay out its global corporate strategy, and part of the layout may include layoffs, reportedly as much as 10% of Sony's workforce. One thing that is already known is that Sony Electronics in the U.S. will move some of its marketing divisions from northern New Jersey to either San Diego or San Jose, Calif., early next year. San Diego is already home to part of the company's Personal Mobile and Imaging Division, and Sony personal audio, mobile electronics and accessories will make the move from Jersey, bringing those groups closer together. The marketing department of Sony's Home Products Division will also head to San Diego, where the manufacturing and engineering parts of that division are located. Part of the Business Solutions Division will make the move to San Jose, where some aspects of its operation already exist. Sony operations related to broadcast and production gear as well as media will remain in New Jersey. —K.K.

Playing It Both Ways

Last Saturday, you might have seen ESPN air live snippets of several college football games that were supposed to be airing exclusively on ABC. You weren't imagining things. Last week, the ABC affiliate board granted permission for ESPN to show up to two plays from each of ABC's regional games.

ESPN has been doing this for a while with its own regional games, as well as with those of a few regional sports networks.

The pitch to the affiliates is that the coverage is a sports update for ESPN's audience but might also work as a promo piece to get some ESPN watchers to flip over to ABC. And at least one ABC affiliate was doubtful of the promo benefits: "If I'm a Michigan fan, I'm already watching that game." ABC affiliate board Chairman Deb McDermott has an open mind about it. "It's promotion, not really a repurposing," she said. The affiliates and network will decide about continuing the snippet-swiping this week after viewing the results for one week. —S.M.

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