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TV's Platform Diving

By admin Published: June 27, 2007

I think that I have written before about the way watching TV has come to require watching TV. But the evidence keeps piling up, as in this announcement today:

ESPN, ABC and the National Basketball Association (NBA) will significantly expand their global relationship with ESPN’s most comprehensive digital rights package negotiated with any major professional sports league and enhanced television coverage in an eight-year extension beginning in 2008-09, it was announced today. ... Under the terms of the new deal, the NBA will deliver content for 17 ESPN platforms, including: ABC, ABC HD, ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile Publishing, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPNU and ESPN podcasts. The deal will also cover all new platforms ESPN creates or develops relationships with through the end of the agreement in 2016.

That ties in with the announcement a couple of weeks ago from CBS about "Big Brother" (continued after the jump) ...

This one is an epic:

CBS's BIG BROTHER 8 multi-platform initiative includes the following elements:

BIG BROTHER 8 on CBS:

BIG BROTHER 8 will be broadcast three nights weekly on Tuesday (9:00–10:00 PM, ET/PT), the live eviction show, hosted by Julie Chen, on Thursday (8:00–9:00 PM live ET/delayed PT) and Sunday (8:00–9:00 PM, ET/PT). ...

CBS and Showtime will partner for the first time to present "Big Brother: After Dark," a live look inside the BIG BROTHER house during the late-night hours. "Big Brother: After Dark" will feature a live feed from the "Big Brother" house for three hours (12:00–3:00 AM, ET/PT), seven days a week, on the cable network's "SHOTOO" channel beginning Thursday, July 5.

BIG BROTHER ONLINE:

Full-length episodes and highlight clips from BIG BROTHER 8 will be available on the CBS Audience Network allowing fans to watch the programs online and incorporate clips into their blogs, wikis, widgets and community pages.

CBS and RealNetworks®, Inc., join forces for the seventh straight season to provide exclusive 24/7 live streaming video from inside the BIG BROTHER 8 house. The webcast coverage debuts immediately following the July 5 premiere of BIG BROTHER 8 and will be accessible through the official BIG BROTHER 8 website at CBS.com and through Real's SuperPass subscription service at www.real.com/bigbrother.

The entire three-month live 24/7 Internet feed of BIG BROTHER 8 is available through SuperPass. Subscribers to the 24/7 video stream can watch any one of four live camera feeds from inside the BIG BROTHER 8 house or catch all of the action at once with the special quad-cam view which allows fans to see four different video feeds simultaneously. Subscribers will also have access to an exclusive, subscribers-only web chat that will allow fans from across the country to converse about what they see live on the feeds. Fans will be able to interact with one another and stay engaged with the show through Big Brother-focused blogs, chat rooms, message boards, weekly polls and other new interactive features.

(As in past years, to preserve the drama for BIG BROTHER 8 television viewers, CBS may block or delay the webcast for a limited number of real-time events that transpire in the house.)

BIG BROTHER 8 Mobile:

Last year's All-Star edition was the first season that supplied around-the-clock updates from inside the BIG BROTHER house to CBS's mobile subscribers. Once again, CBS will offer its mobile subscribers a unique look into the world of the Houseguests competing in BIG BROTHER 8:

BIG BROTHER MOBILE PACK: For the mobile subscription package, special producers will be monitoring the action inside the house around the clock to keep fans in the know with video clips, photos, live breaking house alerts and daily insider summaries sent straight to their cell phones. Additionally, fans will be able to download exclusive made-for-mobile wallpapers and ringtones from their favorite Houseguests at CBSmobile.com. The service will be available on most major wireless carriers and fans will be able to subscribe via CBSmobile.com and on-air callouts during BIG BROTHER 8.

AMERICA'S VOTE: Throughout the season, fans will have the opportunity to cast votes that will impact certain scenarios inside the house. Cell phone subscribers can send in their votes via text message on most major wireless carriers.

AMERICA WINS ON BIG BROTHER: Each week, fans will have the opportunity to win $10,000 by answering a Big Brother trivia question.

Finally, CBS will provide substantial numbers of mobile video clips from Big Brother on major carriers.

Additional BIG BROTHER 8 Online elements include:

HOUSE CALLS: THE BIG BROTHER TALK SHOW, the no-charge, half-hour, streaming video talk show, returns for its fourth season with broadcasts every Monday through Friday (1:00 PM/ET, 10:00 AM/PT) on CBS.com.

HOUSE CALLS is hosted by radio personality Gretchen Massey. Massey will interact with viewers through phone calls and e-mails, discuss events that transpire in the Big Brother house, offer prognostications, analyze strategies and interview former "Big Brother" Houseguests as well as current Houseguests following their eviction.

The BIG BROTHER 8 website on CBS.com will include detailed summaries of all the events that happen during each televised broadcast; a live 24/7 chat room; popularity and opinion polls; a virtual tour of the BIG BROTHER house; descriptions of the week's challenges; voting history pages; photo galleries; and a houseguest section with complete profiles.

"HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD BLOG" returns for its second season in which fans will be able to hear straight from the Head of Household about life in the BIG BROTHER house, what it is like to be under the constant gaze of dozens of cameras and watched live on the Internet 24/7.

Now, how much of that will you actually watch? And I ask that while admitting to a certain amount of old-and-in-the-way-ness when it comes to TV and technology. I've embraced HD, YouTube, some online elements and streaming video -- more and more often catching up with TV shows via their online replays. On the other hand, I'm out of the loop regarding mobile TV and video iPods (and have a hard time with the very idea of watching something on a screen that small).

To be sure, for someone who just can't get enough basketball or "Big Brother," all those extra elements are a Godsend -- not to mention an incentive to spend extra money, to the delight of the people running the Web sites and the phone companies. But I worry that the platforming of information makes the simple act of watching television that much more difficult because it's just one component of a larger and more complicated information flow, and you're not getting everything you need just from the TV screen. That's certainly happened with cable vs. broadcast -- cable filling niches that broadcast can then abandon, even though some people cannot pay the cost of getting what they want on cable.

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