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01.06.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
ABC enhances college football



During its college football telecasts last week, ABC provided “enhanced” interactive programming - including real-time statistics and game photos - to online viewers using Wink technology on the ESPN.com Web site as they watched TV.

During its college football telecasts last week, ABC provided “enhanced” interactive programming - including real-time statistics and game photos - to online viewers using Wink technology on the ESPN.com Web site as they watched TV.

Sponsored by Ford Motors and produced by the Walt Disney Internet Group Enhanced TV division (ETV), the interactive elements were available during the Rose Bowl (1/1), Nokia Sugar Bowl (1/1), FedEx Orange Bowl (1/2) and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (1/3) and represent the first broadcast of a Wink-enhanced program on the ABC network. They previously have used other interactive technology during “Monday Night Football” telecasts.

ETV's PC-based interactive TV application includes the PrimeTime Player game that allows users to predict the outcome of each play as it happens and earn points for correct choices. Fans accumulate points based on their performance, and top scorers are eligible for prizes. During and after the telecasts, using Open TV's Wink service, Ford was able to gauge viewer response and interaction.

In addition to full-motion video of the game, the ESPN’s ETV programming included Live Stats, a real-time, interactive database of game, player and team statistics; Push Channel, which displays enhanced graphics, statistics and trivia synchronous to the action; Instant Polling and Live Comments, that allows users to voice their opinions throughout the game both on the ETV application and on-air.

OpenTV, through its subsidiary Wink Communications, provides an end-to-end solution for sending interactive applications along with broadcast video to viewers' televisions. For the ABC Sports broadcasts of the College Football "Bowl Championship Series" fans used their set-top box remote control to scroll through real-time statistics, access scores of other bowl games, and obtain more information about the eight competing teams.

"Sports programming has been one of the most successful avenues for introducing interactivity,” said James Ackerman, CEO of OpenTV.

ABC's enhanced TV programming is delivered via an Internet-connected computer and is controlled by the user while watching the show simultaneously on television. In the past, Disney’s ETV division has produced two-screen interactive applications for the 1999 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, 2000 FedEx Orange Bowl, 2001 Super Bowl XXIV, Monday Night Football, ESPN's Sunday Night Football & Sunday Night Baseball, and golf’s Lincoln Financial Group Battle @ Bighorn.

For more information visit etv.go.com.

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