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WRAL-TV rolls out ACC tournament coverage on cell phones

WRAL-TV will deliver schedules, scores and stats to Sprint cell phone subscribers during the ACC and NCAA basketball tournaments.

WRAL-TV added coverage of the ACC basketball tournament to its Sprint cell phone offerings this week.

Rolled out March 8, tournament coverage is available as another menu selection on the WRAL cell phone interface. Selecting the coverage gives users access to schedules, scores, statistics and game recaps. The station will offer NCAA tournament coverage on cell phones as well.

Last December, the Raleigh-Durham, NC, broadcaster announced it was partnering with Sprint PCS to offer regional viewers access to station news, sports and weather content. Users pay a $3.99 monthly subscription fee as part of their cell phone bill. The station and Sprint split revenues.

Cell phone content distribution gives broadcasters a way to leverage their newsroom resources and build brand loyalty in their regional market.

According to DTV Plus Vice President and General Manager Sam Matheny, the number of subscribers to the WRAL service is growing although he declined to release any numbers.

DTV Plus is a sister company of WRAL. It has spearheaded Capitol Broadcasting’s efforts to develop technology to support the delivery of television content to mobile handset users.

To date, WRAL has not made its video content available to cell phone users. While video on a cell phone is of vital interest to Capitol Broadcasting, it is more important for the company to do it correctly than it is to do it first, Matheny said.

Matheny fully expects to offer WRAL video to cell phone subscribers by next year’s ACC tournament. However, he cautioned that the station will make no compromise when it comes to quality.

WRAL could offer video today, but the station is not satisfied with the quality of cell phone video at this stage. Matheny described it as a “slide show with audio.”

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