Satellite

DirecTV Takes Interactive Sports Mobile

8/22/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

DirecTV is looking to go long on
mobile platforms with its interactive sports
services.

DirecTV is exploring alternative distribution
platforms for such interactive sports
offerings as enhanced coverage of the four
major Grand Slam golf and tennis events,
according to Alex Kaplan, senior director of
product management, who said the 19 million-
subscriber satellite-TV provider has yet
to reach any agreements.

DirecTV’s interactive sports outreach
comes as it announced last week plans to
offer its exclusive “NFL Sunday Ticket” outof-
market premium package to PlayStation 3
video game consoles.

The provider’s 500 hours per year of interactive
sports programming have proven
popular with sports fans. Such programming
has been viewed by more than 6 million
DirecTV subscribers, with nearly half of all
viewers of the network’s events in 2010 on a
daily basis using interactive features, such as
mosaic channels that feature multiple liveevent
feeds and up-to-the-minute on-screen
scores, highlights and standings, according
to Kaplan.

Daily time spent using such interactive applications
grew 11% in 2010 compared to the
prior year, and has continued its aggressive
growth curve thus far in 2011, according to
Kaplan.

DirecTV hopes to continue that momentum
with its upcoming coverage of tennis’
U.S. Open. The satellite-TV provider will
serve up free to subscribers beginning Aug.
27 a U.S. Open Mix Channel that offers six simultaneous
matches, plus real-time scores of
every match and a complete round-by-round
on-screen chart of tournament play.

“We really feel like, from a golf and tennis
standpoint, we’re really kind of redefining
how people have used and view sports on
television,” Kaplan said. “In the future, you’ll
see us take these experiences around golf and
tennis and extend them to mobile and tablet
platforms to create second screen viewing experiences.
Our intention is to keep
innovating around sports viewing,
and I think golf and tennis is just
the start.”

DirecTV has already scored on
the mobile platforms field with regards
to its “NFL Sunday Ticket to
Go” package. It said last week it
will distribute its exclusive live
game out-of-market NFL package
to both current DirecTV Sunday
Ticket customers, as well as
non-DirecTV viewers, through PlayStation 3
video game consoles, joining Major League
Baseball and the National Hockey League in
off ering games through the Sony-produced
players.

Non-DirecTV subscribers will pay $340
for the subscriber-authenticated based
PlayStation offering, $5 more than the Sunday
Ticket package price. DirecTV Sunday
Ticket subscribers can get the PlayStation option
as part of the additional $50 NFL Sunday
Ticket to Go service.

Kaplan would not say how many Play-
Station users DirecTV expects to sign up,
but did say that the company has “control”
over the number of Sunday Ticket PlayStation
viewers. “We’re not going to let it go to
an unlimited number,” he said. “We’re trying
to figure out what is the market for this at
that price point.”

DirecTV will also offer Sunday Ticket on
Motorola’s Xoom and Samsung Galaxy tablets;
Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch;
Blackberry devices with 3G or Wi-Fi; Palm
Pre and Pixi devices; and Google Androidpowered
phones.

“The Sony [PlayStation] piece will get a lot
of attention, but the value that we’re adding
for our existing subscriber shouldn’t be lost,”
Kaplan said. “We’re providing more points of
access. You can watch it via your traditional
DirecTV box or virtually any mobile device
or tablet, and now through a gaming console.
We just want our customers to access
and take Sunday Ticket with them wherever
they are.”

September