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Product Spotlight: Enhanced ‘SNL’

Apr 2, 2001  •  Post A Comment

What it is: The enhanced TV version of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” NBC hopes to debut the offering this month to WebTV and Wink Interactive TV subscribers.

Key parts of the application include a trivia game, an option to get tickets to the show and the infrastructure to buy CDs produced by the show’s guest performers.

Provider: NBC developed the enhancements; future enhancements will be provided by ValueVision.

Audience: “`SNL’ is one of the most ideal demographics to take advantage of these applications,” said Jonathan Boltax, director of NBC’s enhanced broadcast group, reflecting on the feedback obtained from huge focus groups, the last of which convened last summer. “We’re seeing a lot of encouraging deployments with WebTV. And Wink has rapidly been deploying an increasing number of households due to their relationship with DirecTV.”

“Wink will collect data on our viewers-where they click, what they use and how often,” he said.

Keep it simple, stupid: “Visually this application is very simple to use and not intrusive,” Mr. Boltax noted. “It’s easy to get carried away with what you can do. TV is first; enhancements piggyback. Viewers are turning on to watch `SNL,’ not enhancements.

“Once people feel comfortable in the environment, they use it-whether they use it throughout the show or just once,” he said.

Future: “Later we’re going to see how we can integrate commerce more,” said Carla Sinatra, vice president of business development for NBC Digital Media. “Ultimately, we’d love to be able to say, `Here were the lines that were cut from this skit’ to get a little behind-the-scenes feeling.”

Other NBCi projects: Viewers will also be able to vote for their own ending of the April 26 episode of “Just Shoot Me” up to halfway into the show. (Different endings have already been shot.)