Yes Network Launches Interactive Features

Jul 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

YES Network, the New York-area cable channel that offers Yankees baseball games, has launched an interactive service in cooperation with DirecTV.

Yes Interactive allows DirecTV viewers with interactive boxes to call up batting orders, box scores, league standings and other statistics from MLB.com at the touch of the button during Yankee game broadcasts. During home games, viewers can also call up a second camera angle.

“Watching a Yankee game is already an immersive experience,” Ray Hopkins, chief operating officer of YES, said Tuesday. “This adds to it. It puts you in the director’s chair.”

Mr. Hopkins said the service will make Yankee broadcasts “stickier,” which might mean higher ratings during games in which the score is not close.

The extra camera angle and information screens also create new advertising opportunities, but the network plans to wait until next season to sell interactive advertising. “We’re in a testing phase right now,” he said.

During the rollout, DirecTV will run 30-second cross-channel promos describing the service. YES plans to tout the service on-air as well.

Next year YES plans to add a fantasy game to its interactive offering.

Mr. Hopkins declined to say how many YES viewers are DirecTV subscribers, but said half of DirecTV’s subscribers have a converter box compatible with interactive TV. DirecTV high-definition boxes are not currently compatible with interactive TV, but a new compatible box is due later this year.

For now, YES Interactive is available only on DirecTV.

“We’ve made our other affiliates aware of YES Interactive,” Mr. Hopkins said, adding no new deals are imminent with either cable carriers or other satellite providers.