Interactive YES Scores With Fans

Dec 9, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The New York Yankees fell short of the World Series last year, but fans stayed tuned in longer to games shown locally on satellite TV, thanks partly to interactive features provided by DirecTV.
Ray Hopkins, chief operating officer of the YES Network, said that last season, 42% of the households with access to YES Interactive used it month-in-month-out and that YES Interactive users watched YES 54% longer than viewers who did not.
YES and DirecTV began testing their unique menu of interactive features during the 2006 season. The 2007 season was the first full season they were available.
As the season went on, the number of users per month increased 20%, and the number of times interactive features were used per household per month rose by 84%.
The most popular feature was one that allowed viewers to get out-of-town scores by pushing a button on their remote control.
Mr. Hopkins said that longer tune-in translates into higher “Nielsen numbers, which we can then turn into real dollars.”
Last season, baseball on YES averaged a 4.7 household rating, up a 9.6% year-over-year ratings increase from 2006 and the highest-rated season ever for the Yankees on cable television in New York.
This season, YES and DirecTV are planning to provide interactivity to baseball fans again. Mr. Hopkins said the companies would get together in the beginning of the year to look for ways to improve the features.
Last season, the interactive package was sponsored by Joe Torre’s Safe At Home foundation. Next season, YES will be looking to interactive advertising to its major advertisers as part of their overall buy, Mr. Hopkins said.
DirecTV was pleased with the performance as well.
“The interactive experience is like visual epoxy for sports fans,” said Robert Mercer, director of public relations for DirecTV. The features provide “customers with a stimulating viewing experience that keeps them more actively engaged over longer periods of time.”
Mr. Hopkins said YES was talking to Verizon about the possibility of adding interactivity to the games it carries, but it appeared unlikely cable network would add the features.


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