Norway's never.no Powering TV 2's Interactive TV Coverage of Tour de France

--Enables Viewers to Submit Comments, Photos via Twitter, SMS/MMS, Web

Norwegian interactive TV company, never.no, announced Tuesday that it is powering interactive TV coverage of the upcoming Tour de France bicycle race (July 4th-26th) for Norway's largest commercial broadcaster, TV 2. According to the company, viewers will be able to use Twitter, other Web interfaces, and SMS and MMS messages from their mobiles to comment on the action, send in photos, and respond to polls and questions posed both by TV 2 and other viewers, with their submissions appearing on TV 2's broadcast and Web coverage in "almost" real time. "With the Tour de France this year, Norway's largest commercial broadcaster will become, as far as we know, the first sports broadcaster in the world to fully integrate and synchronize viewer interaction through mobile phones (SMS/MMS), Twitter, Web chats, Web TV, and broadcast television," never.no CEO, Lars Lauritzsen, said in a prepared statement. "We expect that avid fans' ability to express themselves in 'conversation' with other fans and with TV experts will create a unified social experience, transforming the disorganized cycle racing fan base into a loyal TV 2 sports community."

According to never.no, TV 2's interactive Tour de France coverage will be powered by the company's Interactivity Suite--which it says is comprised of four software applications that enable broadcasters to integrated user-submitted content into their programming, track viewers from medium to medium, communicate with them individually, and tailor content to suit them. never.no says that it recently enhanced the Interactivity Suite's Auto Dialogue System (ADS) to enable interaction via Twitter, and TV 2's interactive TV coverage of the Tour de France will be the first live national broadcast to take advantage of the new capability. The company says that the capability will, among other things, allow TV 2 commentators to instantaneously share their thoughts about the race and incorporate "audience buzz" into their coverage. "We expect our viewers to be very enthusiastic about this new way of experiencing the Tour de France, not just as passive viewers but as active participants," Haavard Myklebust, TV 2's managing editor and head of acquisition, said in a prepared statement. "In particular, we think our audience will enjoy the immediacy of seeing snapshots in almost real time taken by fans on the route or at the finish line. The never.no technology is giving us the opportunity to bring our viewers together in a way we could not have imagined even a few years ago."

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