TNT and NBA Digital to Present Special Interactive Edition of "TNT NBA Thursday"

--CBS Lets Viewers Decide Which Song Brooks & Dunn Will Perform at CMA's
--Fox Mobile Group Launches Mobile Subscription VOD Service, Bitbop
--Univision to Offer All World Cup Soccer Games on VOD and Live Online
--Showtime Teams with Comcast on Free VOD Promotion

Turner Broadcasting-owned cable channel, TNT, and NBA Digital, the new media arm of the National Basketball Association (NBA), will tonight (Thursday) present a special interactive edition of the show "TNT NBA Thursday," (airs at 8:00PM Eastern) that integrates TNT, NBA TV and NBA.com.

According to the companies, during the first of the two games (Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat) that will be broadcast live on "TNT NBA Thursday" tonight, Turner Sports courtside game announcer, Kenny Smith, will use Twitter to share his thoughts with viewers (the companies say that this represents "a social media first for Turner Sports"). On-site reporter, Craig Sager, will also provide tweets from Chicago, and NBA TV commentator, Chris Webber, will use Twitter to provide additional commentary and analysis from TNT's Studio J in Atlanta. The on-air personalities' tweets will be accessible through the NBA TweetMix Channel (http://www.nba.com/tweetmixx), a service that provides a real-time stream of tweets from talent and official league team accounts, and that features "chatter" and "links" tabs that aggregate all tweets with NBA-related terms.

Meanwhile, TNT Overtime Extra, an interactive video mosaic application on NBA.com, will provide viewers with four "exclusive" camera angles:

  • An Announcer Cam that will be focused on the game's courtside commentators (who include Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley, in addition to Kenny Smith), and that, for the first time, will provide viewers with live commentary from those commentators during select commercial breaks.
  • A Robo Cam that will be mounted above the backboard.
  • Two Player Cams: according to the companies, viewers will vote each quarter to determine which player from each of the two teams will be followed by that team's Player Cam.


Other elements of the special edition of "TNT NBA Thursday" include:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage of TNT's production meeting for the show, shot by Ernie Johnson on an HD pocket cam and billed as providing "a peek into the inner workings of an Emmy award-winning broadcast."
  • A live chat with NBA Hall-of-Famer, Kevin McHale, following halftime of the second of the two games (Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers) featured on the show. The chat will see McHale taking viewer questions via Twitter and Facebook.


In other interactive TV-related news from broadcasters:

  • CBS is inviting viewers to vote online to determine which song the musical duo, Brooks & Dunn, will perform at the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (air live 8:00PM Eastern, April 18th). Starting today, viewers can go to cbs.com/brooksdunn to choose between six songs by the duo (note: they can vote once a day; no registration is required); a second phase of voting that will begin April 14th will see viewers choosing between three finalists. The vote will be open until just before the duo are scheduled to perform.
  • At the CTIA Wireless 2010 show in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Fox Mobile Group announced a $9.99-per-month wireless mobile subscription VOD service, called Bitbop, that is targeted at smartphone owners. According to FMG, the service will allow consumers to browse content from a searchable menu of full-length TV programs (from such partners as NBC Universal and Discovery, as well as from Fox itself) for streaming or temporary download: users will be able to manage a personal queue of viewing choices from their 3G or WiFi-enabled smartphones, the company says, and the service will work on advanced handsets from nearly every major carrier.
  • US Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision, has announced extensive cross-platform coverage plans for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Among other things, it will make all games available in full (in both SD and HD) to its VOD affiliates the day after they air; and will also allow fans to watch the games live online for free.
  • Premium programmer, Showtime, is teaming with Comcast to provide the latter's customers with free access to its Showtime On Demand service from March 25th through 28th.

 

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