March Madness On Demand Could Be a Slam Dunk Interactive TV App

--By Steve Donohue

Considering the huge demand Web surfers and smart phone owners showed this year for March Madness On Demand, imagine how much traffic wall-to-wall coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament could generate if Turner Sports and CBS Sports manage to create an interactive TV application for the Big Dance.

Since 2004, MMOD has been a huge draw for hoops fans, allowing viewers to toggle between up to four live games running simultaneously. The MMOD Web site covers all 63 games of the tournament live, and this year Turner and CBS distributed an app for Apple's iPhone and iPad that also offered live video.

Turner Sports said Tuesday that MMOD generated a 63 percent increase in total visits on all platforms, and that the total number of hours of streaming video it delivered jumped 17 percent to 13.7 million hours.

While pay TV providers ranging from DirecTV to Cablevision use mosaic channels to display multiple video feeds from a sporting event on a single screen during events such as the Olympics or The Masters golf tournament, CBS and Turner haven't yet attempted to add an interactive TV element to their March Madness coverage.

But with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and other major MSOs expanding the number of households that can access interactive TV content, Turner and CBS could begin looking at how to offer interactive programming similar to MMOD on pay-TV platforms.

Turner Sports spokesman Sal Petruzzi said it's too early to talk about plans for the 2012 tournament. "We'll sit down with CBS, the NCAA, our cable and satellite partners, as well as key sponsors in the coming months to plan the features and platforms that MMOD will be on in 2012," he added. More.

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