USA Network gives fans total control of U.S. Open

The USA Network is the latest to take advantage of DirecTV’s interactive TV platform, planning to deliver not only interactive statistics but also five additional channels of live tennis action during the U.S. Open tennis championships that begin next week.

Michael Bonner, NBC Universal Cable VP of New Media, says viewers will be able to access the different channels through a mosaic that will be similar to the one deployed during the Winter Olympics.

“Viewers will be able to access additional court feeds that otherwise wouldn’t have been seen by anyone,” says Bonner. The five channels will be available for the first five days of the tournament from 11 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. EST based on how long matches are played.

With respect to interactive stats viewers will also be able to access a scoreboard. “It’s not that different from the NFL Sunday Package, allowing viewers to access the scoreboard through a button on the remote control,” says Bonner.

Bonner adds it’s a win-win for advertisers as all advertising pods that are shown on USA Network will also be shown on the other channels. The pods won’t air simultaneously on all five networks but will instead be inserted during a natural break in the action. Each channel will also be counted in the ratings.

“In the short term this gives us more stickiness and provides the consumer with more choices and that helps us as a network,” says Bonner. “And it also extends our advertising value so there’s nothing but upside. We retain viewers and monetize the channels through sponsorship.”

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