SBJ/September 19 - 25, 2005/Media

‘Glogs’ brings color commentary to the Web

Color commentary is entering the realm of real-time Internet box scores thanks to CBS’s recent introduction of game logs, or “glogs.”

Essentially a morphed version of the ever-growing blogging phenomenon, the initial glogs lack much of the irreverence and attitude common to many popular blogs. But the steady stream of quick-hit comments and analysis — about 30 to 40 per quarter in college football games — do provide a significant level of extra depth and perspective that raw statistics cannot.

CBS started the game logs at the beginning of the college football season.
The glog for this month’s Notre Dame-Michigan football game, for example, featured an extended discourse on how starting Wolverines tailback Michael Hart’s departure with a leg injury left a gaping hole in his team’s offense.

“There’s obviously a lot of draw to real-time scoring — it’s a bread-and-butter product for us — but the simple question was how we could push it further,” said Stephen Snyder, senior vice president and general manager of CBS “You watch a game on TV, listen on the radio, they’ve got a color guy giving that enhanced flavor and context. That’s what’s missing online in real time and where the glogs come in.”

The roll-out of the glogs was part of a major overhaul for the site that will also bring a large helping of original video content from CBS Sports.

Ultimately, Snyder sees the glogs, written by CBS staffers, as a journalism product along the lines of a standard game story or column.

“We anticipate this becoming a bylined, credentialed thing where we’d have people at the stadium at big games, glogging in real time and generating a following,” Snyder said. “This is something where we think we can create talent.”

CBS started the glogs with the beginning of the college football season but soon will expand into postseason baseball, the NBA and NHL. NFL glogs also are anticipated, but since CBS produces the league’s Web site, the two parties will soon meet to discuss the concept before going forward.

The glogs have become the third most-popular element of the site’s game-center area, trailing the real-time statistics and recaps. The feature has not yet, however, been incrementally monetized through stand-alone sponsorship. Advertisers to the game-center area are essentially getting the glogs as add-on now, but if the glogs are a consistent draw over time, it will lead to an adjustment of ad rates, Snyder said.

“This is not an out-of-the box product where you immediately draw in a sponsor,” Snyder said. “You put video on your home page, and that’s something you can bring in somebody [to sponsor] right away.

“This, conversely, is something more evolutionary that grows over time and becomes what it’s going to be. But what it does is generate more inventory, which is good for us, and enhances the game experience for the fan, which is good for everybody.”

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