SBJ/April 3 - 9, 2006/World Congress Of Sports

More growth seen for mobile and HDTV

Media Predictions

Mobile platforms will be the leading growth segment in the media and wireless space according to panelists discussing what lies ahead on the media landscape. But Rich Bilotti, analyst for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said, “High-definition TV is the biggest technology nobody wants to talk about. Consumer awareness of this technology is abysmal right now, but that will change once people figure out how to monetize this.” Bilotti also said he anticipates a sharp increase of advertising buys for sports programming bundled across TV and the Internet.

“The competition isn’t TV versus the Internet,” he said. “It’s how much they can both shake out of print.”

But David Levy, president of Turner Sports, was among those saying that media businesses must ultimately become platform agnostic. Levy said as much as 80 percent of NASCAR.com users visiting the site, produced by Turner Sports Interactive, during races are simultaneously watching the race on TV.

Various forms of condensed games and video-on-demand, a big emphasis for several companies including Comcast, received a less enthusiastic review.

“Only one out of 20 library assets actually work for VOD and really create traffic,” said Terry Denson, Verizon vice president of FiOS TV.

CBS Sports’ Tony Petitti praised the network’s March Madness On Demand, offered for free this year, and said it created no negative effect on TV ratings for coverage of the NCAA Tournament. But SJS Sports’ Steve Solomon said the network would not be so bullish on MMOD if it did not own the interactive rights to the tournament. “We’re still in a very difficult process of determining how all the rights talks will play out [for major sports properties]. If you only own some of the ball and are paying for all of it, that’s a tough spot to be in.”

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