SBJ/January 22 - 28, 2007/This Weeks News

YES’s 2007 lineup includes Google Video deal

Just weeks before pitchers and catchers report, YES Network is completing its 2007 regular-season plans, which will include more broadband and wireless content than ever.

A screen shot shows a YES text-messaging
trial, done through a deal with 4Info.

The Yankees-owned regional sports network has finished deals with Google Video and wireless data provider 4Info over the past several months that will increase content distribution from the network’s baseball coverage.

“We’re trying to take an iconic worldwide brand in the Yankees and try to take advantage of that within the digital media space on a national basis,” said YES COO Ray Hopkins.

YES’s most significant deal is the one it signed with Google Video that effectively sets up a YES Network channel on the site. YES makes three- to five-minute clips available the day after they are aired live. Last week, most of the videos were about the Yankees and NFL playoffs. YES is seeking to sell sponsorship and advertising around the clips.

This week, YES plans to go live with a wireless service through its deal with 4Info that will text-message scores, news and alerts to cell users who sign up. For example, users can set up alerts to be messaged every time a run is scored during a Yankees game. Users also can get Yankees headlines sent to them.

Standard text-messaging rates apply, and YES and 4Info will share advertising revenue, which they will try to sell for between 5 and 8 cents per message, said Bob Roth, 4Info’s marketing director. The service will be promoted on-air and on YES’s and 4Info’s Web sites, which is where users will be able to sign up.

YES Network also is planning to roll out podcasts and text-messaging services throughout the baseball season. It has been making podcasts available on its Web site since Dec. 5, using New Jersey Nets content.

YES plans to roll out an entire season of text-message voting following two successful trials, one with the Yankees and one with the Nets.

YES executives expect to have a sponsor signed for its text-messaging service by next month. It also expects to sign a sponsor around a broadband-exclusive postgame show, a five-minute baseball program that will be seen only on yesnetwork.com.

These deals follow last season’s interactive TV initiative that the network rolled out with DirecTV. Though the DirecTV deal included MLB Advanced Media, MLBAM was not involved with any of the new offerings because the content on these platforms is fully owned by YES, including pre- and postgame shows, interviews and analysis. YES is not making any game highlights available to Google Video or 4Info. Game highlights will be available on yesnetwork.com, which is operated by MLBAM.

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