Thursday, June 07, 2007
After both games four and five I made sure to tune into ESPN.
Sportscenter was already in-progress after game four and after the game recap the first story was shown. The same thing happened with coverage of game five. The Cup wasn’t part of the teaser but was actually the first story shown. It was a lengthy segment (especially for hockey) that gave a complete recap of the game.
ESPN.com had the games as the cover story on the front page after the completion of each. Upon a visit just a little while ago I was greeted with a prestitial (a full-page ad before you get to enter the site) for the NBA Finals. After that, a big photo of Scott Niedermayer lifting the Cup with the title of Duck Season
Where the Cup is being covered on US websites:
* anaheimducks.com has been down since at least the end of game five. Update 1am: The Ducks site seems to be up and running again.
* I’m doing a round-up of links over at hockeyfights.com.
* NBC brings more energy than CBC - William Houston of The Globe and Mail prefers NBC’s coverage over CBC’s. Jeff Marek and Bill Watters on Leafs Lunch were voicing similar opinions. “Stale” seems to be the most common criticism of CBC. Houston also mentions the low ratings by NBC (something mentioned many places), but rightfully points out that a year off and small market Final match-ups don’t help boost ratings.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that it has teamed with Voxant, the Viral Syndication Network (VSN), to distribute video clips of game highlights, bloopers, noteworthy moments and other news to thousands of websites and blogs through TheNewsRoom. The clips, available beginning today, may be obtained for free and are accompanied by advertising, which provides revenue to content owners and sites where content is published.
NHL content available through TheNewsRoom includes:
* Weekly “Best Of” highlights featuring the best goals, hits and saves of the week
* Humorous videos or moments, out-takes, and bloopers
* Highlight packs from individual games
* Additional news content
The National Hockey League (NHL) will offer free hockey programming to consumers on the Joost distribution platform beginning at the start of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. The announcement was made today by Joost™, the world’s first broadcast-quality Internet television service.
Under the agreement, the NHL will provide full-game replays on a delay and highlights from this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, combined with a rich selection of vintage games from the NHL archives. Some of the historic action available includes: game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final in which the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks; game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference Final game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings featuring Wayne Gretzky; and the ultimate game of the 1997 Stanley Cup Final, in which the Detroit Red Wings topped the Philadelphia Flyers.
Joost is still in private mode and is invite only. No word on how the games are available through that service.
As for Voxant/TheNewsRoom, I was curious about it and signed up. Think of it as Youtube with a revenue-share model. Similar to Revver, but with a CPM (cost per impression) model instead of CPC (cost per click).
There are a limited amount of videos available, but as it’s a new service, I assume that’ll change very soon.
A sample vid:
The quality of the picture is very good. The motion could be smoother. It’s as though the frame rate is a little lower than most online video.
The same clip on Youtube:
The concept is a good one: share the videos, make money with the league through the ads.
However, the process is very manual. There doesn’t seem to be any email notifications or RSS feeds for the sports area or NHL-only videos. TheNewsRoom offers a “feed” video, a player that has a list of videos, but I think most will be interested in embedding individual clips.
When you go to the site, you find your clip, click “Mash”, enter your email and agree to the terms, then choose your player style, then get the code. The system doesn’t seem to remember if you’ve agreed to the terms and you’ll have to agree each time you go back to get video code (a decent amount of code which you’re not supposed to tinker with). I’m playing around with the system, going back and forth, so I doubt most will have to do that more than once.
Another issue is the forced design from the two styles you can choose from. Unlike other sites that allow you to embed video, and you embed just that, the video, with TheNewsRoom you’re embedding the logo, title, and “mash” button (to embed it on your own site) all outside of the player. That’s the “compact” option. The “standard” option is 100 pixels taller and also has a short description. That makes for a 400x400/500 area with white as the only available background color. The video is a standard 320x240 within that area (not including controls).
I’ve sent questions over to Voxant/TheNewsRoom about the design and if there will be more options for customization in the future. As two people from there have already commented on Kukla’s Korner, I think it’s safe to say I’ll get a response. It’s good to see them communicating with their users (who are all potential partners). Kukla wasn’t the only one with a mention of the new partnership, Eric McErlain‘s also been following the NHL’s friendliness with new media video.
The question for this announcement is: Will possible revenue make bloggers and webmasters choose TheNewsRoom over the ease of use of most other systems?
While each service may have it’s pros and cons, the NHL is definitely offering fans options. The eyeballs are everywhere approach is a good one and it’s good to see the league so open to trying new things.
Update May 4 830pm: Voxant’s been very responsive. Besides commenting below, I’ve also exchanged a few emails with them. The word is there will be new display options in a few weeks. I look forward to seeing what they’re putting together.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Yesterday the NHL announced a new partner, Akimbo.
Just in time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Akimbo™ and the National Hockey League (NHL) Interactive CyberEnterprises (ICE), the digital arm of the NHL, today announced that hockey fans will now be able to enjoy watching high-quality, full-length NHL games for viewing directly on a TV or PC through the Akimbo Service.
The 2007 Stanley Cup Playoff games will be available on Akimbo for on-demand viewing 48 hours after the contest concludes, allowing fans to re-live their favorite team’s success and not miss a moment of the action. For the 2007-2008 season, Akimbo will continue to offer high-quality, full-length regular season games, weekly highlights, classic games and special NHL hockey features.
Akimbo is a video on demand service that can be used through a cablebox-like device, or through your PC.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I love it when The Onion does anything NHL-related:
“It’s great to know we will be on television next year,” Bettman added, smiling as the NHL’s new studio team, consisting of Rachael Ray as head hockey anchor and Bill Clement as game analyst, collaborated in an attempt to equate the offsides penalty to “zesting up” a pan-seared T-bone steak. “Thanks, Food Network.”
Thursday, February 22, 2007
About a month ago Center Ice expanded the number of channels it uses.
Center Ice refers to the channels as NH01 to NH14. NH11 to NH14 are the “new” channels.
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the online schedule was ever updated. When there’s been a game recently on channel NH11 or higher it was simply left off the list. The only way to know about the broadcast was to turn to one of the NHxx channels on a day you want the schedule for. As long as a game isn’t on and it’s not NH01, you get the schedule.
That leads us to tonight, which I can only describe as confusing, if not bizarre. Two games are left off of the online schedule that appear on the schedule on tv: Minnesota at Colorado and Calgary at Phoenix. For some reason Calgary at Phoenix will be joined in progress on the same channel as the Devils and Rangers are on. NH01 to NH10 is being used. In other words, all of the “old” channels, none of the new.
Wasn’t the point of channel expansion to avoid joined in progess situations? If it was done before, why not now?
I can’t recall the last time a game was joined in progress on a channel that previously held a NY metro area game. I wonder about that because tonight I’ll have Devils-Rangers on two channels live, three for replays. I just hope the inane local blackout on the Center Ice channels doesn’t prevent me from watching Calgary-Phoenix, which should have its own channel in the first place.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Here’s an idea from the Olympics for NBC, and it’s not even hockey-related, it’s NBC-related:
During the Olympics, which NBC had rights to air in the States, the network would broadcast not only on NBC, but CNBC and MSNBC as well (I don’t think USA or any other Universal-owned networks had coverage this past Olympics, but please correct me if they did).
Today’s three NBC games start at 3:30 pm eastern. The games are regional, although most of the country will get Pens-Caps. If you have Center Ice, you can get the other two games on there.
What’s on CNBC at 3:30? Paid programming until 6:30.
There has to be some sort of deal the NHL and NBC can work out to get a bonus game on that network. No, it’s not going to be any sort of ratings monster, but CNBC is on basic cable on many systems and any extra accessible hockey would be good for the league right now, even if a lot of marketing has to be done to let people know it’s there.
One good thing that is being done already: if you have Universal HD, the game of the week is replayed late at night.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Ok, so maybe it’s not a headline, but the summary right below it.
From the phillyburbs.com feed:
The NHL’s worst team hopes to build on its season-high, two-game winning streak.
Again, that’s: season-high, two-game winning streak. Awesome.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
It could be short-lived, but ESPN.com has redone the top of the front of their website, including the menu. I posted some thoughts about it over on my general blog, but thought I’d post here to point out that the NHL has “gained position”.
Priority generally goes from left to right on horizontal menus and somehow ESPN moved the NHL after the “big three” to actually form a grouping of what used to be known as the “four major sports”.
Somehow NASCAR and Autos were pushed to the right, which surprised me as NASCAR is returning to ESPN this year, and if the website followed the networks, you’d see it in more of a prime position.
I wonder what the reasoning behind the move was? Traffic patterns? Seasonal move? Sponsorship/partnership deal?
Friday, January 26, 2007
The current deal between the NHL and Versus expires at the end of this season. There’s been no announcement or story in any State-side paper yet, but the Globe and Mail has this note at the end of a story about the NHL extending agreements with CBC and TSN:
Versus, the U.S. cable channel, has extended its deal with the NHL through 2007-08. The Versus audiences are growing, up to about 195,000 a game, but far short of ESPN’s 416,000 average in 2003-04.
This is just after a lot of media attention about how the NHL All-Star game was hard to find (ironic that the story itself let people know about it and where it is).
If true, one big trigger that’ll come from this one-year extension: Comcast, owner of Versus, will now help distribute the NHL Network in the US. They have until July to do so. That could have played a large part in the NHL’s decision to renew.
Update 300am: Commenting below, Mike Chen brings up a good point, that Versus was able to trigger the extension, possibly by reaching a certain level of distribution.
Either way, I hope Time Warner in NYC carries the NHL Network.
Update 315pm Andy Strickland had news of the extension back on the 10th.
There’s been no release, and not much news about it. I still think the NHL Network being broadcast in the US is the most important thing to come from this, no matter what the trigger was.
There’s also been talk that ESPN2 is interested in a game or two a week.
If the NHL could forge a deal with ESPN/ESPN2 and VS and have 3-4 games broadcast a week on national cable, it’d be the ideal solution for the league. While the money probably wouldn’t be as good with Disney & co., it would provide much needed exposure, plus it would also allow the NHL to advertise on ESPN, something they cannot do now because the network does not allow advertising for sports that they don’t broadcast.
Update 520pm: Just a random thought. If the NHL were to ever be broadcast games on the ESPN networks again, I do hope the network can come up with some creative like this about NASCAR coming back to ESPN. I don’t really watch NASCAR, I’ve never been to an event, but I still like the spot and can just relate to it as a sports fan. Well done.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
On Monday Garett Rogers of Googling Google wondered if the NHL and Google Video’s relationship was on the rocks.
Today the NHL did an update to Google Video’s selection of full games, including some games from the 19th.
It’s possible the full game vids just got pushed to the backburner temporarily after some winter vacations and prioritizing things like All-Star video prep work and Youtube highlights (which get many more views). It’s also possible aliens swept down and borrowed the equipment. Just saying I have no idea what caused the pause, I just know video can take a while to edit and produce (and upload files of that size), and there’s been a lot of video released by the NHL recently.
via Kukla’s Korner