Scoop: Usage Stats for Time Warner Cable/BIAP "NBC Olympics NOW" Service
[itvt] has received usage statistics for the interactive TV service that Plano, Texas-based BIAP Systems (note: the latter, whose name is an acronym for "Broadband Interactive Applications," was founded in 1998 by a group of former NASA scientists who had met while working on the Space Station) developed to accompany NBC's coverage of the recent Winter Olympics on a number of Time Warner Cable systems. The service--dubbed NBC Olympics NOW, and available to Time Warner digital subscribers in Columbia, South Carolina; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso, San Antonio and Waco, Texas--was comprised of four elements: "Medal Tracker," an application that provided viewers with a constantly updated list of every medal that had been awarded (note: the app allowed viewers to personalize it by selecting up to three countries of their choosing); "Team USA Report," an application that provided viewers with news about the US Olympic team, organized into three categories: "What Happened Yesterday," "Today's Outlook," and "What to Look for Tomorrow"; "Athlete Bios," which provided in-depth biographies of the most popular Olympic athletes; and "Program Guide," which listed on a single screen all the upcoming Olympic events, when they would be airing and on which NBC channel. While the service was not heavily promoted, viewers were alerted to its availability via an icon that appeared on six NBC channels.
According to BIAP's EVP of marketing, Dan Levinson, who spoke to [itvt] over the weekend, the service achieved an overall usage rate of 23% in the homes where it was available. It proved especially popular in Green Bay (which also happens to have the coldest weather of the markets in which it was offered), achieving a usage rate of 45%. In aggregate, the service generated approximately 587,000 sessions (i.e. an average of 4.1 sessions per user), 1.7 million minutes of usage (sessions averaged 2.9 minutes), and 1 million page views (i.e. an average of 6.8 page views per user): its launch page garnered 632,000 page views; the Medal Tracker app garnered 118,400; the Program Guide app garnered 78,000; the Team USA Report app garnered 53,000; and the Athlete Bios app garnered 46,000 (the most popular bios were those of Ben Agosta, Sasha Cohen, Sean Davis, and Jeremy Bloom). Around 5,000 users took advantage of the Medal Tracker app's personalization capabilities, Levinson said.
[itvt] asked Levinson what BIAP believes the significance of the NBC Olympics Now usage figures to be: "The main finding, after looking at these numbers, is that they bode very well for the future of interactive television," he replied. "If you look at the nearly 23% usage among all boxes and the 45% usage in Green Bay, you have to conclude that appropriately designed and promoted interactive applications can and will have broad appeal to large scale audience. If you factor out people who didn't watch the Olympics at all, the usage number in Green Bay jumps up to approximately two thirds. And there was significant repeat usage. A million page views and 1.7 million minutes of total time logged on is a huge number to be generated by seven small to medium sized markets. Therefore," he continued, "you can safely conclude that interactivity is easy to use for the average television viewer; that it has the ability to aggregate a large audience, which in the future is important for advertisers; and that it can enhance the viewing experience rather than detract or interfere with it. We were surprised and elated by the magnitude and breadth of the usage, and, of course, thrilled to work with interactive innovators like Time Warner Cable and NBC," he added.
Click http://www.itvt.com to subscribe to our free email newsletter, which contains all the news stories you see on this Web site, and additional breaking news and scoops, in-depth features, interviews, screenshots, videos, and other exclusive content you will not find anywhere else.