Wednesday, May 28, 2008
TNT Unveils "RaceBuddy" To Shake-Up Your Summer
We knocked on the TNT door and asked them to come out and play. The response was certainly not what we expected. This page over at NASCAR.com has some of the most interesting TV and Internet information about the sport that you will ever read.
There will be a full column posted about TNT's RaceBuddy promotion as soon as we finish filling-in all the details. Chances are, if you went to the page link above, your interest is peaked as well.
TNT fully intends to shake-up your NASCAR summer in a very big way. Let's take a moment to get an overview of what is happening. NASCAR.com is a website run by a company called Turner Interactive based in Atlanta, GA. That Turner company is a sister to Turner Network Television, or TNT.
As most fans know, NASCAR.com has the Internet video rights to all of the NASCAR races and allows fans to watch for about $20 a month on something called Sprint RaceView. This Internet streaming is accompanied by all kinds of audio links and live info and camera choices. You can even pause and replay the races from your computer.
Fox and ESPN cannot dip into this technology or use this type of connection with NASCAR.com to their advantage. But, TNT certainly can. The RaceBuddy promo that appeared this week opened-up some new doors for cable TV viewers by inviting them to use their broadband access computers as a "companion piece" to the TV set.
If you would like some background on how all of this ties together, this is a past column talking about "convergence" and how it is rapidly approaching for all of us.
Needless to say, the TNT promo information contains some items that viewers have been wanting to hear for some time now. One, that the live race will be streamed to your computer for free and you can control the camera angles. Two, that your questions can be sent directly to the announcers as the race is in-progress and they will answer you on-the-air. Three, that you can upload a video question in advance and see yourself being played-back on the TNT broadcast. Well, all of this kind of puts "Digger" in a new perspective.
TNT is rolling-out an integrated NASCAR concept that will fully incorporate your laptop or desktop PC actively into the broadcast. To fully participate, you will need to have something more that "just your TV" even if it is an HDTV. Talk about convergence.
We are working with TNT to offer a full column and several updates on RaceBuddy as we approach their first race weekend. On the TV side, the on-air crew remains the same and the format of ninety minute of pre-race does as well. Once again, TNT will be going up against RaceDay, but this time they will be using a couple of new tools.
If any additional information becomes available over the next couple of days, it will be updated here. Otherwise, look for a full TNT column on Monday as the lead-in to what may be a very interesting series of six summer races.
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