Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gentlemen Start Your Computers!


Thursday starts three big days of testing at the newly repaved Daytona International Speedway. Friday at noon ET brings the first major press conference of the year as Mike Helton and Robin Pemberton offer a "competition update" on off-season changes.

This year, TV will take a backseat to Internet technology as SPEED offers fully-produced coverage of all three days and the press conference using online video streaming. Both SPEED.com and the Daytona speedway website will carry the coverage. That means anyone worldwide can simply click on and see NASCAR without restriction.

While prior programming committments by SPEED may have pushed this move, it's a tribute to that network for taking this step despite the lack of advertising revenue or profitability. New SPEED VP Patti Wheeler is starting off on the right foot with NASCAR fans.

It will be John Roberts and Jeff Hammond hosting the coverage from the TV studio located above Victory Lane. The trio of Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will call the on-track activity. Krista Voda and Bob Dillner will be reporting from the garage area.

Here is the three day schedule:

Thursday, Jan. 20
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED.com)
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. (same-day delay) (SPEED TV)

Friday, Jan. 21
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
12 p.m. - Conclusion NASCAR news conference (SPEED.com)
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (SPEED TV)
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED.com)

Saturday, Jan. 22
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. – (SPEED TV)
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. – (SPEED.com)

This project is actually very exciting from a new media perspective. There are no mandatory commercial breaks, sponsored segments or time constraints. This is wide-open online webcasting at the highest level. You bet that both the TV and NASCAR execs will be keeping an eye on this coverage and the reaction of the fans.

It has been five years since any significant movement has been made in streaming long-form program content from the tracks. Perhaps, some readers may remember the NASCAR.com attempt at anchoring a post-race show from the Atlanta studios of Turner Broadcasting. Despite the best efforts of those involved, it was very clear that originating from the track was the only way to go.

Just as ESPN3.com is up and running, SPEED also has an online web channel on the agenda for the future. With Turner holding all the online NASCAR rights to action at the racing weekends, this effort from Daytona may help all parties involved to reach some sort of compromise this season to enable more live online video content.

One final note on this topic is the ability of SPEED to interact during these three days directly with online viewers worldwide through Twitter, Facebook and SPEED.com website chat. Without the "TV wall" between the parties, the SPEED announcers should be able to speak with rather than at the viewers.

In one way, this project is a blank piece of paper that will be filled-in as the hours of testing and conversation go by. Roberts is great at directing traffic, while Byrnes, Waltrip, Dillner and Voda are all experienced social media veterans with active Twitter accounts.

It is not quite clear to me from the information released whether or not this coverage will be able to stream on smart phones, but many of us will certainly be trying it out. The shift of video coverage to handheld devices and laptops is a trend that is growing significantly. This is going to be a great first test of just how NASCAR and a willing TV partner can make it work. TDP will offer a live blog of the three days of testing coverage.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

17 comments:

Michael said...

Looking forward to seeing a little ground-breaking coverage. It surely is about time them boys loosen up a little back at the "home" office!!

Anonymous said...

I hope NASCAR has a pen and paper so they can take notes.

Anonymous said...

I have to check this on-line streaming out, but I see one BIG problem from the start – DW’s mouth. It is impossible for him to shut up. He could not shut up if his life depended on it. He just can not do it, no way, no how. And he has HOURS to blabber. So, even though this type of coverage is needed for the sport, I am afraid the net result will be negative. People will be so tired of his mouth before even the first race, they will abandon the coverage even quicker this year. JD, I would not hold my breath waiting for “all parties to reach some sort of compromise this season to enable more live online video content.” On a side note, have you notice the new reason for everything nascar does now? “It’s what the fans want.” MC

Chadderbox said...

This is very cool and I am really looking forward to logging on at SPEED and checking out some on track testing.
I use my laptop everyday for my job and for me personally this is a great thing. I do work in an open environment with a TV in close proximity and the tv has cable, but it's just basic cable and does not include speed in that package. So if this testing session was on tv I would not be able to see it live.
For those of us Nascar fans who use a laptop everyday and work on the internet this is very cool!

OSBORNK said...

I agree with Anon 5:53. We'll suffer Waltrip burnout before the first green flag drops. DW is like the senile old uncle under the influence. He has some interesting things to say along with a lot of useless babble but he won't go away or shut up.

GinaV24 said...

I like that this option will be available to the fans. I won't be able to see the live streaming for the whole time during the day, but I'm going to bring my personal computer to work and try it out during my lunch hour.

I think its really exciting. I am trying out one of the tablets that has wifi and I want to see if the streaming will work on there.

it will be interesting to see how well they do using twitter and FB to bridge the gap with the fans, too. I like John Roberts a lot, but I have to agree with MC that someone has GOT to get control of the Waltrips and keep them from dominating things at the expense of good coverage.

The Mad Man said...

Speed's first big mistake is having DW involved with this. If they could gag him and keep him quiet, it might prove to be interesting. But as he's all about "me me me" and his constant shilling, I have to have some doubts about that part of the streaming. How many fans Twittering DW telling him to shut up will it take to actually get him to shut up?

While John Roberts, et al will be able to communicate with the fans via Twitter, Facebook, etc. while all this is going on, will they be able to say what's actually going on or will they be ham-strung by their Daytona Masters and have to do the usual toe-the-line, drink the Kool Aid, and not say anything that might tell the truth about NASCAR and their decisions?

Ken-Michigan said...

"No mandatory Commercial Breaks or sponsor segments" ..???

Many of us have been around this sport long enough to know better.

Someone will surely sell & buy some kind of advertising on this streaming event.

On another note, TV would be better suited to get back some basics. There are way too many voices on these broadcasts.

On the track, NASCAR truly needs a complete makeover. I mean COMPLETE MAKEOVER ! Rules, points and race procedures that made sense 40 years ago, don't make it exciting today.

Little "tweaks" here and there will not draw more viewers or fans in the stands. NASCAR needs a "holy crap" moment to turn peoples heads.
NEW rules, NEW points and Humpy Wheeler would be a great start.

Daly Planet Editor said...

TV commercials are sold by area. Few are global in nature. It should be interesting to see how the sales angle works.

The Mad Man said...

About the only brands that are truly global would be Coca Cola, McDonalds, Mercedes, and BMW. Unless they advertise Marlboro, which I don't think they can do.

Donna in FL said...

I look forward to watching some of the online coverage live (FINALLY!!!!) & will DVR the TV coverage. Interested in how the online coverage will be handled, raw, like tv, or a mix? As for commercials many sponsors are national brands. If SPEED were to sell online space I doubt they would have a problem choosing.
Veri word = READI! Yes I am!!

Charlie said...

I think it is great that we will be getting online streaming but some of us do not have a computer that can watch streaming video without it being jerky, stop and go pictures.
I am one of these people. I would need to upgrade my internet speed and buy a faster computer to see all this new streaming by Nascar and Speed.
I can't afford this right now.

Vicky D said...

I kind of looking forward to this just to see what will be happening on the track. Hope it's interesting and Speed shows my favs too. We'll see soon enough.

Gary said...

Jitter free on 5 year old Dell desktop, Wireless-N, cable modem.
using Chrome browser.

Ken-Michigan said...

I gave the video streaming a good honest effort.

Desktop, Laptop, different browsers and the video / audio would not stay continuous for one entire lap.

Jitters & stutters.

I have a cable modem & I do not have their 200 mph, top of the line internet package....therefore I don't think this streaming is gonna happen at my home.

racingfool said...

Today we go where no Race Fan has gone before and it's about time.
Actually, the technology do make this happen is probably infantile at best and has far to go in the future. Who would think that we could watch a live broadcast on our phones, our computers, and even plug it all up to a large TV?
I do not, by choice, have cable anymore. I don't miss it, I can and do watch most all the shows I like either on the old antenna airways or on the computer hooked up to my giant TV. Hulu, Netflick and every network that has Video Streaming allows me to quench my thirst for the media we were all weened on television. It has to be on, and we have to be watching it's bred in us.
I'm hooking mine up now and hope it all works.
Testing is exciting and sometimes almost as good as the race itself.
You can dig into the technical aspects of what it takes to turn a good time and be able to better understand what teams go through to make a race. It's not as easy as some would think on to get there Sunday and race.
Maybe this will give fans a better look and a deeper knowledge of the sport and help bring it back around to where it was a few years ago. New fans, all over the world will be able to view and enjoy our little redneck sport. I hope they get it worked out before the season official starts so it can continue to be streamed on the internet. It's in the sports best interest to do so.

Roland said...

Well there were definately some pros and cons todays coverage

Pros: Being able to watch nascar while at college. That part was cool. Their high speed internet meant there was no jittering or anything. It was cool.

Cons: Why in the world was this test not on tv today. There was zero live programming on the network during the test sessions. There was no Barret-Jackson. That will change tomorrow of course, but this should have been on TV in addition to online coverage. Why would speed bring a production crew and 7 announcers to not even make a buck from it?

Ive said it once and I'll say it again, online streaming should never replace a broadcast, just supplement one.

Also I was able to watch the stream on my driod using the stock internet browser. It was a bit touchy but it worked.

Cant watch tomorow or saturday, DSL is too slow, but it was fun while it lasted.