The sports site, a venture of the Walt Disney Internet Group, is testing the video-streaming service, called ESPNMotion, with premium subscribers and plans to launch it to the general public sometime in October, the company said Monday.
ESPNMotion will air TV-like video of sports highlights, commentary, game analysis and athlete interviews. It will also be a way for advertisers to broadcast made-for-TV commercials on the Web, "something no one else can offer at this point," John Skipper, an ESPN.com executive vice president, said in a statement. Sega of America is the first advertiser to use the trial service.
ESPN.com's enhancements come as many Web publishers are beginning to add live video and audio broadcasts to Web pages--efforts meant to take advantage of the slow, but growing, adoption of broadband Internet connections. New York Times Digital prompts advertisers' commercials when readers visit certain Web pages, for example. CNN introduced a video news service for its Web site that visitors must subscribe to, and FoxSports.comwith RealNetworks to video broadcast live college football games online.
ESPNMotion is an application that visitors with broadband connections will be able to download for free from the site. Created internally at ESPN.com with the use of Windows Media technology, the technology will push video automatically onto the ESPN.com Web site once the visitor loads the page. The video clip will play instantly, and people can replay the broadcast on demand.
Advertisers can also use the technology to play commercials. Sega of America is advertising its football video game, Sega Sports "NFL 2K3," in a 15-second commercial on the site, which premium subscribers can view.