Oscar.com, the joint Internet venture between ABC.com and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, this Sunday will begin real-time enhanced TV coverage of the 72nd Annual Academy Awards, which will be aired live on ABC TV.
The five-year-old Web site’s enhanced TV offerings are self-contained, allowing viewers to interact with the telecast on their PCs without special plug-ins or high-speed Internet access.
“Do people want to watch [the Oscars] or [interact] with it?” asked Brian Bowman, vice president and general manger of ABC.com. “Integrating the two gives them [both] options.”
In addition to electronic greeting cards, Oscar.com will offer streaming video reports of celebrity arrivals, backstage interviews, flashback clips, fashion trends from Tom Julian of Minneapolis-based ad agency Fallon McElligott and highlights from the Governor’s Ball post-awards party.
As for marketing opportunities on the site, current e-commerce options are limited to movie posters, T-shirts, and videos.
“It’s not a sales site,” said Bowman. “We don’t ask our viewers for any demographic information. We have sponsors for each of the areas on the site that are not driven by user profiles.”
Bowman wouldn’t disclose projected revenues from the Oscar.com site, or what impact broadband technology will have on this interim technology.
“Unless [broadband] is cheap and Joe Six-pack can operate it, you’re going to have a fragmented audience,” he said.
Last year, more than 1.5 million users generated 12 million viewer sessions on Oscar.com over the Academy Awards weekend, he added.
Viewers eager to experience enhanced TV can also visit ABC.com, where a beta interactive version of quiz show phenom Who Wants to be a Millionaire goes live this week, according to Michelle Bergman, a spokesperson for Go.com.
(Go.com was created by the acquisition of Infoseek Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif., by The Walt Disney Company/Buena Vista Internet Group, Burbank, Calif., which is the parent company of ABC and ABC.com.)
While not designed as a replacement to the popular trivia show, mouse potatoes can match wits in real time with actual on-air contestants.
“The [game show’s] questions will not appear on your PC,” said Bergman. “You have to watch the TV to play [along].”
Bergman says answers to the questions will appear on the site, which allows viewers to compare answers from the show’s actual leaderboard.
Correct answers will be awarded points redeemable online for show merchandise.
Bergman says research from Jupiter Communications, New York, indicates that 50 percent of viewers have a PC next to their TV.
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