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Interactive Annual 16:
entertainment

2009 PGA Championship Live

“What do you do with sport nuts who don’t want to watch the static feed and narrative that a network is trying to force on them? You give them their own edit trailer in the form of a site and let them view the players, shots, replays and stats the way they want. This is TV the way it should be.” —Glen Sheehan

“I’ve never really understood the passion for golf, but this site sure makes it easy to consider. Packed with rich media tools to help bring viewers that much closer to the action and that tiny white ball. I especially liked the overlays, on-demand and push media options. Very cool.” —Hilary Read


Overview: This video platform offered golf fans the most innovative multi-platform coverage of the PGA Championship through a truly interactive and immersive fan experience. The live video player was available on the Official PGA Championship site and complemented the TNT broadcast coverage and iPhone live coverage. Delivering easy-to-use, customizable content options gave fans unprecedented control over their viewing experience; no matter where golf fans were during the match, they could follow the action live with extensive online, television and mobile offerings. Online, a high-definition player featured picture-in-picture for multiple stream viewing, a mini-mode for the at-work audience, DVR playback, customizable scoring overlays and social integration with Twitter and Facebook.

  • • During live play, the player served 20 different streams that the user could switch between (4 camera angles, 3 Octoshape bitrates, 4 FMS picture-in-pictures and 4 “backup” FMS streams for users who couldn’t install the Octoshape plug-in).
  • • The platform delivered a total of 3.4 million video streams, a 204 percent increase over 2008, and had a record 206 million total page views for four days of coverage with a 1.4 million average of daily unique visitors.

Comments by Michael A. Potts

Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “Because the target audience for golf fans skews toward ‘mature,’ there was an underlying design challenge to keep the usability top of mind when introducing innovative solutions and new technology.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Balancing the needs of our sponsors, fan access to scores and social features along with presenting the absolute best quality video available were things that made the project more challenging—but equally rewarding. The largest audience for this kind of golf coverage is the at-work crowd, and they tend to run slower PCs with a preponderance of IE6 browsers. So getting an HD player with complex overlays to run on their machines required a lot of technical creativity. We were encouraged when our partner, Dreamsocket, demonstrated that they were able to successfully get our innovative player running well on earlier generation PCs, something previously not able to be done due to HD video decoding and multiple data-rich and video-rich overlays.”

How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past? “It was far more complex, both technically and creatively. We were pushing to give users a rich, full experience of the championship no matter what machine they were limited to, which really stretched the existing limits of live streaming technology. And since the video took up so much of the screen, and we wanted that to be front and center, it took some creativity to get genuinely useful navigation into such tight areas.”

Credits

Michael A. Potts; creative director
Andrea Waterhouse; senior design director
Jeff Gray; senior designer
Matt Mosteller; producer
Lynne Lampinski; technical lead
Jim Beahm; production manager
Bill Chapman; technical lead
Gary Treater; executive director
Matthew Hong; executive director
Craig Barry; executive creative director
Lenny Daniels; executive director
Dreamsocket; development partner
PGA of America; client
Turner Sports; project design and development


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