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ESPN Goes `Extra' Mile for ITV

ESPN said Tuesday that it would brand its single-screen
interactive-television applications 'ESPN Extra' going forward.

In the past, the brand had been used for the company's pay-per-view channel,
but ESPN Extra will no longer be used for that purpose.

ESPN also said Tuesday that DirecTV Inc. is the first operator to deploy the
network's virtual channel, ESPN Today. On the DirecTV platform, the virtual
channel uses Wink Communications Inc.'s enhanced-television technology.

ESPN plans to work with other middleware providers and digital set-top-box
vendors to help deploy ESPN Today with other cable and satellite operators, vice
president of strategic and business development Bryan Burns said.

The three keys of ESPN's interactive-television service will be television
commerce, advertising and enhanced programming content, such as instant access
to sports scores, Burns said.

ESPN is working with operators and interactive-TV developers to include
buttons that will direct viewers from the ESPN Today virtual channel back to
ESPN's linear networks, such as ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNews, Burns
added.