Turner Sets $4 Fee For 'NCAA March Madness Live' Digital Offering

Android phone users will join iPad, iPhone and online users in watching every slam dunk of the 2012 NCAA March Madness tournament -- but will have to pay $4 for the privilege.

The three-week NCAA men's division I college basketball tournament , which tips off March 13, will be available to hoop fans across all video screens -- online, mobile and tablet -- for a charge of $3.99, the first time Turner is charging for access to the 67-game tournament.

Turner will stream its linear television games online for free on an authenticated basis on the Turner websites (TBS.com, TNT.tv and truTV.com) for consumers whose cable, satellite or telco providers have reached TV Everywhere deals with the company.

All games airing on CBS will be available for free on CBSSports.com.

Last year, more than 176 million people tuned into the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship through its various platforms. Matthew Hong, senior vice president and general manager of operations for Turner Sports told Multichannel News that he's not concerned about losing audience due to the new pricing structure.

"We're having the digital model match the television model, which is the TV Everywhere authenticated model for digital," he said. "We're not fearing a decline in (audience) numbers. The fact that we're making it available via Android and really making the tournament available anywhere people go on whatever device they want to use via TV, iPad, broadband, or mobile device ... the idea is actually to grow that number."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.