USA Takes Dogs For Online Walk

USA Network's latest Internet efforts are going to the dogs.

The network has fluffed up its online coverage of the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with enhanced, behind-the-scenes video coverage of the Feb. 11 to 12 event on, according to network executive vice president of marketing, digital and brand strategy Chris McCumber.

USA, which operates the organization's site as part of its programming arrangement, will create new features for the upcoming show, including live streaming coverage of the “Best In Group” and “Best In Show” competition well after USA Network's two-day on air coverage ends.

McCumber wants the new online additions to help boost unique visits to the site 15% to 20% beyond the more than 1.5 million that clicked onto the network last year — and drive Internet surfers to the telecasts.

The Westminster show, a springtime staple for USA, averaged 2.65 million viewers last year over two days, up from 1.7 million in 2006.

USA Network will provide live coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show from 8 to 9 p.m. on Monday and 8 to 11 p.m. on Tuesday. CNBC will also provide coverage on Feb. 11 from 9 to 11 p.m.

The Westminster site also will include all 169 breed judging videos available in the new WKC Video Player within hours of being shown on USA.

“The dog show has one of the most dedicated fan bases for any sport and there's so much content that does not get seen on the broadcast network,” McCumber said. “We wanted to give dog show enthusiasts as much coverage as possible that they're not going to be seeing on TV.”

Also new to the site: a “WKC Community” that allows canine aficionados to discuss the competition amongst themselves. McCumber said the social networking area will be a place where dog lovers, owners and breeders can interact and share user-contributed content.

Users can create individual profiles, upload videos and photos and create blogs.

“It's a socialized place where people can come and really connect with each other and the passion they have,” McCumber added.

A “WKC All Access” area will provide behind-scenes coverage of the dog show, hosted by David Frei and Carley Simpson. Roaming reporters were to provide bench-area Webcasts and backstage interviews Sunday, Feb. 10, as well as coverage of the two-day event.

On the mobile side, USA will simulcast and rebroadcast of 2008 WKC shows on mobile sites NBC2Go and MobiTV.

USA also will provide mobile alerts featuring factoids, trivia, backstage news and tune-in reminders for the telecast.

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.