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YES, DirecTV Swing at Interactive TV

New York Yankees fans with DirecTV can now keep tabs on the Boston Red Sox game on-screen while watching Alex Rodriguez swing for the fences.

DirecTV’s new interactive service through Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network allows subscribers in the New York DMA with interactive set-top boxes to access up-to-the-minute out-of-town scores, Yankees player stats, Major League Baseball standings and in-game box scores with a touch of a remote-control button, all while continuing to watch Bronx Bombers telecasts live on YES.

Since the service launched two weeks ago, one-third of interactive-capable subscribers have accessed the on-screen interactive features, according to DirecTV executive vice president Eric Shanks. He noted that 50% of YES interactive users have accessed the DirecTV service more than six times and 25% have used it more than 11 times.

DirecTV would not reveal how many subscribers it has in the New York DMA, but sources close to the direct-broadcast satellite distributor said more than one-half of such subscribers have interactive boxes necessary to access the YES application.

Along with statistical data provided by MLB’s Advanced Media division, DirecTV subscribers can also access a second video feed that provides live game coverage from a different vantage point than the primary YES feed, according to Shanks.

The BonusCam feature is available only for the network’s presentation of Yankees home telecasts, but YES CEO Tracy Dolgin said he hopes to have the feature available for games in the House that Ruth Built and on the road, beginning next season.

Neither YES nor DirecTV officials would reveal specific costs for the service, but Shanks said the interactive features help to differentiate DirecTV from its cable competitors. Dolgin, though, said cable operators may also be able to tap into some interactive features with YES in the future. He added that the interactive service could provide additional advertising opportunities, although the network isn’t planning on securing any sponsors this season.

Shanks said DirecTV has fielded calls from other regional sports networks interested in its interactive service, but YES will be the only network to feature the service this year. DirecTV has added interactive elements to its NFL Sunday Ticket and NCAA March Madness out-of-market sports packages for the National Football League and college basketball, respectively.