NBCSports says Notre Dame fans are in for a two-screen treat via Jacked.com

By Ken Kerschbaumer

This weekend NBCSports.com will debut a new technology from developer Jacked, Inc. that will give sports fans a richer, deeper, and more personalized interactive TV experience. Launched to coincide with NBC Sports’ first Notre Dame game the Jacked TVTOP publishing platform looks to revolutionize the sports fan interactive TV experience by providing a highly customizable Web page that allows for fans to choose “widgets” on a dashboard that provide them the information they most want.

“It’s a browser-based system that resides outside of the network’s operations,” says Bryan Biniak, Jacked CEO. “We’re starting out on the laptop with the next step being a push to mobile devices.”

An interesting aspect of the system is that because it resides outside of the network’s Web site Jacked will be able to launch Dashboards based around sports and networks without needing to reach a rights deal. The company has reached deals with AP, Getty Images and Flicker to provide photos from events as they happen while Stats, Inc. is driving the statistics. The company expects to launch an NFL Dashboard that will give fans similar information to that found on ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, and NFL.com.

In the case of the deal with NBCSports.com for Notre Dame contests users will have access to video of the pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows and interviews. Jacked has created a fully configurable Notre Dame dashboard with 19 unique widgets including real-time statistics, photos, player information, play-by-play, chat, and news for both televised and non-televised Notre Dame games. Notre Dame fans can also purchase team paraphernalia via an Amazon widget on the Jacked dashboard and compete in interactive games.

“At NBCSports.com, we know that Notre Dame fans are some of the most loyal followers of NCAA football,” said Perkins Miller, SVP Digital Media, NBC Sports & Olympics “With this new offering from Jacked, they can experience Notre Dame football on another level, with access to the latest scores and statistics, player bios and photos and the ability to get into the game by interacting with other Notre Dame fans from their personal computer.”

Jacked secured $6.5 million in venture funding earlier this year, has filed 10 patents on the unique approach, designed as a real-time dynamic complement to the television broadcast experience. NBCSports.com users will be able to access a customizable Notre Dame dashboard and suite of fully configurable widgets synchronized with the live NBC broadcast to have an immersive viewing experience from anywhere in the world.

The question facing Jacked is will the two-screen experience catch on? The two-screen experience has been criticized over the years for pulling TV viewers away from their TV sets (and, in turn, advertising). But the one-screen interactive TV experience has been a non-starter (not including VOD) as developers of interactive services were lost in the morass of trying to keep up with ever-widening combinations of set-top box/middleware/platform technologies that needed to be supported.

Biniak, however, says two trends will give Jacked some gas. First, as laptop computers replace standalone PCs computer users are increasingly using their laptop while watching television. Second, online advertising is heating up.

“We look at this as an engagement layer that will allow advertisers to reach consumers in a new way,” he says. For example, Amazon.com could offer a widget that will dynamically change to offer merchandise based around the sporting event on the screen. Or Apple could create a widget that lists iTunes tracks that are played during a sporting event and are available for purchase.

In addition to its deal with NBC Sports for Notre Dame, Jacked will launch its football SPORTSTOP on Jacked.com in September, offering an immersive real-time broadcast companion for NFL and NCAA football games. Fans can look forward to NBA, NCAA Basketball and NHL later this fall.