Showtime Brings Pay-Per-View Boxing Online

Pay TV programmer Showtime Networks’ will launch the first live boxing pay-per-view event on the Internet October 23rd, putting up five different camera angles of the Mike Tyson vs. Orlin Norris bout from Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 12-round championship bout will also have multiple audio feeds, allowing viewers to choose which view they want to see and which language they want to hear the commentary in. The fight is Showtime’s first live, interactive sports presentation, but the company plans to do more if this one is successful.

Multiple-view sporting events have long been envisioned by TV programmers, but primarily as functions of the television set, using either the Internet or a satellite system to deliver multiple channels for viewing on one TV screen. Showtime’s move to put multiple camera shots on the Internet may be a precursor to an integrated TV-Internet product.

Synchronized broadcasts of sporting events and Webcasts of additional statistics, information and commentary have also been gradually becoming more common. For example, ABC’s Monday Night Football carries real-time updates of its games each week and promotes the added Web component on the TV broadcast.

How It Works

The pay-per-view Webcast will be available to Web surfers using standard telephone lines or broadband services such as cable or satellite Web access. However, slow modems or slow Internet connections will not be effective, so 56K bps or faster connections are required, the company says. Broadband customers will be charged $16.99 (US$), while the narrowband version will be $6.99. Both versions will use Microsoft’s Windows Media Player.

Online coverage will include unofficial online scoring for every round of the fight and the undercard, compiling scores via the Web to gauge how the home viewing audience scores each round. The scores will be displayed on the Web site as the fight progresses.

Showtime also plans to conduct pre-fight online chats with Tyson, Norris, undercard fighter David Tua and Tyson’s trainer, Tommy Brooks, during the week leading up to the fight.

About is the Web site for Showtime Networks, Inc., a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA). Showtime owns its namesake premium entertainment channel, as well as The Movie Channel and FLIX, a channel for 1970s and 1980s movies.

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