Thanks to technology from never.no, viewers of the Tour de France on Norway's TV 2 will be able to experience a whole new level of interactivity and community involvement.
Using Twitter, other web interfaces, and text or image messages from their mobile phones, viewers will be able to post photos, comment on the action, and respond to polls or questions posed by the broadcaster or by other viewers - with their input taking effect on web and broadcast television in almost realtime.
"With the Tour de France this year, Norway's largest commercial broadcaster will become - as far as we know - the first sports broadcaster in the world to fully integrate and synchronise viewer interaction through mobile phones (SMS/MMS), Twitter, web chats, web TV, and broadcast television," said Lars Lauritzsen, never.no CEO. "We expect that avid fans' ability to express themselves in 'conversation' with other fans and with TV experts will create a unified social experience, transforming the disorganised cycle racing fanbase into a loyal TV 2 sports community."
For its Tour de France coverage, TV 2 will rely on never.no's Interactivity Suite, four software applications that enable media owners to integrate user-submitted content into their programming, track viewers/consumers from medium to medium, communicate with them individually, and tailor content to suit them.
Never.no has recently enhanced the Interactivity Suite's Auto Dialogue System (ADS) to enable interaction with Twitter, and the Tour de France represents the first live national broadcast to take advantage of the new capability. Relying on Twitter and similar applications, TV 2 journalists can instantaneously share their thoughts about the race and incorporate audience buzz into their coverage.
"We expect our viewers to be very enthusiastic about this new way of experiencing the Tour de France - not just as passive viewers but as active participants," said H_avard Myklebust, TV 2 managing editor and head of acquisition. "In particular, we think our audience will enjoy the immediacy of seeing snapshots in almost realtime taken by fans on the route or at the finish line. The never.no technology is giving us the opportunity to bring our viewers together in a way we could not have imagined even a few years ago."
The Tour de France is already well and truly underway and extends through to the end of July.