informa
/
News

NHL Launches Highlight Machine

Streaming video and audio service offers fans access to every goal and save.
The adoption of broadband connections might be slow among the population as a whole, but apparently that's not true for hockey fans. The National Hockey League says 76% of the 12 million monthly visitors to NHL.com log on from a broadband connection.

Having gathered that bit of surprising intelligence by using browser-based customer-intelligence software from RedSheriff, an Internet business-intelligence company, the NHL this week began offering clips of this season's action via streaming video and audio at 700 Kbps to subscribers, powered by Microsoft's Windows Media 9 series. The "NHL Highlight Machine" service league also delivers streaming video and audio of full-length classic games on a pay-per-view basis, says Keith Ritter, president of NHL Interactive Cyber Enterprises. To ward off video pirates, the league has deployed Windows Media Digital Rights Management and CinemaNow's PatchBay video-on-demand system. They work together to "make sure you can't copy, burn to a DVD, or sell any of the hockey footage," Ritter says.

There was some early skepticism in the league about streaming video, he says. "You keep reading in the press that broadband hasn't been as much adopted as cable or DSL in the home. But that's not true for hockey fans."

NHL fans are regarded as the most tech-savvy in all of sports among fans of the four major team sports, according to market research from Scarborough Research. NHL fans rank first in PC ownership among fans of the four major sports leagues, and first in accessing the Internet via broadband.