Will this provide another incentive to cut the pay TV cord? The new venture, called 120 Sports, vows to offer Internet users a lineup of two-minute segments with “timely, interactive narratives of the stories around sports, including game footage, analysis, conversation and social commentary.” The goal it to make it relevant for live sports, not just to serve as a collection of highlights. It’ll be free, but a premium product will be offered next year. MLB Advanced Media will provide the technology muscle and is a partner in the venture along with Time Inc — the publisher of Sports Illustrated — and the NHL, NBA, NASCAR and leading collegiate conferences. Another partner, Chicago-based digital media company Silver Chalice, will handle business operations with help from Sports Illustrated, and produce the programming from a production facility on the Harpo Studios campus. Other partners will be named later. Time Inc points to 120 Sports as the kind of forward-looking initiative it can build as the magazine company prepares to stand on its own following the spinoff from Time Warner to take place by mid-year. 120 Sports “will give sports fans an amazing amount of always-on sports content and great technology so they can engage with news and highlights wherever they are,” says Time Inc EVP Todd Larsen. The service also could add to the speculation that baseball execs might take MLB Advanced Media public. It’s already on a roll with recent deals to power the online WWE Network, which launches next week, and Sony’s planned Internet pay TV service. “This is the right time to collaborate across the infrastructure of sports properties as we take the collective assets of each partner directly to fans on their favorite devices,” MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman says.
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