BTN2Go Rolls Out Version 3.0
TV Everywhere is still in its infancy, but Big Ten Network’s BTN2Go is a bona fide veteran platform. BTN2Go was the second major TV Everywhere sports service to launch, doing so only a couple of months after WatchESPN hit the scene.
Now entering its third year, BTN2Go is introducing Version 3.0 of its mobile app, offering a bevy of upgrades just in time for the widest available distribution it has ever had.
Over the summer, BTN execs locked up deals with major distributors Comcast and AT&T U-Verse. According to Michael Calderon, VP, programming and digital media, BTN, that means about 95% of BTN subscribers now have access to BTN2GO via authentication through their cable provider.
“For the first time in [BTN2Go’s] existence, we’ve got widespread availability,” he says. “We’re really excited about the growth potential, given the increased distribution.”
Version 3.0 comes with a few technological enhancements that are sure to please fans.
On the video front, this year’s BTN2Go showcases more user-friendly video options, offering the opportunity to watch entire archived games or highlight packages. In previous years, tapping on a completed game in the schedule would automatically launch the full-game archive.
The new version is also very social-media–centric. The app lets users share what they are watching via Facebook and Twitter and displays posts and tweets related to content one is watching.
On iOS devices, BTN2Go has a new, easier-to-use design, shifting from the app’s horizontal layout of previous years in favor of a more phone-friendly vertical design. The iPhone version of BTN2Go now mirrors the Android version more in that respect.
The update also features tightened integration with BTN.com, which is debuting a mobile-friendly version of the site.
All the new features improve the experience for the user, who Calderon says has been a highly engaged customer over the past two years.
“I think [BTN2Go] fits the profile of our viewers very well,” he says. “We are targeting an audience, many of which are Big Ten alums, that is well-educated; they’re tech-savvy. Just to see how everything has changed in just the seven years since we’ve launched, to see how the consumer demand has changed given how you consume video and how you consume games, it’s pretty remarkable how quickly it’s changed. We understand that our fans are busy professionals who want to watch the game wherever they are with whatever device they happen to have with them.”
BTN2Go was originally created through a partnership with Neulion. Live video feeds are sent via Elemental encoders to Neulion, and the IPTV provider runs the signals through a demuxing process to create the formats for the various platforms. Adobe Pass provides authentication services for BTN2Go.
BTN Field Pass
Returning following rave reviews a year ago is BTN Field Pass, a BTN2Go-exclusive feature that allows fans to watch all the activity going on in the stadium for a full hour prior to kickoff.
At each game, BTN locks off one camera an hour before pregame to serve as the point-of-view for BTN Field Pass, which will be made available for more games. That will add a bit more prep work before game day for Calderon’s team but no major tech changes.
“We ran it really as a beta test last year, and it was so well received. We didn’t do much promotion on it, but those that discovered it raved about it on message boards and shared the word. It’s a great option for those who want to be at the stadium but for whatever reason can’t be at the game.”
Buffalo Wild Wings jumped in as a sponsor on BTN Field Pass, and fans can expect a fun ad campaign to promote BTN2Go in the near future.