Hearst-Argyle Goes Back to High School

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Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. announced today the launch of High School Playbook (highschoolplaybook.com), a first-of-its-kind product to bring high school sports action to all three screens — TV, web and mobile devices.

It is the first high school sports programming venture to combine social networking with music, statistics and robust, high-definition video, provided by a unique combination of sources: professional TV videographers; users from throughout the country; and specially trained student journalists, who will be designated Sideline Reporters, equipped with Canon HV20 high-definition camcorders.

“We’ve created a super-charged broadband platform with a stellar ‘user experience’ to give high school athletes a spotlight,” said Terry Mackin, Hearst-Argyle Television Executive Vice President in charge of digital media. “High School Playbook will become the local-community hub for 10 men’s and women’s sports and promises to be a compelling internet brand that will resonate with athletes and fans. Not only will it deliver stunning video and informative stats; it will also showcase the spirited sense of community surrounding high school sports. And while high school sports are inherently local, we have built this to have national scale.”

Highschoolplaybook.com includes comprehensive school information, game schedules, statistics, individual athlete profiles, interscholastic comparisons, and “game day” weather reports provided by the Doppler radar technology at Hearst-Argyle’s local TV stations.

Social media elements include MySpace- and facebook-like community tools including personal profile pages, team pages, school pages, cheerleader pages, fitness and nutrition pages, SMS voting and other messaging that enables byplay among rival schools and fans. “Mashable” content allows users to populate other social-networking environments for increased engagement in and distribution of the High School Playbook brand.

Video content encompasses game highlights, exclusive sideline interviews, bloopers, gameday reports, athlete profiles and “battle of the band” performances by competing schools’ marching bands. “Our professionally trained and equipped Sideline Reporters are a dynamic source of video and text content, and will receive valuable experience at the same time,” Mackin noted.

New research conducted by SmithGeiger showed a growing demand for high school sports content online, with 59% of respondents expressing interest in a website of this nature, and 74% having recently attended a high school sporting event.

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