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ESPN Touts Watching MNF, Presidential Debate — at the Same Time

22 Oct, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In a sign of the times, ESPN is running an ad advocating viewers watch the tonight’s (Oct. 22) “Monday Night Football” game between the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions at same time as the third and final debate between President Obama (from Chicago) and Republican challenger Mitt Romney (who was born in Detroit).

To accomplish the feat, ESPN is encouraging authenticated viewers to access its WatchESPN app (or log onto WatchESPN.com) to watch the football game on a laptop or tablet at the same time as the presidential debate is carried live on the networks.

The spot underscores upticks in the use of so-called “second screens” while watching TV — a trend viewers have adopted in order to find additional information on a show, actor, or keep abreast of news and related information.

MNF telecasts are blacked out on most smartphones since the National Football League has an exclusive mobile phone license deal with Verizon, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.

BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield included a link to the ESPN ad spot in an Oct. 22 blog post. In a blog post Greenfield said ESPN’s strategy portends the future of multichannel television, which he said includes integrating concurrent forms of IP-video content (from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc.) rather than a shifting to an a la carte channel world.

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