Cablevision Launches MSG Varsity The Ultimate Destination For 'Everything High School'
BETHPAGE, N.Y. September 10, 2009 -- Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) announced today that it is launching MSG Varsity, the ultimate destination for high school sports and activities. This first-of-its-kind initiative includes a multi-platform suite of services comprised of: a 24/7 television network serving four distinct local regions in the tri-state area, a comprehensive online destination, and a groundbreaking interactive service. Beginning September 24, these services will be available to all of Cablevision's iO TV and Optimum Online high-speed Internet customers, reaching three million households throughout the New York market.
In addition to its professional productions, MSG Varsity is encouraging high schools across Cablevision's footprint to become co-producers of MSG Varsity's content. Through an unprecedented partnership, students and faculty will be provided extraordinary access to curriculum and training in multimedia creation and distribution, empowering them to become active participants in telling their school's stories. This school-generated content will be included on MSG Varsity's television and online platforms, enabling communities to watch and follow the positive activities and events taking place in their area high schools.
Tad Smith, president of Local Media said, "MSG Varsity marks the first launch ever of a comprehensive suite of services dedicated entirely to high school activities. For more than three decades, Cablevision has delivered industry-leading technology and pioneering local content to the New York market. This innovative history combined with our long-standing commitment to education uniquely positions Cablevision to deliver a product like MSG Varsity, which we believe will generate enormous value for participating students, parents and schools, and for the communities we serve."
"MSG Varsity is truly about celebrating the students both in front of and behind the camera. Whether they are athletes or actors, debaters or trumpet players, students are passionate about what they do and MSG Varsity gives them an incredible opportunity to share that passion with their fellow students and parents," said MSG Varsity's General Manager Theresa Chillianis. "We are looking forward to working hand-inhand with our partner schools to develop content that resonates with their own communities, and that will make MSG Varsity unlike any other service available today."
Multi-Platform Suite of Services
MSG Varsity will deliver the premier video experience as a 24/7, professionally produced, linear network that will go beyond high school sports to cover high school activities such as debate, band, drama, dance, student government and more. With four unique programming feeds - serving Long Island, Brooklyn/Bronx, Connecticut/Westchester/Hudson Valley, and New Jersey -- students, families and communities will have access to the coverage that matters most to them.
Specific programming will include:
* "High School Sports Showcase," with full coverage of more than 400 live-to-tape games and events each year
* Daily studio shows such as "High School SportsDesk," an all-encompassing sports highlight show
* Weekly series such as "The Cheering Life," a behind-the-scenes look that shows viewers what it's like to try out, train and compete
* Specials such as "The Marching Bands," which captures the inspiring halftime performances of the regions' top high school bands
* Weekly programming such as "A Quick: 60," a live call-in show on high school sports featuring high school sports guru, Mike Quick, and "The High School Journal," a magazine show that spotlights important, but less televised activities such as tennis, swimming, drama, chess, debate and more
* "The Challenge," a highly acclaimed academic quiz show for top high school students in the tri-state area
MSG Varsity will be available on Cablevision's iO TV service, channel 14.
MSGVarsity.com is a comprehensive online destination that brings together essentially all of MSG Varsity's professional and school-generated content, originating from a vast array of resources including MSG Varsity's partner schools. Students will be empowered to create content that will populate MSG Varsity's Web site. This site is comprised of the MSGVarsity.com homepage, through which users can access four distinct regional Web sites covering Long Island, Bronx/Brooklyn, Connecticut/Westchester/Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, and dedicated Web sites for partner schools.
MSG Varsity's robust network of Web sites will deliver:
* A broad video offering - games, event highlights, interviews and more
* School-specific editorial content including feature stories, and student, coach and faculty profiles
* A full gallery of event and game action photos and photo shoots featuring athletes / students
* Interactive features such as polling and quizzes
* Up-to-date information on team rosters, statistics, schedules and standings
* Programming and schedule information for the MSG Varsity network
MSG Varsity Interactive will leverage the power of the Internet and interactive television to showcase MSG Varsity's content in a new, innovative way. This interactive television offering will take MSG Varsity's comprehensive library of professional and school-generated content from the Internet and make it available for viewing on television on Cablevision's iO TV, channel 614. Participating high schools will be given the opportunity to populate this interactive platform with content they choose to make available to their communities.
Viewers will be able to dig deeper into the MSG Varsity experience as they use their television remote control to tune to MSG Varsity Interactive, where they can search for and select the content they want to watch, including coverage of high school sports games and other school activities, specials and documentaries, photos, sports statistics and much more.
With access to interactive content from all four regions, viewers can watch what's going on - at their school, at neighboring schools and in their communities - at any time, with the full functionality of the iO interactive television platform.
An Unprecedented Partnership
MSG Varsity is putting the expertise and resources of Cablevision to work for high schools across Cablevision's service area. Through a powerful community outreach effort, MSG Varsity is making a significant commitment to deliver the resources schools need to be a part of this exciting initiative, which will give students the unprecedented opportunity to be active participants in telling their school's stories to their communities.
MSG Varsity will prepare and empower students and faculty with valuable 21st century skills and training in multimedia creation and distribution. Producers and on-air talent will work directly with schools, guiding them through the fundamentals of television production, and mentoring them in the creation of online, interactive and television content. In addition, faculty will be given the opportunity to participate in training courses on media and technology skills.
In addition to training, each school will be given turnkey tools to create their own personalized content, including video equipment for content creation, Web templates for the development of a school-branded Web site, and a specialized portal that will allow each school to upload content directly. School-generated content will include everything from video clips to photos to scores, stats and other information. As part of MSG Varsity's efforts to encourage and recognize student contributions, MSG Varsity is also providing two scholarships to each partner school, which will be awarded by the schools to students who go above and beyond in their participation and creation of content.
MSG Varsity's General Manager
Theresa Chillianis has been appointed general manager of MSG Varsity and will oversee strategic development, operations and management of Cablevision's new suite of television, online and interactive services dedicated entirely to high school sports and activities. Ms. Chillianis has been a Cablevision executive for nearly 10 years. She most recently served as senior vice president of Strategy and Business Operations for Fuse, a national music and entertainment cable television network. Prior to that, Ms. Chillianis oversaw product management for Cablevision's iO TV digital cable service. Before joining Cablevision, Ms. Chillianis worked at Clairol in brand and product management.
Ms. Chillianis holds a Bachelor of Science from Providence College and a Master of Business Administration from New York University's Stern School of Business. She is a WICT Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Fellow and sits on the board of Forestdale Inc., a non-profit organization that provides foster care for children in need.
Ms. Chillianis lives in Floral Park with her husband and three children. For her high school experience, Ms. Chillianis attended St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, New York.
Read more about MSG Varsity by clicking here.