Just in time for the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting later this week, Times Internet’s cricket site GoCricket has gone live with content that appears to have been compiled over a period of time.
The company says GoCricket will offer original cricket reportage along with photos, videos, cricket records and trivia. It will also feature columns from cricket experts & writers and has roped in former Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly as a guest editor.
In addition, it will allow visitors to watch Cricket on the phone, tablet or the desktop. Along with the site launch, the company has launched mobile apps for iPhone, Android, iPad, a touch friendly mobile site for smartphones and a WAP site for feature phones.
When the IPL starts day after tomorrow, the site will apparently feature a video scorecard with real time video clips integrated into the scorecard. It’s worth noting this comes at a time when court cases by STAR and Multi Screen Media are claiming ownership of Cricket rights. While Times Internet has the rights for this edition of IPL, the company might have to pay a license fee to incorporate this scorecard on their website in the future, as well as pay for ball-by-ball commentary if either STAR or MSM win their cases. It seems to have mentioned US-based cricket channel WillowTV on the page header, so it is possible that the video is syndicated from them.
– More visual: The site has significantly more visual elements than its competitors like ESPNCricinfo or CricBuzz. It features separate sections for news stories, photos (slideshows), videos and columns in an tile-based format. It also has a widget at the top which offers scores for any ongoing matches and recently concluded matches in chronological order.
For news, the site offers a mixture of stories by an in-house GoCricket editorial team, Times News Network and agencies like PTI, AP among others. Also, remember that Times Internet has the advantage of being – rather, being affiliated with – a mainstream media publication through which it can provide original reportage. This is important since many online publications and journalists don’t even get access to Cricket grounds today due to BCCI/IPL policies. More on that here.
– Zen Mode: In each article, there is an option called ‘Read in Zen Mode’ which essentially strips downs all the bells & whistles from the site for a distraction-free environment. However, sadly you cannot browse other stories while in Zen Mode and have choose this option every time you open an article.
– Videos with weird pixel sizes: We are used to selecting 1080p, 720p, 480p, or lower as resolution for videos on sites such as YouTube, but on GoCricket, videos have resolutions such as 410p, 490p, 970p and 2930p. We have no idea what these resolutions mean. The video player is not as good as YouTube, but that’s a problem even Cricinfo faces. May be GoCricket should rope in someone from Times Internet owned BoxTV to improve it?
The site also features key players related to any story which allows users to view detailed profile of that player along with his personal stats. Besides this, the articles offers the usual social sharing options and related story suggestions among others. Times Internet mentions that users can also sign up for an account to get mobile alerts and track their favorite players and teams.
While the site seems promising at launch, I am curious to see how Times Internet will approach cricket reportage differently with this portal, as compared to its competitors.
With inputs from NT Balanarayan