If Sports Illustrated (NYSE: TWX) wasn’t already serious about getting into online video, these numbers probably would have management scrambling: SI.com has served more than 70 million video streams connected to the 2010 edition of the iconic swimsuit issue, roughly double last year’s total. A site revamp launching this afternoon (not live yet) moves ad-supported video into SI.com’s mainstream, with plans to post 15 or so clips daily in a front-page player and across the Time Warner sports site.
Managing Editor Paul Fichtenbaum describes video as the “last piece of content strategy that was missing. This was the one thing we wanted to add.” SI has some rights to highlights — NHL, some college football and college basketball — but won’t be the go-to site for game clips. Instead, much of the video will feature SI contributors on hot topics from a new “signature” program called SI Inside Report; some will be video clips of Dan Patrick’s syndicated radio show, which is shown on DirecTV (NYSE: DTV).
The video production is headed by Ian Orefice, who was part of the launch team at CNNMoney.com; he’s executive producer of video of SI.com. Maggie Gray is SI