Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Virginia Lottery Moves To Internet Drawings For Savings

February 17, 2010: summarized from Business Week -- The Virginia Lottery has scrapped its daily televised drawings in favor of the Internet, in a move to cut costs and recognize a shift in the way customers check their lottery numbers.

Last month, the lottery started Internet-only video streams of its daily and twice-a-week Win For Life drawings. The switch is expected to save more than $1 million next fiscal year in programming costs at a time when the state is seeking to overcome a $4 billion budget deficit, said Paula Otto, the lottery's executive director.

While the move was mostly a cost-saving measure, it's also a recognition that many players now look to the Internet to check their daily numbers.

"The Internet is actually a more popular way of people getting their numbers now," said Otto, who expects other states may follow Virginia's lead as they grapple with growing budget deficits.

So far, lottery officials say they've received a few complaints about the switch, mostly from older people who have no access to a computer.

Most states currently use a combination of TV broadcasts and Internet feeds for afternoon and evening drawings, according to an informal survey conducted by the Virginia Lottery. Most lotteries also have telephone hot lines and provide e-mail updates.

Viewers, especially younger viewers, are shifting from television to Web-based programming, said Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University.

The number of people viewing online video increased 19 percent in 2009, according to comScore, an Internet marketing research firm. And nearly 86 percent of U.S. Internet users viewed online video in recent months.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/aE2Sjg

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