Oscars offer unprecedented backstage access

The Academy Awards are taking a giant leap into the online world this year. In conjunction with long-time broadcast partner ABC, the academy is offering extensive coverage of the Oscars through a premium website.

For $4.99, users will be able to chose from more than two dozen video feeds that will take them from the red carpet, through the ceremony and on to the post-telecast Governors Ball. Several of the cameras will offer 360 degree views that the users will control.

The academy is also offering an app designed for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch that includes these features, with the exception of that last one. This app, available for 99 cents on iTunes, also includes background on the nominees and behind-the-scenes vignettes.

As with this year’s Grammys, the Oscars are hoping to attract viewers who want an interactive two-screen experience. Last year, there was only a single camera streaming from the red carpet entrance.

Pixar co-founder John Lasseter was the Academy governor who liaised with Albert Cheng, executive vice president for digital media at the Disney/ABC Television Group. As Cheng told Brooks Barnes of the New York Times, “We’re excited to be able to lower the velvet rope and offer viewers new ways to be a part of Hollywood’s biggest night.”

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