Heightened innovation: Domo Broadcast Systems on helping sports broadcasting thrive in 2023
By Mike Budge, Domo Broadcast Systems director.
As we emerged from the COVID darkness this year, we came out blinking into the post-pandemic light. It took a few minutes for our eyes to adjust and to take stock. As we looked around, we noticed some key players had been seriously weakened. Staff shortages, closures and work limitations, the cancellation of major sporting events and an inability to get technology delivered to where broadcasters needed it, had taken a toll and in some case wreaked havoc.
But when we looked a bit closer, what we saw was that despite all the constraints thrown at it, sports broadcasting as an industry had continued to evolve. Audiences, stuck in their homes, had demanded and received an ever-more immersive viewing experience. Some technology manufacturers, stuck in their socially distanced production sites, had harnessed their teams’ expertise to find workarounds for parts trapped in a port half-way around the world. Innovation had flourished.
Remote production necessity
During this time, remote production became more than a competitive tool; it became a necessity, and a more complex necessity at that, particularly as broadcasters sought to minimise the risk of losing a transmission. As budgets were slashed and travel constrained, technology had to adapt to make broadcasts from remote locations continue to be possible.
This adaptation was particularly noticeable in terms of methods of transmission, including transmitting over IP to save money. But transmitting over IP can add security risks; we know broadcasters don’t want to risk having their valuable content stolen. Tech designed with built-in encryption, such as AES over SRT or BISS, has taken care of them.
Another risk with IP transmission is the potential for network failure. The solution has been streaming over dual networks. If one network should fail, the transmission will still make it through the other. So, viewers get to see the action closer to real time and broadcasters reduce the risk of dead air by having a back-up transmission path.
The needs of the motorsport broadcast industry were the main catalysts behind development of these added capabilities. Ultra-low latency and simultaneous transmission over dual networks using a variety of IP formats was a much sought-after solution but considered by many to be wishful thinking. Now it’s not only possible, it is standard use.
Enhancing viewer experiences
As we head into 2023, the broadcasting technologies that will be sought are those that continue to enhance the experience of viewers and that cut financial and resources costs for broadcasters. We know those in motorsport and other mobile applications are seeking more immersive viewer experiences.
For example, today’s race viewer — whether watching on TV at home, over social media, or located on site — wants to get as close as possible to feeling like they are right in the car with the driver. That means allowing for live, UHD transmission of sports taking place at high speeds and from multiple camera angles simultaneously, all controlled seamlessly by a remote operator.
The sporting calendar is only going to get more congested over the next two years. Sports broadcasters may be experiencing a post-pandemic boom in coverage opportunities, but tech manufacturers and suppliers are still dealing with constricted supply chains for parts. Bespoke solutions continue to be manufactured, but those managing the production of sporting events will need to be more diligent than ever in planning ahead for their tech needs. Last-minute requests are increasingly difficult to fulfill and the competitive advantage will go to those covering sports events who can most effectively project manage their needs. They need place their order far in advance of the event in order to facilitate manufacturers and suppliers with extended timelines in order to source the parts needed for increasingly bespoke solutions.
What hasn’t changed — and probably never will — is the need for constant innovation that moves the industry forward whilst still meeting the requirements of resource sustainability.
Whether you’re a manufacturer, a supplier, a sports rights holder or a broadcaster, we all will have one thing in common that will bind us together; we’re all going to continue to be under pressure to do more with less.