Live from the Rugby World Cup: IGBS social media team finds success with 360-degree video

Tim Stott of IGBS says that 360-degree video, if done right, can find an audience.

Tim Stott, International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS) executive producer, digital, has worked on four Rugby World Cup tournaments and over the years he and the team have learned one key factor when it comes to creating content for social media.

“What we do is almost divorced from the match schedule as what happens in the matches has very little to do with what we work on,” he says.

“We started out as a clipping service for online distribution but anyone can do that. What we want to do is create a fresh line of content for the social media managers of the rights holders and make sure they don’t get a high amount of content at one time.”

A team of four is creating a variety of content, including 360-degree videos, quick video clips, stats and facts, hero-worship content, and more for delivery via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Stott says that the take up of 360-degree videos, captured using GoPro 360-degree cameras, has been going really well, in part because the Rugby World Cup team is creating content that resonates. Also helping is that there is no need for someone to manually stitch together video streams to create the 360-degree videos, making the process much easier and faster.

“We have found that 360-degree content only works when the subject is near the camera,” he says. “If the subject is too far away the experience drops off dramatically so our philosophy for 360-degree video is proximity to the stars.

“We want to put the camera in a place where we can get close to people. The top of a Steadicam as the players walk off the pitch or something like a try in the corner is manna from heaven. Short things have impact, like the anthems. And the camera also has a really good omnidirectional microphone so people can play to the camera.”

“We have found that 360-degree content only works when the subject is near the camera. If the subject is too far away the experience drops off dramatically.”

Shorter works better every time, says Stott, especially for the 360-degree video clips which have a large file size that can overwhelm a mobile device and degrade the experience.

Stott says the team philosophy is to be reactive to what is going on. Straight match previews are not part of the social media deliverables prior to a match as the rights holders handle those offerings themselves. But a piece about one of the players in a match is perfect as it can resonate beyond a single match. Top clips this year include the New Zealand Haka in 360-degrees and a Wales hero-worship piece.

“Straight hero-worship content or split-screen stuff where you give the viewer a binary choice and a simple task has appeal,” he says. “And things that appeal to our ADHD impatience like all of the trophy lifts in 30 seconds, not 31 seconds, works. Celebrating greatness always works.”

A Web-based user interface makes it easier than ever for rights holders to find the social media clips they want to use

The efforts by the digital team also span the globe as a team back in Stockley Park is creating two-minute highlights for distribution by World Rugby as well as 30-second match day highlights available for non-rights holders. IGBS also creates a two-minute-and-30 second highlights package that is available on a delayed basis for non-rights holders.

All the content in the world means nothing if rights holders can’t find what they want, and the digital team and rights holders are using a Web-based interface that was created for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Fresh content is at the top of the page and pushes older content down on an endless page and short descriptors in the thumbnail for each piece of content makes it easy for users to find the most relevant content.

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