New tech for a twist on live sports content in 2019 according to TVU Networks

David Jorba, EVP MD for Europe at TVU Networks, gives us his take on new technologies, new production methods and new sports for 2019

TVU Networks’ David Jorba

Media consumption has moved away from linear consumption. Online and on-demand services enable media consumers to take charge of how, when and where they watch their content of choice.

Despite the undeniable rise of SVOD and VOD services, audiences still value live content. As stated by Deloitte in its predictions for 2018, the $545 billion live content is driven by a combination of exclusivity, shared experience and fear of missing out. Live sports is highly valued by audiences and is a key driver for gaining and retaining consumer engagement and eyeballs.

Fan engagement is no longer something that happens between kick off and the final whistle. It is just as critical before fans enter the venue and after the live event ends.

With viewer demographics getting younger, sports broadcasters are under increased pressure to keep evolving their services, so they can meet the ever-shifting demands of the digital generation. As well as delivering higher resolution coverage, with more camera angles to capture every second of the action, broadcasters need to keep pushing the technological envelop to increase viewer interaction.

Looking outside the mainstream

Broadcasters need to deliver more content across more platforms while increasing efficiency. To remain competitive, broadcasters have to look to new and innovative ways of capturing, producing and delivering content to consumers. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are just some of the tools that enable broadcasters to adapt their content offering to meet shifting viewer demands.

With the thriving state of live content consumption, broadcasters are also looking beyond premium sports, and the rising cost of securing rights, to more niche sports. Not only does this provide new opportunities for generating ROI, but it allows them to attract new viewers. By serving audiences outside the mainstream, broadcasters can also create, and trial new service models based on over the top (OTT) self-serving content platforms.

Remote production but not as we know it

In the recent past, the remote production model has addressed some of these challenges. The same production team, located at a broadcaster’s facility, can be used to cover more events through utilising staff and equipment more effectively and cost efficiently.

However, cloud-enabled remote production takes remote production one step further, giving production teams greater flexibility and agility. Production can easily be scaled up or down, there is no costly infrastructure to install and camera operators and editors can be highly mobile. The broadcaster pays only for the hours of production that are being used and any location, as long as it has public internet connectivity, can become a laptop-based production control room.

TVU Networks’ cloud remote production infrastructure is designed to deliver live video production solutions that can handle everything from the event live video acquisition and transmission using aggregated cellular and public internet, the event video production including switching, graphics and replay, and the IP streaming content delivery to multiple global online platforms and baseband receivers from a single workflow.

Engaging global fans

TVU Networks recently partnered with the International Federation for Teqball (FITEQ) to stream the Teqball World Cup to a global audience of fans via a dedicated Facebook page. Teqball is one of the world’s fastest developing sports, played on a curved ping-pong like table requiring football skills. It has attracted support from a number of high profile international football players and was recommended for inclusion in the Asian Games, just three years after the sport was established. At the Teqball World Cup, the team successfully delivered a reliable live streaming of the four hour event from Reims, France remotely to a transceiver in Budapest, Hungary, without a single significant loss in quality.

Engaging e-sport viewers requires multiple streams, intercut with different camera angles of the players themselves and their first-person perspectives – often managed remotely or on site at a major arena. With any new or established sport that is looking to amass new fans or additional content for engaged followers, providing a high quality live action experience either through traditional broadcast, OTT services or social media channel is essential to create loyalty and ensure fans keep coming back for more.

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