SVG Europe Sit-Down: Grabyo’s Gareth Capon on OTT graphics and making presentations stand out from the crowd

Grabyo CEO Gareth Capon

Launched in 2013, Grabyo works with over 60 premium rights holders, brands and publishers in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific including Wimbledon, LaLiga, Thai PBS, Global Radio and Sky. The company’s suite of social video production and publishing tools allows rights holders to meet the real-time demands of digital platforms, provide an enhanced viewer experience, and activate global audiences. Our discussion with CEO, Gareth Capon, started with reflections on the recent NAB…

NAB is still fresh in our minds. What was uppermost on the minds of the visitors to your stand?

For most broadcasters and rights holders, the importance of having a fast, efficient tool to reach audiences across mobile, social platforms is now a must. There is a greater understanding that audiences are now across multiple platforms and expect to receive content on-demand and optimised for viewing on mobile devices.

We also saw an increased interest in sports broadcasters looking to create new content formats, particularly for live streaming. There is clear demand for a more flexible, affordable approach to live production that allows teams to create a digital-first experience for their audience.

Last year, Grabyo delivered over five billion video views to social and digital platforms. What were the highlights for you – and why?

We work with some of the most innovative rights holders and broadcasters on a global basis and to be closely associated with their digital teams to drive success is important for us. Partnering with Eurosport to deliver the first truly digital Winter Olympic Games was a standout highlight. Grabyo was used by Eurosport digital teams in 11 territories – bringing live streams and real-time highlights to fans across Europe during the Games.

Grabyo teamed up with AELTC Wimbledon to provide much more access, fan participation and interactivity than in previous years. This included the AELTC content team using Grabyo Producer to run a live Q&A with Roger Federer during qualifying week. We also worked with Under Armour and Anthony Joshua to deliver a fan Q&A after his stunning victory over Wladimir Klitschko.

Overall, the year showcased the appetite for fans to engage with sports across multiple platforms – sports viewing is no longer confined to a television set. It is these trends that have led broadcasters and rights holders to partner with Grabyo to create and share content that builds more meaningful direct relationship with fans – creating opportunities for two-way interaction, feedback, community viewing and audience participation.

Can you tell us how Grabyo Producer benefits sports broadcasters?

Grabyo Producer gives digital teams more flexibility to create formats outside traditional live sports broadcasts, creating new content experiences that are complementary, social first, and often extend the linear broadcast schedule. For sports broadcasters, the traditional TV schedule is made up of premium live rights and the ancillary production for the pre-game build-up and post-game reactions/analysis. Much of the production investment is focused on the short window around the live event.

With Grabyo Producer broadcast and digital teams can make much better use of existing live streams, as well as developing new formats and ancillary content that can find a better home on social platforms.

Grabyo Producer provides a simple workflow to create a different viewing experience for the audience. The ability to add comments, mobile interviews, remote live streams, VOD and archive content combined with live graphics creates an engaging viewing experience that is different to traditional TV. Producer allows sports broadcasters to get more value out of existing media rights and expand production to third party digital platforms.

To create compelling live content around an event is expensive and often resource-intensive. Grabyo Producer is a cloud-based tool accessed anywhere in the world, and Producer greatly reduces the cost of live content production and offers the flexibility and quality of more traditional production systems.

How do you see graphics for live streaming developing over the next few years?

Graphics production and authoring will move to the cloud and many parts will be automated. This shift is happening already. Our partnership with Reality Check Systems and Singular. Live offers content owners the tools to bring broadcast-quality graphics production in a web-browser. Grabyo has the best integration for creating a digital first, live broadcast from a browser complete with live graphics authoring, playout and data visualisations.

Where output is shown on both traditional TV channels and on social media, are there different considerations that need to be taken into account during your work?

The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. With technology such as a Grabyo Producer available, creating a distinctive, mobile optimised version of a traditional TV output is simple.

Consumers watching a live broadcast on a mobile device have different production needs than a regular TV broadcast. Graphics optimised for mobile are typically larger and information displayed is kept simple. However, cross-platform distribution makes this a greater challenge. Facebook and MLB are currently experimenting with different viewing experiences across desktop, mobile and smart TVs.

The advantage of taking live content to social media is that audience feedback and participation is immediate. This brings plenty of exciting possibilities to create formats that offer a unique community-based viewing experience that differs from traditional TV. Social conversation around big sporting events on Twitter and Facebook has grown exponentially in the last five years – now Twitter Live and Facebook Live combine the content and the conversation on a single screen.

Sports fans are now inundated with choice when it comes to viewing. How do you make a client’s output stand out from the crowd?

Sports fans expect immediacy; they want to experience everything in the moment wherever they are. Grabyo makes this easy for rights owners. The option to take a broadcast feed from anywhere in the world and stream this to multiple platforms at once; the ability to cut clips and highlights in real time for social publishing as well as lightweight content management and syndication tools for partners. Grabyo has the most established set of tools for optimising content for social consumption. GIFs, square and vertical edits, sponsor branding, OTT promotions, Amplify and Content ID ensures that partners can quickly deliver content formats and types that their audience want to engage and interact with.

What do you see as the next major innovation when it comes to OTT?

The first phase of OTT was driven by broadcasters and rights holders taking existing linear TV content and making it available for viewing on the internet and connected devices – and we are still in the middle of this phase. The first extension of this was to provide access to content which was not widely available on linear TV – full coverage of first day’s play on the PGA Tour or a complete event for the World Surfing League. The WSL is a great example of a sports format which is perfect for OTT – the fans are distributed across the globe and the unpredictable nature of the events makes it challenging to schedule them for linear TV broadcasts.

The content available has now evolved to include original or exclusive programming not available on linear TV or other networks. For example, the WWE run hours of original programming on its Network not found anywhere else.

The next stage of OTT that we are moving into now will be a more personal user experience – one will give greater flexibility for the individual both in terms of the content they watch and the price they pay. OTT will bring disruption to business models as well as distribution. This change will be supported by more integrated data propositions, VR and AR and the option for ‘digital/social’ experiences. However, the greater value to sports fans in the short term will be the ability to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, on a screen of their choice, wherever they are, at a price point that suits them. This is an OTT revolution worth waiting for.

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