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Inside out: transforming sports broadcasting

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Television has transformed sports such as football, with millions of fans tuning in week in, week out to see their team. It is clear that sporting bodies and broadcasters need sports to deliver on the pitch to entice viewers, but they also need to be delivering a quality product themselves to keep the public engaged.

To achieve this, the industry has undergone massive change in recent years with technology developments that help create a better experience for fans. The traditional approach to delivering sport content, predominantly live and exclusively through one distribution channel, has evolved considerably into one represented now by a multi-faceted, multi-organisational approach. This has been enabled by the introduction of over-the-top (OTT), video on demand (VOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD), which are all definitely here to stay.

We continue to see large investments in big data, fan engagement via social media, virtual advertising and to no small level, betting. However, the industry has so far failed to understand how technology can solve internal servicing and marketing issues, despite the huge potential.

Internal processes are struggling to keep up

It is understandable that the industry has focused on consumer engagement and commercialisation, but it is time that technology is used to modernise internal processes. Although this side of the industry isn’t quite as sexy as the actual delivery, it is absolutely vital that the industry gets it right. If it fails to do so, it will not be able to keep up with the major changes taking place in terms of content delivery.

As things stand, linear servicing to the broadcast industry is broken, with technological advancements in content delivery creating increasingly complex services requiring expensive hardware and greater staffing needs. This is happening at a time when rights holders’ budgets are shrinking, meaning they need to increase efficiencies and ensure their investments are worthwhile.

One of the main problems is that the industry is yet to realise it is broken. Due to large long-term contracts and an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, people are simply battling on. These long-term contracts have stifled innovation and left internal processes sitting on outdated and on-premises hardware that is getting bigger and more expensive.

The suffering of rights holders

With project management still taking place on spreadsheets and file delivery happening on WeTransfer, rights holders continue to suffer. When it comes to project management, they are unable to see what is going on and this lack of visibility leaves them in the dark and exposed when talking to their clients. It also means they don’t have everything in one place and are left hopping from system to system to track assets and instructions. This is far too laborious and completely inefficient.

Outdated hardware makes file management and delivery extremely slow and expensive to get done, meaning rights holders are unable to meet fast changing demands and campaigns. It can take up to two weeks for necessary changes to be made to advertising campaigns. The modern world moves far faster than this and campaigns need to be as fresh as possible to excite and entice the consumer.

The future lies in the cloud

The advent of the cloud has obviously had a massive impact on the industry, lowering production costs for high quality video content by streaming video editing and distribution workflows. It has also made it possible to quickly and easily produce and deploy professional grade cloud-based live video streaming and editing, enabling the delivery of content instantly across web, social and mobile at the fraction of the previous cost.

We have seen cloud technology completely transform content delivery and distribution, but now is the time for it to revolutionise internal processes as well. Cloud can replace current linear processes such as spreadsheets to track and deliver projects, providing real-time visibility and access.

Fully clouded solutions will transform internal processes, providing infinite scalability that will allow rights holders access to every file they need as quickly as they can take it. It will also shorten the lead time for new advertising campaigns from 14 days to 48 hours, meaning sponsors can keep their advertising campaigns as current as possible.

It is time the industry embraces the cloud internally as well as externally and really reaps the rewards.

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