Unified Cloud-Based Platforms: Bringing Increased Cost Savings, Efficiency and Agility to Live Sport

In the media industry, speed has become a critical workflow requirement even more than ever, especially for delivering live sports. Today, consumers have a large number of avenues for watching live sports, including traditional broadcast TV channels, OTT services and a growing assortment of apps and video services. Facing a growing and diverse range of competition, broadcasters, TV networks and OTT service providers need to be more agile and work faster, while constantly monitoring costs on all fronts.

It’s also imperative that broadcasters and Pay-TV operators offer more innovative features and a better viewer experience than the competition can provide, or they risk losing viewers. Parks Associates found that approximately one-third of Pay-TV subscribers made a change to their service between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018, either downgrading to a less expensive service, switching service providers, or cutting the cord completely. This research suggests that consumers are not afraid to cut the cord or try out a different service if they are not satisfied with the television experience. Providing live content on every screen in a way that is cost-effective and efficient is the ultimate goal.

This article will discuss briefly how sports rights holders, leagues, and organisations can save costs, simplify operations, and be more agile using an end-to-end, cloud-based platform for live sports.

Benefits of a Unified Cloud-Based Platform for Live Sports

Hybrid Content Distribution:  One of the key advantages of a unified cloud-based platform is that broadcasters can distribute live content via a wide range of distribution methods, including hybrid satellite, fibre, and IP networks. This gives them greater flexibility in ensuring they reach their audience and the ability to rapidly grow new markets, as well as allowing them to choose the most cost-effective route to their viewers in each use case.

Fast Access to Relevant Information:  Another benefit of unified platforms is that they provide full visibility into booking data, and it’s a simple task to request on the spot modifications. Through a single user interface, broadcasters have the opportunity to select which platforms and licensees have access to their events and event data, modify requests, add new requests, share files, chat about and monitor all events and video feeds. Not only does this streamline operations, it allows broadcasters to boost monetisation for live sports events.

Editing in the Cloud:  Relying on the cloud for editing and highlights creation is perfect for live sports applications, where time is of the essence. Traditionally, broadcasters have required on-site editing suites at major sports events. Cloud-based platforms allow editing to be done remotely. Broadcasters can record and archive their streams anywhere in the world, as well as edit content in real time via the cloud, unlocking the significant cost-savings of the at home production model as a result. Cloud-based media platforms allow quick, on-the-fly highlights creation from live feeds or recorded content. Using the cloud to archive content and repurpose it in the future, for craft editing or instant publishing to social media platforms, is especially valuable. 

Efficient Metadata Generation:  Efficient and cost-effective metadata generation is one of the key requirements of any sports property in 2019, not only for live production and near-live clips generation, but for rights management, archive, and all other downstream purposes. A unified cloud-based platform allows for the easy integration of cloud-based AI services for metadata generation, automating the process and thus mitigating against both rising costs in this area and easing the pressure in a significant workflow bottleneck.

Agility:  Cloud-based platforms are incredibly scalable, allowing sports broadcasters to launch new live events and popup channels rapidly and with little upfront investment. Broadcasters do not need to build out a new infrastructure for every major sports event. Since cloud-based platforms can be deployed in an opex-based business model and scale as and when required, they allow broadcasters to better manage their costs. Broadcasters only pay for what resources have been used, as opposed to making a significant capex investment in equipment and software solutions. Being cloud-based, the platform is more flexible and responsive than traditional sports solutions. It can be adapted to meet changing consumer demands, new technologies, and next-generation business models.

Conclusion

The cost to create and distribute content continues to rise, but cloud-based platforms offer a more scalable and cost-effective solution. Through cloud architecture, sports broadcasters can aggregate, manage and deliver linear and nonlinear content with greater speed, cost efficiency and agility than ever before. Having a unified cloud media platform, TV channels can scale up, as needed and deliver live sports coverage to viewers on any broadcast, VOD, or OTT platform. Cloud-based platforms increase a media company’s global footprint, allowing them to rely on a variety of distribution methods to reach more viewers and maximise the value of their content.

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