Eurovision Sport, the sports distribution arm of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) operating on behalf of members across the continent, has been expanding on its relationship with Haivision, the US provider of low latency streaming and video encoding technology.
Eurovision Sport has started deploying the Haivision Hub video network transport service, initially to bring live IP video feeds from remote production of the European Aquatics Championships.
This coincides with Eurovision Sports’ belated expansion in OTT distribution through a partnership announced early June 2021 with Streann Media to develop sports content offerings suitable for multi-platform delivery. This involves initiatives with sports federations, broadcasters, and social platforms, aiming to increase exposure for Eurovision Sport content. The partnership with Streann will allow access to live action, replays, and behind-the-scenes content from the portfolio of sports federations and rights owners currently in partnerships with the EBU.
Eurovision Sports operates on behalf of the 69 EBU member public service broadcasters such as the BBC, France Televisions and Germany’s ARD. As part of Eurovision Services, it uses its collective strength to negotiate global sports content for its stakeholders and also to distribute content individual member broadcasters hold rights to. Operating as a 'one-stop-shop', Eurovision Sport assists partners at all stages of the value chain from production to broadcast rights distribution, event organization and archive management.
Given the soaring cost of premium rights such as European Champions League football, Eurovision Sports has become mostly confined to second tier sports, as have many of its member broadcasters. The European Aquatics Championships is a typical case, held biannually, with the Haivision Hub featuring for the 2021 event held May 10-23 in Budapest, Hungary, bringing together top athletes for swimming and diving.
Other sports embraced by Eurovision include rowing through a four-year-deal, signed by 20 EBU members as guarantors, with the World Rowing association running from 2021 until 2024.
In another example, Eurovision has an extended media rights partnerships with the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV), until the 2026/27 season. While Austrian public service broadcaster ORF holds domestic rights, Eurovision with the International Management Group (IMG) has bought coverage in over 100 countries across Europe and the rest of the world, including for the first time in South Africa, Thailand and South America. This also includes planes and cruise ships via Sport24, the IMG-owned and operated 24/7 service. This deal is in line with Eurovision Sports’ strategy of aggregating audiences for more niche sports events around the world to expand reach and attract greater revenues.
The Haivision Hub is expected to play a key role in this strategy by providing broadcasters with secure transport of live IP video feeds from video encoders, whether located onsite at live events, at on-premise sites, or in the cloud. Haivision Hub enables complete end-to-end live IP video routing and centralizes management of live contribution workflows.
By exploiting the cloud-based Haivision Hub, the SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) low latency protocol, and Haivision’s Makito X real-time video encoders, the EBU and its members have been able to cover the European Aquatics Championships remotely, from their own headquarters. It also enabled broadcasters to tailor live content to their respective audiences on multiple platforms.
Under this particular workflow, multiple isolated feeds, along with the main production feed, were sent from the venue over the global Eurovision Network and Haivision Hub to national broadcasters. With access to these feeds, each national broadcaster can customize its programming, incorporating interviews with athletes from their own respective countries.
“The beauty of the Haivision Hub cloud solution integrated within the unique broadcast services delivered through our network is that it offers our EBU broadcasters the flexibility to do more interviews and create more custom feeds to meet increasing demand for tailored content without staff having to travel to the sports venue,” said Franck Choquard, Head of Content and Platforms, Eurovision Sport at EBU.
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