In choosing one phrase to summarise the current situation across the sports broadcasting market, I’d opt for “a state of flux”. There are two reasons for why I believe that description fits so well.
The market has witnessed a dramatic amount of change in recent years in the areas of developing the value of sports rights and the available technology by which to deliver them. We’re in constant dialogue with clients from across the sporting spectrum concerning their tech options and solutions. What’s noticeable is there’s some ambiguity with respect to content handling and monetization. If we look at it from a consumer perspective, people are still trying to make sense of the viewing landscape: what they want to watch, where they want to watch, and how much they’re prepared to pay to watch.
From broadcaster, production company, rightsholder and sports federation perspectives, there’s a bewildering array of technology on offer today. And this immediately prompts questions. What’s the optimal way of getting content to people and to maximise reach? What’s the real value of that content and what technology solution would be the best fit for delivering that value? Naturally, everyone involved with any given sport would love it to be viewed by the biggest possible audience, but even if the means to deliver are easily available, does that align with appetite and demand?
In terms of providing content acquisition on site and IP and cloud broadcast options, the barrier to entry has devolved to lower than ever before. However, that in no way guarantees the high standard of broadcast compliance. That level of quality requires experience and skill, reliability and security.
There are ways of delivering content on the most minimal of budgets available, but given the competitive nature of the landscape, will there be the retention of enough eyes on that content downstream, and therefore monetizable gains to be made as a result? Confidence in the quality and reliability of that output being compliant with relevant pay-TV platforms is a major concern. If the look and feel at the user endpoint is poorly experienced, there’s the very real danger people will switch off, and that will damage the brand.
As an industry and as Globecast, we are embracing the rapid technology changes underway, wholeheartedly. And absolutely essential to this approach is ensuring the reliability and quality of delivery, and this is best exemplified in our service wrap. It’s one thing to acquire the means, but to successfully distribute to the ends requires professional expertise and care.
Niche sports, of course, cannot match the spend of Tier 1 properties so a key part of our role is working at a consultancy level to understand, holistically, what can be achieved at a price point and quality that suits every party. It’s beneficial for all involved that we’re cognisant of the full story, in order to define the best content access and delivery solution possible, without compromising on the service level. We have, and always will, deliver the highest quality available service at price levels that work.
A recent example is the work we’re doing with Simplestream, OTT and live-to-VOD service providers. Our collaboration kicked-off with the launch of the GAAGO – the Gaelic Athletic Association and Irish broadcaster RTÉ sports subscription channel – suite of OTT services earlier in 2022. We play a key role in supplying the fully managed services for production, ingest, and encoding workflows, as well as eyes-on support, which encompasses a 24/7 service desk with instant Slack and telephone support during live events. Furthermore, the partnership extends to live channel acquisition from satellite, leveraging a global network of facilities and meeting budget-related demands among customers thanks to different levels of failover.
Tried and trusted
Globecast are tried and trusted technical innovators who can get your content to any destination safely, securely and in the best quality possible. If a client wishes to grow their sport and maximise their return, it’s mission critical not to leave that to chance. Not only can that approach risk significant short-term damage, it can very realistically have negative effects well into the future: if people tune out, they can tune out forever.
How does the cloud fit in?
Most, if not all, of our existing and potential clients have knowledge of the cloud, though not necessarily how it can bring benefits to them in an optimal way. With the release of our newly announced CloudMediaHub strategy at IBC 2023, we’ve combined our decades of understanding of live and on-demand content contribution, acquisition, distribution and delivery, with our extensive range of cloud processing capabilities. The cloud is undoubtedly increasingly central to what we do, but its integration does not require tearing everything down and suddenly moving wholesale. We are completely agnostic as to how we acquire content, being fluent in receiving content across fibre, satellite, IP and the cloud. Hence, we work very closely with our clients to help identify and determine how this transition occurs and seamlessly build it into a hybrid workflow. At that precise point is where our consultancy services come to the fore.
Fibre network expansion
2023 has also seen the expansion of our European fibre backbone – part of our global fibre network, GCBN – to 100Gb, to satisfy ever-growing bandwidth requirements. Working with Net Insight, we are deploying their technology at POPs and client sites to ensure maximum quality via very low latency, coupled with the tight synchronisation of feeds, vital in edge processing for remote production.
In facilitating remote production infrastructure, in addition to our own global networks, we’ve partnered with leading production facilities and networks across the world. We mesh SDN technologies to minimise latency and maximise quality, and provide fully managed services onsite for delivery and integration of hardware, project management and operations throughout the duration of any event.
Our role is to ensure that whichever way a client prefers to work, we are perfectly positioned to provide the backend infrastructure necessary to fully support their road map, with the quality and resilience levels
Quality is paramount
It is evident, then, the methodology and technology of content delivery is fast-moving: a state of flux, as mentioned earlier. However, the one fixed point throughout, is that fact quality is paramount. Globecast has a very effective and established set of core strengths and, as I’ve highlighted here, this enables the level of confidence we provide across critical live delivery of content, to remain high. To trust that content will land where it needs to be, at the right time, at the desired quality, in a seamless and integrated way.
With the barriers to entry for Sports Media being lower than ever, the service expertise we provide has been hard won over decades. So, what is it you want to do with your sports rights and content?
Get in touch and/or come and see us at Sportel, Oct 23rd-25th in the Ravel Hall, Stand G06-07.