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Bulletin length: 2,552 words – it’s a 10-minute read
Broadcast Disruptor of the Week: ChatGPT
25 Questions you might be able to help us answer
Nielsen’s Milestone Week
Remote Production: an in-person viewpoint
Apple, the NFL and it’s next gen device
YouGov’s growth drivers by media type
Inside this weekend’s Le Mans Virtual production
LEADERS BROADCAST DISRUPTOR OF THE WEEK
Who? ChatGPT What? The OpenAI chatbot introducing the masses to the potential of generative AI Why? Artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to have a significant impact on sports content creation in a number of ways. One potential use of AI in sports content creation is the automation of certain tasks, such as transcribing post-game interviews or summarizing sports events. This could potentially save time and resources for content creators. Another way that AI could impact sports content creation is through the use of machine learning algorithms to analyze large amounts of data and generate insights or predictions. For example, AI could be used to analyze game footage and identify patterns or trends that might not be immediately apparent to humans. This could potentially lead to the creation of new types of content, such as analytics-based shows or interactive experiences that allow viewers to explore the data behind a particular game or event. Additionally, AI could be used to create personalized content recommendations for sports fans, based on their viewing history and preferences. This could help sports broadcasters to better target their content to specific audiences and keep viewers engaged. Overall, it is likely that AI will play a significant role in sports content creation in the future, and it will be interesting to see how it is used to enhance and transform the way that sports content is produced and consumed. [Editor’s note: As you may have sussed, this was written by ChatGPT, which was asked how sports content creation will be impacted by AI. We have been warned.] [Another editor’s note: if a piece was submitted by a human writer with a payoff line beginning, ‘it will be interesting to see….’, it would be sent back immediately].
THE BIG PICTURE
Welcome to the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin, for the time being at least still being produced by human hands. Hope your year’s started with a bang.
A reminder, if you have new colleagues or just a new outlook for 2023, to share the word: we’re direct-to-inbox every second Thursday, with a full briefing and perspective on all elements of sports broadcasting and content creation – creative spark, production, distribution, monetisation, measurement, piracy and plenty more besides.
We’d be particularly keen to hear from you if you’re in or around a particularly interesting broadcast market (and would like to tell us why it’s so interesting), as we build our list of global correspondents. And look out for a special Broadcast Disruptors global call we’re planning on 27th January, a chance to connect with peers and friends from across the industry. We’ve asked Peter Hutton to join us to share a few thoughts on what’s going to be important this year. It’s invite-only but do drop us a line if you’d like to be considered for selection.
In the meantime, here’s a list of questions we’re asking as the year gets underway (intended initially as 23 for ‘23, but expanded to 25, which we’ll explain away as us being future-focused):
Is the sports industry’s most important event this year a Chris Rock comedy set, Netflix’s first live broadcast?
How will the NBA carve up its next round of media rights?
What will the new BT/Eurosport merged offering be called?
And who’ll run it?
Will the ‘Break Point’ Netflix series have anything like the impact on tennis interest and viewership that ‘Drive to Survive’ appears to have had on F1?
How long do new seasons of ‘Drive to Survive’ remain useful to F1?
Who’ll broadcast the Women’s World Cup in key European markets – and will they be willing to pay what FIFA wants?
Which sport will be the next to receive the alternative broadcast treatment?
In a betting era, should we be talking about latency again?
Will the MF & DAZN: X Series spawn a new wave of sports-entertainment broadcast crossovers?
Does LIV Golf really need traditional broadcast partners?
In the age of visualization, will a radio/audio service make a play for live sports video rights?
Will a streamer pay a rights fee to broadcast live sport via their own platforms, or will rights holders continue handing them rights to reach new audiences?
Will Cristiano Ronaldo acquire (or be handed) the rights to broadcast Saudi Professional League games live via his own channels?
Will Twitter still exist and if it doesn’t how does that affect highlights/clip rights?
Will TikTok be banned and if it is how will that impact sport?
How prominent will Apple make Major League Soccer on your iphone?
Are we really not bored of drone fly-throughs yet?
Have we all just decided to stop talking about piracy in the hope it goes away?
Will Amazon launch a standalone sports app?
Is this the year people start to take note of Viaplay’s steady, consistent global expansion?
Will Saudi Arabia take the plunge and invest in BeIN Sport?
The FAST (free ad-supported TV) model: everyone’s talking about it, but is anyone actually watching?
With the IPL now the most valuable media product in global sport (move aside, NFL), are we on the verge of a major cricket broadcast breakthrough in the USA?
What exactly is Bill Simmons cooking up for sport on Spotify?
EYES ON THIS – Watch how these things develop to understand the future
Get it in One: It’s a milestone week for Nielsen, as the data giant launches Nielsen ONE ads, its new cross-platform measurement product in the United States. The new product will measure across linear TV, connected TV, mobile devices and desktop computers, with the aim of providing a new layered and comprehensive set of measurements for media and advertisers. It comes as Netflix and Disney+ begin to plug advertising into their services. ONE ads will also measure content and advertising on a second-by-second basis, an upgrade on Nielsen’s traditional minute-by-minute measurement. ‘Ultimately’, a Nielsen statement read, ‘Nielsen ONE will allow advertisers and publishers to plan and transact using a single metric across linear and digital that is reliable, independent and standardised across the industry’. Whilst the product has been developed with a remit far beyond sport, it is expected to become a key ingredient of Nielsen’s sports offering. In August, Amazon signed a three-year agreement with Nielsen to measure ratings for Prime Video’s coverage of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, in order to provide advertisers with familiar and comparable data. That was the first time a streaming service had live programming measured by Nielsen; the company will be hoping the rollout of Nielsen ONE ads will help entice the other major streaming services, particularly as they develop live offerings in and around sport.
Remote report: Just before Christmas, a healthy smattering of the great and the good from the sports broadcast and content sector joined us at Stamford Bridge in London for our latest Broadcast Disruptors Think Tank. These sessions are private, invite-only and designed to be honest spaces for sharing solutions, challenges and ideas. Our focus this time was remote production and how to make it work for broadcasters, rights holders and agencies. Although who said what must remain strictly off-limits, we can share a flavour of what the experts discussed:
Perhaps most importantly, there was a consensus that this was much more a topic of conversation for those in the room than for the general audience: if remote production is done well, viewers shouldn’t notice a thing.
Remote production can make a difference in budget and sustainability, but chiefly in quantity and quality of output, as it allows for reallocation of funds.
Linked to sustainability was the growing idea of collaboration, between broadcasters – ITV and BBC sharing production expertise and facilities in Qatar for the World Cup was cited as a prime example.
Although commonly assumed to save money, that’s not always the case; the technical infrastructure costs money. It can tend to be a judgment call if the cost difference is similar.
The introduction of cloud-based systems and software has already had a huge impact on how effective remote broadcasts can be, versus the traditional methods of relaying video.
Apple doesn’t bite: The big news over the holidays from the US was the NFL’s decision to go with YouTube as its partner for its Sunday Ticket package of games. Google has committed US$2 billion for the seven years of the deal, which grants it the rights to broadcast out-of-market games on Sunday afternoons via its YouTube TV service. Somehow, Google and YouTube has been the quiet mover when it comes to sports content, diligently going about its business building up relationships as well as making commitments such as its support of women’s sport. It’s doing a lot and yet at the same time never quite felt as front and centre as the likes of Apple and Amazon when sport is mentioned. Its cover has now well and truly been blown. Both Apple and Amazon were reportedly in for the Sunday Ticket rights, which have been DirecTV’s since 1994, and as Richard Johnson spotted, a recent The Athletic piece included a fascinating nugget on why Apple’s bid ended. It seems the company was after so-called ‘unknown rights’ for the Sunday Ticket package – likely to be immersive live NFL experiences viewable through Apple’s rapidly-developing and soon-to-launch mixed reality device. Probably wisely, given the potential value of mixed reality rights in future, the NFL rejected the idea, but it’s an intriguing glimpse into where Apple might see its sports activity developing.
YouGov analysed 18 markets around the world, with a particular focus on the United States and UK, for its latest Global Media Whitepaper. The graphic below shows, by media type, the proportion of people who say they will likely consume more over the next 12 months. The rise in newer audio formats is reflected here, with nearly half of 18-24 year olds saying they will stream more music in 2023, and 42% intending to listen to more podcasts. YouGov’s analysis of this data set indicates that older consumers have established media consumption patterns which are unlikely to change; that younger consumers are less likely to have set-in-stone consumption habits, but if they can remain engaged their propensity to do more is significant; and 18-24 year olds have a high appetite for increasing their consumption of media types they have already used, although the report notes that this may be at least in part a result of the likely high use of so-called ‘freemium’-based products.
Sources:YouGov Global Media Whitepaper
In the Mixed Zone with…Gerard Neveu, Executive Producer, Motorsport Games/Le Mans Virtual
The third Le Mans Virtual event, a 24 hour esports race featuring 180 drivers, including Formula One world champion Max Verstappen, competing on around 140 simulators around the world, takes place this weekend. The event is organised by Motorsport Games, an arm of the Motorsport Network media company.
What are the most significant broadcast/production challenges around Le Mans Virtual?
This is our third edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, the finale to the Le Mans Virtual Series, and we have the same production team from Motorsport Games working on the game itself and how it is streamed. As such, putting on this large esports event is becoming somewhat tried and tested, and we have each year learned from the experience and put into place back up methods to cover as many eventualities as possible.
Where there is a difference is that the broadcast of the live TV show will this year be taking place in a studio at the Silverstone Circuit in the UK instead of at Studio Gabriel in Paris. The biggest challenge will be coordinating and meeting the demands of the 35+ broadcasters taking either live or highlights of the event. Internet drop outs or unexpected server failures do happen to all of us at times, but we have put as much as possible in place to prevent or cover this.
We will have a team of reporters across the world to be in the centre of the action at manufacturers such as Peugeot in Paris, at the Mercedes F1 headquarters in Brackley, UK and at Porsche’s Esports base in Germany. They will bring more content to the broadcast and coordinating the timing and inclusion into the programme is another challenge for the production team. There will be 180 drivers competing on approximately 140 different simulators across the world – a truly global event.
What’s the central set up like, in terms of personnel and technical approach?
We will have two command centres for the broadcast: an OB unit from Hay-Fisher Productions – experienced motorsport broadcasters – and an equally experienced TV director to co-ordinate the live show from a broadcast perspective. A separate production unit at Silverstone will cover the in-game footage: camera angles, replays, interviews, highlights and so on, with dedicated personnel providing RTMP or SRT access to broadcasters where required. In all we will have a team of approximately 50 people on the broadcast, with an additional 40 covering the actual running of the race – race control, broadcast talent and reporters, media and comms and so on.
What has the approach been this year in terms of media distribution/working with broadcasters and other media platforms?
Using the distribution services of LCTV, a well-known rights and distribution agency specialising in motorsport events, the broadcast show will be taken by over 35 different digital channels/platforms worldwide. The programme is rights free, and the take up has been very encouraging particularly from new territories such as Fiji, Singapore and Eastern Europe and from big names such as CNBC.
What were the big learnings from the 2022 edition?
Experience is everything! During the first 24H Virtual event in 2020, in the middle of worldwide lockdowns, we had two server issues which temporarily halted the event – a red flag if you like. This is not uncommon but we learned from it and had back-ups in place for 2022 plus specialist personnel on site in case of any issues. As in real world racing, there are going to be the occasional hiccup but we have the personnel and systems in place to cover these.
Beyond core viewership, what does success look like from a broadcast/production standpoint? What are the kind of things you’ll be measuring?
With competitors including the F1, F2 and F3 champions, there is going to be considerable interest. Max Verstappen has participated in two of the rounds so far and we have seen the spike in viewers when he takes to the track. The 2021-22 season, including the 24 Hours Virtual in January 2022 reached a cumulated live TV, OTT platform and digital audience of more than 81 million, according to YouGov Sport, throughout its 5-month season. To equal or exceed that is definitely our goal but we also don’t underestimate the number of other sporting/motorsport events taking place the same weekend. We will be monitoring linear reach, OTT audiences and digital/social media audiences. We’re working with YouGov Sport again.
Thanks for reading this edition of the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin. We’ll have another for you a fortnight today; and if you haven’t subscribed yet, do remember to opt-in here.