WebStream Productions Takes Charge of Horizon League Network
By Carolyn Braff
WebStream Productions has worked in conjunction with the Horizon League Network (HLN) since the network’s inception, but beginning this week, the two entities effectively became one, with WebStream Productions assuming day-to-day operations of HLN effective April 1. The expanded partnership brings new resources to HLN, thereby increasing programming quality and quantity, and takes some of the pressure off of Nate Flannery, currently the Horizon League’s director of new media and technology.
“As the Horizon League Network continued to grow, it became larger than something they could easily manage completely in-house, in isolation, by one person,” explains John Servizzi, president of WebStream productions. “We became more important to what they were doing increasingly with each year and we got to this point where it seemed that it was mutually beneficial to consolidate its operation.”
WebStream Productions’ full-time staff of eight means that Flannery will no longer be solely responsible for working with all 10 Horizon League member schools, troubleshooting webcasts for those schools, and attempting to single-handedly keep track of hundreds of live streams each year. The schools will still use their existing equipment.
“Now Nate’s going to move into a team within our company dedicated to the HLN product, so there’s going to be greater administrative support, but also support for the end users and the schools that are producing the content,” Servizzi explains.
Flannery will move to the WebStream Productions office in Indianapolis, where he will serve as vice president for content strategy. As soon as this upcoming fall season, Flannery says, HLN fans will notice a change in their service — for the better.
“Fans will notice a lot more content and a higher-quality video production from us,” Flannery explains. “With the resources that WebStream has and the expertise they have in the field, those resources are going to display themselves to the fan through experience and expertise.”
Flannery expects to send a member of his newly expanded staff to each of the 10 campuses to work with the on-campus streaming staff on production standards that will ensure a consistent quality level across the league.
“That’s been the most difficult thing for us through this whole venture, because every campus produces a different level of video,” Flannery explains. “We want to bring everybody up to the same high-quality production level and the staff at WebStream is going to be able to get out on the ground and show the producers at each school how to get theirs up to the top quality that we want.”
In addition to producing the Horizon League’s championship events, for the past three years WebStream has had a contract with the NCAA to stream most non-broadcast championships, including Olympic sports like water polo, fencing, and golf. The company also streams individual games from various Division II and Division III sports, as well as special events such as the National Basketball Coaches’ Association trophy presentation following the March Madness championship game. WebStream delivers those streams to CBS College Sports network, which streams the content through the NCAA.com portal.