Sports Entertainment Summit II: Broadcast and Broadband Offer Creative Opportunities for Consumer Engagement

By Mel Lambert

By 2015, the growing importance of IPTV, coupled with the inclusion of computer-based processing within TV receivers, will enable consumers to influence their own individual viewing patterns, rather than rely on set-top boxes. “With full access to metadata,” states David Catzel, senior platform strategy advisor at Microsoft, and a developer with the Platform Evangelism Group, “sports fans will focus on [programming] that interests them.” Catzel was speaking at last week’s SVG Sports Entertainment Summit, which drew more than 300 industry executives to the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles to discuss the future from a technical and business perspective, in a well-attended session moderated by SVG executive director Ken Kerschbaumer.

“The viewer needs to be engaged,” Catzel continued. “Lean back should be the exception, rather than the rule. Users want access whenever and wherever they need it.” Citing NFL coverage as an example, “Stats and graphs overlays could be combined with other metadata not supplied by the league.” Such data, Catzel hinted, “could be used to make wagers on the game outcome.”

“Apple TV will redefine how we control ‘personal TV’ for everyone in the family,” considered Pete Scott, VP of emerging media with Turner Sports. “It will let users take full control of the content – what teams they like across the sports they follow, and will tie in to become a social medium.” In terms of developing road maps to on-line content, Scott recalled that NBA coverage is available across 11 platforms. “You need to be technological gurus” to navigate successfully, he stated. “TV manufacturers can guide the way to define a fully commented platform,” Scott added,” referring to planned offerings from Yahoo and Samsung. “Content needs to work on multiple platforms,” he underscored.

“Digital rights need to be hashed out with leagues and broadcasters,” suggested Mike Davies, VP of technical operations with Fox Sports, “to endure a non-confusing experience across multiple platforms.” “And digital [delivery] needs to catch up with broadcast needs,” offered Chris Wagner, EVP of marketplace strategy with NeuLion, an IPTV supplier. “Pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll [ad insertions] need to provide a consistent experience.”

Social networks will further enhance the sports broadcast and broadband experience, the panel advised. “Facebook is a habit and a routine,” Scott said.

“With 750 million users, it’s a powerful community that will be around for a long while. Sports fans are very tribal; we have multiple opportunities to hit the consumer” via social networks. Convention broadcasting “can tie in with Facebook and Twitter for game highlights,” Wagner offered, further emphasizing the second-screen experience of simultaneously using mobile devices – tablets and smart phones – while viewing large-screen displays.

Click here for SVG’s comprehensive coverage of the Sports Entertainment Summit II.

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