Connected Sports Conference Q&A: Scott Bowditch, Marketing Product Manager, Ross Video

At last week’s SVG Connected Sports Conference, some of the sharpest minds in the world of sports production and social connectivity gathered to discuss some of the unique challenges, solutions, and best practices in engaging fans in a crowded entertainment landscape.

Known for its top-of-the-line production switchers, control systems, graphics systems, servers, and terminal equipment, Ross Video has also wrapped its arm around the connected-sports world, making social-media management and video streaming/sharing a more seamless part of the production workflow.

At the event, SVG caught up with Scott Bowditch, marketing product manager for Ross’s Overdrive and Inception products, to discuss some of the company’s newest social offerings and what can be done to better utilize these tools to help teams, leagues, and broadcasters better connect with their fans.

Scott Bowditch

Scott Bowditch

In what ways has Ross Video altered its overall product strategy to accommodate the growing “connected” world?
Ross jumped into the “connected” space at NAB2012 with the release of Inception Social Media Management. The product allowed the user to publish to social-media outlets in real time or on a schedule and added editorial control through an approval process based on user permissions. Since then, we have added tremendous functionality to that product as well as plug-ins for our XPression Graphics platform that make it possible to use third-party social-media tools in facilities where XPression already exists.

With all of our products, we let our customers drive the product road map. In the case of Inception Social, that has meant the addition of a comprehensive social-polling feature and Inception Playlist. Inception Polls allows for both trending and directed polling information to be used as research material and for the creation of real-time graphical information for broadcast through any graphics package. Playlist allows the user to aggregate and moderate incoming social-media content again for use in the linear stream.

Which of your clients have effectively used Ross’s social-based tools.
Inception Social is in play with, among others, the Ottawa Senators, Denver Broncos, the University of North Carolina, and Auburn University. The Orlando Magic is in the process of adding a system.

In what ways can your clients see tangible evidence of the impact of social media on their first-screen productions?
The biggest customer success stories with Inception Social have come in the area of in-game entertainment. We have a number of clients in this space, but our best metrics come from the Senators. Immediately following the end of last-season’s NHL lockout, the Senators invited their fans to come to the arena to watch away games on their center-hung scoreboard. During the game, they provided a hashtag that the audience could use to get their tweets on the big screen. The initiative made their tag a top-three trending topic in the city of Ottawa and led to the implementation of additional hashtags through the rest of their season.

What do you foresee as the next big step Ross will make in this space?
Ross has just made its next big step in the connected space with the launch of Inception News. We have created the world’s first integrated linear-, Web-, and social-content creation and authoring tool and introduced it at the IBC show in Amsterdam in September. This new product allows the user to simultaneously create content for multiple distribution points so that one’s message is consistent and released in a timely fashion across multiple platforms. It puts scripting in the same tool as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Brightcove, and CMS publishing. As we develop the product, you will see the addition of social outlets such as Flickr and Weibo to better manage still images and connectivity in different markets.

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