SVG Sit-Down: Burst’s Levy Talks EVS C-Cast Integration, User-Generated–Content Explosion

It has been a big year for mobile-video startup Burst. The company’s platform — which aims to allow content creators to better collect, manage, integrate, and distribute user-generated content — was among the winners of EVS’s first-ever C-Cast APPlied Challenge this month. In addition, Burst has added a number of major media outlets, including Fox Sports Regional Networks and NESN, to its client base.


Paul Levy, co-COO and
co-founder, Burst


It’s all part of Burst’s grand plan to create a two-way path between media companies/broadcasters and their fans. The platform provides a workflow enabling audiences to quickly capture and upload their videos directly to a content creator without having to download a mobile app. Thanks to Burst’s  integration with EVS (announced last year), this joint solution allows broadcasters to easily integrate mobile video into their existing live/studio-production workflows.

SVG sat down with Paul Levy, co-COO/co-founder of Burst, to discuss how the company is integrating with EVS’s C-Cast platform, recent deployments, and how the explosion of user-generated content (UGC) is affecting the live–sports-production sector.

How does Burst’s integration with EVS’s C-Cast work, and what does it mean for the company moving forward?
We are taking EVS C-Cast content feeds into our bubble, where all these video clips can live, and then we can integrate that into social. They want to be able to get the clips from the broadcast quickly out to social media, and they’re using the Burst bubble as a way to do that.

It’s not really our traditional use case for Burst. Burst is traditionally about getting UGC content into the broadcast. This is actually going in the reverse and getting that broadcast content out to the social space very quickly. It’s a great use case, too, but very different from what we have primarily done in the past.

How has the exponential increase in user-generated video content over the past couple of years changed the industry, and how is Burst looking to leverage that?
Everyone has been hearing a lot from the marketplace about UGC. How do you easily crowd-source UGC and then manage it, and then publish it out to broadcast or [another platform]? So the drumbeat for UGC is out there now.

There are more videos viewed on Facebook than on YouTube right now. Burst is a great way to increase distribution and get existing content out to social [platforms] and then leverage our bubble technology for curation. All the content clips can be curated and managed that way. When we first started working with [sports broadcasters], they were afraid of UGC in terms of curation: they were worried about something they didn’t want getting through the cracks and not being able to control it. But now, all of a sudden, they are embracing it.

What is a recent interesting Burst use case from the past few months in the sports world?
Fox Sports North did their first UGC campaign with a Hockey Day in Minnesota. It’s like a holiday there. For the Hockey Day in Minnesota, they started with pee-wee hockey in the morning, then high school in the afternoon – all broadcast on Fox Sports North. They crowd-sourced videos from fans by saying, “Show us how you’re experiencing Hockey Day in Minnesota” and then integrated those clips into the broadcast feed from the studio; it was pretty cool. It allowed them to show a different perspective on the event that they were not going to get from the traditional linear-feed broadcast.

Do you see Burst as a tool that could be used for the in-venue fan experience?
Yes. We see the stadium business as a huge opportunity for Burst. Fans at the stadium and tailgating are all taking video, and they all want the chance to get up on the [videoboards].

At [University of Phoenix Stadium] in Arizona, we helped [the Cardinals] with a demo. They had a couple interns go out shooting video on their phones of fans at the tailgate and using Burst to send it back. That Burst video went up on the videoboard at halftime of the game that week. It wasn’t like traditional UGC; it was more like [in-house–produced content]. Eventually, it could be full UGC, but this was a start. We wanted to just show them how quickly the videos get from the tailgate up on the [videoboard].

Will you have a presence with EVS at NAB 2015 next month?
We are working with EVS on its EPSIO Reveal. They want to be able to put graphics right over the Burst videos. Because, when you send a Burst video into the truck, we actually send all the metadata with it: who captured it, at what location, a person’s Instagram, and so on. You put that into a graphical interface that looks cool, and there’s an easy graphical template. You can put in whatever data you want to showcase on top of the video to make it more visually appealing. People in the truck don’t want to have to go out of their way to get this done; that’s why we make it easy.

Who are some of your other media clients beyond sports that are using Burst?
The Weather Channel is a great example. For all the storms in the East Coast we’ve been having, they would crowd-source consumer videos and put them into the broadcast using Burst. They will say [to viewers] on the live broadcast, text the name of the storm — [Winter Storm] Cato, for example — to a certain number; it sends back a link on your phone, and then you can send in a video right there. They don’t want to have people type in slash whatever. So you just text to get a little short link back on your phone, and then you shoot these videos, and it goes right into their system.

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