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The rise and rise of live broadcasting

April 10, 2015

Brian Morris   

Blog contributor

Brian Morris, Vice President & GM Global Media & Entertainment Services, on why football and a pint at the pub is as a-live as ever

Can you remember where you were when you watched Mo Farah cross the finish line in the London 2012 Olympics, or when Segio Ramos scored the winning goal of the 2014 Champions League for Real Madrid in the 93rd minute of the game?

Even if you don’t remember exactly where you were, you can most likely remember who you were with and how you felt in that moment of utter excitement, adrenaline and relief. Watching sports matches, concerts and political debates live are still a celebrated social occasion, shared with friends and family gathered around the TV in the living room or at the local bar.

Since the first football match was televised live by the BBC in October 1946, live broadcasting has come on leaps and bounds. Today, we live in a multi-screen world, with a wide range of live events to choose from. Consumers may be flocking to modern devices, such as tablets and mobiles, to watch catch-up TV, but this does not mean that the value of live broadcast has diminished. In fact, I was just reading that the UK’s Channel 4 has launched its own “watch live” service, in response to continued demand from its audience for live content.

The numbers say it all when it comes to major live broadcasts. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding back in 2011 drew in 161 million viewers, for example. More recently, one billion tuned into the February 2015 Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan.

Brands around the world recognise the continued and increasing value of live broadcast and the wide audiences it attracts. Advertising spend highlights this value, with the cost of twenty adverts during the Super Bowl coming in at a whopping $75 million.

As a result of the huge consumer demand for live feeds, broadcasters can’t risk any downtime. This is particularly true for high profile and adrenaline-fuelled events, where everybody is waiting to catch the crucial moment, from Lewis Hamilton’s car crossing the finishing line during an F1 race to Usain Bolt completing the 100m in less than ten seconds.

The competition is hotting up amongst broadcasters and the race is on to deliver consumers what they want in high definition and real time. Today, companies that deliver content are also producing it. Likewise, production companies are getting into delivery.

In this hyper competitive market, Tata Communications’ high speed digital network and ecosystem of media services ensures that broadcasters can deliver uninterrupted and high quality content across the globe.

Whether it’s delivering live coverage of a rugby match to reach 20 million viewers in 100 countries, or achieving the first ever live 4K feed of a Formula 1 event over fibre, Tata Communications helps content providers navigate this increasingly complex world. Underpinned by its fibre backbone and powered by innovative cloud services, there is an opportunity for broadcasters to deliver innovative and multi-format feeds to content-hungry audiences in this fast evolving landscape.

With live broadcasts more anticipated and better attended than ever before, broadcasters cannot underestimate the importance of delivering a high-quality live stream to their viewers through a reliable infrastructure. Although consumer patterns are shifting and the nature of TV is continually evolving in our multi-screen world, delivering the vital moment to audiences across the globe is as important as the first live football match was back in 1946.

Do you agree that live broadcasting is more valuable than ever for brands? Leave a comment below.


Tata Communications was the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1® between 2012 and 2019. Tata Communications was also the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and Official Digital Transformation Partner to ROKiT Williams Racing until the end of the 2019 season.