To maximise the experience of live sports on television, there needs to be a sense of being part of what is unfolding before you. A feeling that somehow you’re cheering along with the crowds on the racetrack grandstand or sitting pitch side in a soccer stadium taking in every play. With the anticipation, adrenaline and rush of the live action, you don’t want to miss a beat when watching a live sports events. I know I don’t.
The Rio Olympics will be a good test of how far television and broadcasting of live sports events has come. It will certainly fuel the imagination of the audience and they’ll want to be taken on a collective journey. However, this collective journey can only truly happen if we’re all watching the same content at the same time, and able to share our experiences in real time.
As viewers we’re increasingly watching live sport on different devices with content being delivered OTT to our various screens at different moments during live sports broadcasts. Messi scores a goal or Hamilton crosses the finish line, but it hasn’t happened on your screen yet. This lack of synchronisation and delay between screens has been a major problem that OTT platforms have not been built to handle.
There’s nothing worse than watching a live event, such as a soccer match on a mobile device, and receiving a message from a friend informing you of a goal seconds or even minutes before it happens on your screen! This breaks many of the promises made around the second screen, including social TV, leaving us with a situation where viewers turn off social media and apps to avoid “spoiling” live TV experiences. If we move the scenario out of the living room the problem is amplified. There’s no longer control over the connections and devices others have in close proximity, so it becomes impossible to prevent spoilers from happening – other than through sheer luck! “Goal!!!” “What goal???” We call this the “bar problem.” The shared experience is completely lost.
Through Net Insight’s Sye solution we’ve solved the delay and synchronisation issues, which makes true live OTT possible. We harmonise live television. For sports, one of the most lucrative television and advertising vehicles, this is a tremendous opportunity both in terms of enhancing audience engagement and monetising content in new, exciting and innovative ways.
Imagine watching motor racing on a tablet and choosing your favourite driver. You can then follow the driver’s helmet cam, chatting with your friends, in real time, about the race through Social TV apps, receive personalised and targeted advertising offers from car sponsors, while also having a view of the live action on your linear TV in complete synchronicity. Now that would be something.
In the age of OTT and multiscreen television, it’s time to revive and revitalise live television sporting experiences. This can only be achieved, however, if all TV, OTT and linear, is harmonised and synchronised across all screens. This will be game changing and disrupt the notion of watching live sports events forever.
What possibilities – and challenges – do you foresee with the future of ‘True Live’ sport? Let us know in the comments below.