Broadcast sports fans are used to seeing versions of games that are somewhat customized: Games in their market have local commentators, as well as relevant pregame and postgame content. But what if you could do even more to version your events? What if you could send the same game around the world with relevant advertising and commentators in the local language? With live versioning, you can.
What is live versioning?
In the context of sports and other events, live versioning means splitting the event feed into multiple versions for different audiences. Each version is broadcast simultaneously to various markets, typically different geographic locations: Events can be versioned for specific regions, countries, or local markets.
The best versioning allows you to create localized feeds by inserting ad triggers and regional content like commentary into breaks, plus preparing content with watermarking and slating. It’s a high-tech strategy that leagues, teams, and rights holders are using to personalize and monetize their content.
Challenges of versioning for live sports
Live versioning is taking off as businesses realize the potential for profits, but doing it at scale isn’t without challenges.
Bandwidth can be a challenge for all live sports streaming services. During an event, thousands and even hundreds of thousands of fans sign on or sign up at the same time, expecting instant, high-quality, and consistent content. Even major streaming services have had issues with buffering and low video quality.
Low latency is key — no one wants to hear about a goal on social media before they see it on their screen. But that must be balanced with high resolution. And when you have many versions, those concerns are multiplied.
It isn’t just game feeds that need live versioning. Pregame events and postgame commentary are increasingly important for local markets, but stitching it all together can be a challenge. The ability to create this programming can help teams and leagues reach new audiences and monetize their content.
The shift to streaming has left some businesses that are heavily invested in broadcasting tools out in the cold. Versioning for live sports requires the ability to ingest live content at scale, decorate it, and send it back out again — instantly. And that requires a whole new investment in infrastructure including hardware, software, and staff. Larger businesses can even be tempted to buy an entire company in order to acquire its streaming and versioning capabilities.
Automating live sports versioning
Fortunately, many of the challenges of live versioning at scale can be solved with technology, like LTN Arc, which uses automation to drive efficiency and monetization. LTN Arc handles large-scale ingest of data and video, often from multiple sources such as a league and its partners. It then uses automation to determine where to insert triggers, merge pregame and postgame content, and send back multiple versions for distribution.
It isn’t all about automation, however. LTN Arc is a fully managed live versioning service, meaning you’ll get an events manager and technical manager for the game, plus a dedicated service team that works from our centralized technical operations center. The human element ensures that events are well-managed and that the feeds are top-quality, then the technology does the rest.
Benefits of LTN Arc as a sports broadcast solution
Video broadcasting tools like live versioning present plenty of opportunity to reach new markets with feeds tailored to certain regions or to niche sports with smaller audiences — but only if you can do it without putting more pressure on your infrastructure and team. LTN Arc can help.
Versioning for live sports is all about customization: If you can’t create ultra-personalized feeds, your audience might not bother tuning in. You need global reach and capabilities that allow you to deliver hundreds — or even thousands — of streams to any country and any device. LTN Arc enables feed decorating with custom graphics, highlights, remote announcers and voiceovers, plus seamless video insertion, slating, and watermarking.
Reduce infrastructure costs
Relying on third-party software and services leaves you dependent on expensive CapEx and could reduce your control over the process. But building your own infrastructure is also expensive and decreases your agility. A managed service provider like LTN Arc lets you shift to an OpEx approach.
You can rely on our state-of-the-art infrastructure and always-on dedicated support to handle your most complex live event versioning. We’ve delivered more than 1 million live feeds through our proprietary multicast-enabled global IP network, which has < 200ms latency and 99.999% reliability.
Increase overall efficiency
Live versioning is a relatively new strategy for many teams, leagues, and rights holders. It involves complicated workflows that can easily go wrong, creating inefficiencies and speed bumps that end up costing you money instead of making it. Plus, you could end up delivering low-quality feeds that probably won’t keep viewers coming back. Streamlining your processes with a sports broadcast solution like LTN Arc lets you take advantage of the latest developments in live sports broadcasting while also increasing your operational efficiency.
Solutions like LTN Arc are on the cutting edge of live sports broadcasting. The customization that’s possible with live versioning lets you expand your reach across demographics and around the world, monetizing your content in new ways. Contact us for a demo today to see what we can do for you.