Live sports distribution doesn’t just happen. It takes preparation, experience, equipment, and advanced technology. And with increasing competition, many leagues, teams, and rights holders are turning to outsourced live TV production to help cut costs and monetize more content.
The rise of outsourced live TV production
In today’s crowded market, you’re no longer just competing with others in the sports industry. With the rise of OTT media like streaming, fans have anything they want to watch, hear, or play at their fingertips. To maximize revenue, you need to broadcast more games than ever before, but you may not have the framework in place to do so.
Outsourced live TV production simply means hiring another company to take care of your live video, instead of building an in-house team and infrastructure. Broadcasters have been outsourcing parts of their business for decades — for example, as the industry transitioned to IP-based transport, many found the cost of upgrading their own technology prohibitive. Instead, they outsourced media delivery to existing IP networks.
Now, fragmented audiences and rapidly changing rights landscapes are driving the future of live sports distribution and giving rise to a new trend — outsourcing the entire process to sports production companies. This includes not only on-site logistics, crewing, and project management, but also transport, ad insertion, versioning, and distribution.
Pros and cons of outsourced live TV production
Live sports streaming production is dynamic and fast-paced. It involves complex workflows with multiple inputs that need to be perfectly in sync, then creates many outputs for a variety of audiences and screens — and it all needs to be put together in seconds. It’s a unique specialty, and outsourced live TV production therefore has unique pros and cons.
Pro: Lower costs
The main reason that many teams, leagues, and rights holders outsource is to improve operational efficiency and to lower their costs. Even if you have an in-house team, you may find that you simply can’t keep up with increased customer expectations and shifting media landscape. You may need to quickly acquire streaming and versioning capabilities, but you’re likely also feeling the pressure on your bottom line.
You need asset-light, cost-effective ways to distribute content across platforms and audiences, so that you can focus on growth and monetization. By providing a robust, ready-made infrastructure, technical expertise, and backend solutions, outsourced live TV production lets you spin up more channels for a lower cost and free up cash flow for other priorities.
The rise of IP transport and OTT media spelled the beginning of the end for expensive in-house CapEx investments. Rather than spend millions — or billions — on infrastructure that could quickly become outdated as technology advances at such a rapid pace, today’s companies prefer to stay agile. The ability to quickly adjust certain parts of a business depending on the latest trends will become a defining feature of success in live sports distribution.
By turning to live streaming production companies, leagues, teams, and rights holders can test and offer the latest technology and easily scale crews, personnel, and equipment up and down depending on needs. Flexibility is the business model of the future, and outsourced live TV production is perfectly positioned to help you make it a reality.
The flip side of the flexibility coin, especially when it comes to enterprise-level sports broadcaster solutions, is that outsourced providers may not be as scalable as they need to be. Ingesting data from hundreds of camera angles and microphones, then distributing customized feeds around the world, takes not only manpower, but bandwidth.
Latency and quality issues are the enemy of live sports. The solution is to build outsourced live TV production on the foundation of a reliable, global transmission network, back it up with a full team of experts, and provide them with automated tools and technology that help them do more with less.
Con: Complex workflows
Live event versioning is complex, especially for large companies who are adding more and more feeds. Coordinating ingest, aggregation, and distribution across multiple locations, plus adding remote announcers, ad markers, and video graphics, requires perfect timing. And that requires perfect communication.
Some enterprises feel that keeping live TV production in-house can help them reduce some of the complexity and streamline communication. But thanks to experienced staff and advanced technology, live streaming solution providers are able to handle these complex workflows.
LTN Arc: The next level of outsourced TV production
Federations, leagues like the Big 4, and broadcasters at the enterprise level don’t just need outsourced video editors or one-off solutions. They need a true partner that can help them turn challenges into business assets. LTN Arc goes beyond typical service providers — our proprietary technology and scalable model can handle hundreds of feeds at once.
Infrastructure is the backbone of any service provider. It’s what delivers low-latency, high-quality feeds and allows you to shift from an expensive CapEx model to an efficient OpEx model. LTN Arc has delivered more than one million live feeds through our fully managed and monitored global IP network. And our cutting-edge, centralized technical operations center (TOC) can spin up hundreds of versions at once.
One of the biggest reasons for keeping live TV production in-house is to have control of your processes and teams. But the best sports production companies partner with you to become an extension of your team. LTN Arc is a fully managed service with an expert, scalable staff of directors, producers, sound engineers, graphic artists, and more, and all of our partners get a dedicated technical project manager and always-on support.
Ultimately, it’s advanced technology that allows LTN Arc to bring outsourced live TV production to the next level. We leverage proprietary technology to automate many pieces of the production puzzle, minimizing resource consumption and freeing up your dedicated team to have their eyes on the glass. Your feeds are delivered in high quality, at scale, and customized down to the second, all without the need for third-party live TV production software.
Solve your outsourced production challenges
As audiences — and their expectations — grow, more teams, leagues, and rights holders are looking into outsourced live TV production. While it provides benefits like flexibility and lower costs, typical outsourcing providers aren’t without trade-offs. But with an alternative like LTN Arc, you can have streamlined, large-scale video ingest, aggregation, and decoration that delights your customers and your budget. Book a meeting with us today to learn more.