Customization is king | Powering live sports victory at scale

August 30, 2022 by Colin Moran, VP, Production Products, LTN

Live sports is among the media industry’s most valuable forms of content. Edge-of-your-seat live sports action generates premium advertising dollars, pulls in global audiences, and is a critical factor for gaining and retaining subscribers in the streaming era. In a complex and increasingly competitive market, simply owning top sports rights and following traditional distribution models isn’t enough to capitalize on the golden egg of live media content. To drive platform loyalty while maximizing monetization at scale, rights holders need to find ways to engage diverse global audiences with customized and localized streams, delivering tailored viewing experiences across new platforms and geographies.

Content owners that can seamlessly spiderweb their live sports coverage to meet every audience on any screen will find themselves way out in front in the race for eyeballs and revenues. Achieving this spiderweb effect requires a bold mindset and proven, best-in-class technology — enter LTN Arc. Arc is our latest addition to the LTN ecosystem, a unique and fully managed production service that simplifies live event versioning at scale for digital audiences, enabling rights holders to repurpose and decorate centralized feeds into customized streams for global cross-platform distribution.

Changing the game with customization

All media organizations appreciate the value of live sports. However, the old model of delivering one form of content to a mass audience is outdated. Increased global demands on content consumption and an explosion of distribution channels, digital platforms, and viewing devices means mass customization is an absolute necessity. Media companies want to buy valuable rights for live sports content, but they need a mechanism to brand, monetize and distribute content in a scalable and tailored fashion – to meet diverse platform requirements and drive viewer engagement with culturally relevant coverage.

Content distribution is evolving fast, and it's becoming more complex. Different geographies and platforms place varying demands on content owners – multi-platform distribution at scale is no one-size-fits-all task. With LTN Arc, customers can seamlessly prepare content for various destinations, with watermarking, slating, video insertion, and SCTE insertion to ensure seamless cross-platform reach and optimal monetization.

Sports viewers want to feel as close to the action as possible, and content owners need to tailor their audiences’ experiences with an authentic and customer-centric approach. Arc enables media owners to harness remote announcers or voice-overs in the local language and custom graphics, active video clipping, highlights, and decorated event recording to create customized viewing experiences – in any country and on any platform.

Futureproof your technology playbook

Although many major OTT platforms are building the capabilities to ingest live content scale, they need a process to centralize feeds, decorate content and deliver customized streams of every live event to any screen. This has traditionally been a pain point for many organizations, requiring heavy CapEx investment and advanced software infrastructure. Some content owners might even consider acquiring an entire company as the only route to facilitate live event versioning at scale.

From a business perspective, it makes sense for rights holders to turn to managed service providers with state-of-the-art infrastructure, deep expertise, and 24/7 dedicated support to handle large-scale, complex live event versioning. Building your own infrastructure can be a costly and lengthy process. Media pioneers and major content owners want to focus on creativity, and they want to be able to trust a provider with a proven technology backbone, proprietary IP and dedicated support. They want a partner for growth.

Enabling efficient scale in the digital landscape is challenging – but it can be a springboard for success. Shifting from CapEx-based models to OpEx-favored approaches with continually evolving technology empowers companies to scale up smarter, spinning out services to meet fluctuating live event demand while driving business agility. Embracing remote workflows accessible from anywhere, and a more flexible, cloud-enabled roadmap aligns with today’s operational requirements and helps customers meet their commercial objectives.

Maximize global reach and fan engagement

Live sports is one of the most marketable exports and valuable imports in the world. Global superstars from across the sporting ecosystem command cult-like fan bases and flagship sports entities have become household names in all corners of the globe. So, how can media companies transport live sports content across continents and cultures to capitalize on a golden opportunity?

Sports leagues and organizations, OTT platforms, and broadcasters can harness LTN Arc to efficiently spiderweb content across the world to tap into new markets, engage growing audiences, and drive additional revenue streams. In the U.S., premier sports leagues like the NFL are looking to efficiently export their live coverage to international markets, while national soccer leagues across Europe and Latin America aim to expand their international footprints to fuel brand growth. It isn’t just going global that matters – national sports leagues are devising creative ways to engage local audiences with tailored content feeds, too.

Exporting premium, customized live sports content requires an element of translation – from both a literal and technological standpoint. Aside from enabling effective regionalization through local language commentary or graphics, a North American broadcaster trying to reach European viewers would need to rely on a partner that can deliver live content to meet different and exacting video frame rates or bitrates across multiple markets. Reducing complexity and distributing content to any region and any screen is in LTN’s DNA.

In fact, we’ve worked closely with a leading streaming service that targets the 600 million Spanish-speaking population worldwide, enabling the organization to deliver over 4,000 live sports events from South and Central America to diverse and highly-engaged North American audiences.

A winning Arc

As sports rights become an increasingly critical asset for streaming services to survive and thrive, content owners need to reach audiences with customized content experiences while maximizing the value of every second of live sports coverage.

At LTN, we have our finger on the pulse and we design pioneering media services to answer our customers’ needs and power business success. In a fiercely competitive and increasingly complex live sports market, a tailored, customer-centric approach has never been as important as it is today. Live sports is a hot property, but to maximize its global reach and value, media organizations need a winning technology partner – and a not-so-secret weapon to live event customization at an unprecedented scale.