FEED Issue 18

ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE LIVE CLOUD PRODUCTION

ESPORTS STUDIOS VIDCON REVIEW

Niche sports go global

3 CLOUD FOCUS Wildmoka WELCOME

It’s another Sports Special! Woo hoo… huzzah…yawn… Every broadcast magazine does a sports special. They’re everywhere. You can’t throw a tennis racket in a fit of rage without hitting a sports special about the World Cup or Wimbledon… or the World Cup.

EDITORIAL EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 nealromanek@bright-publishing.com CONTRIBUTORS Ann-Marie Corvin, David Davies, Adrian Pennington, Robert Takata

So, what makes our special… special? There’s a revolution going on right now in the world of sports video content. Mega-events – like top-league championships or the Olympics – continue to chug along like the massive freight trains they are, always improving the viewer experience, always upgrading to the newest tech. But what’s thrilling right now are the niches – leagues, rights holders, local interests flying under the radar of linear broadcast who, until a couple of years ago, were completely unknown outside their own devoted fan base. In this issue, we look at how streaming technology is allowing these niche players to literally reach the whole world – and on their own terms. We talk with the American Ultimate Disc League, which has turned a niche sport reserved for colleges and beach parties into a major North American sports league, livestreaming every one of its matches this season. We go to Poland, a country whose streaming boom is just getting underway, and where Polish football is reaching new fans with new tech. We also visit Insight TV, which is creating stunning 4K content around mountain biking, kitesurfing, drag racing and high-risk adventure action. It looks like the future of sports is going to be more than just balls – and it’s going to be about the team next door. Your team. And maybe even you.

STAFF WRITER Chelsea Fearnley

CHIEF SUB EDITOR Beth Fletcher

SENIOR SUB EDITOR Siobhan Godwood

SUB EDITOR Felicity Evans JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Elisha Young

ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Matt Snow +44 (0) 1223 499453 mattsnow@bright-publishing.com KEY ACCOUNTS Chris Jacobs +44 (0) 1223 499463 chrisjacobs@bright-publishing.com

DESIGN DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings DESIGN MANAGER Alan Gray DESIGNERS Man-Wai Wong Lucy Woolcomb Bruce Richardson

Testyour brainpower with FEED’s latest mediatech crossword puzzle. And enter towina new FEED t-shirt!

NEAL ROMANEK, EDITOR nealromanek@bright-publishing.com

PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck

@feedzinesocial @feedzinesocial

TO SUBSCRIBE TO FEED GO TO PAGE 78

Need to update or cancel your FEED subscription? Email us at feedsubs@bright-publishing.com BRIGHT PUBLISHING LTD, BRIGHT HOUSE, 82 HIGH STREET, SAWSTON, CAMBRIDGESHIRE CB22 3HJ UK

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08 NEWSFEED

80 START-UP ALLEY

Dispatches from the world of online video

This month’s start-ups include a news aggregation company and streaming for teams

12 REPORT

84 FUTURE SHOCK

Are we witnessing the end of public service broadcasting?

Is there a way of streaming sustainably?

16 YOUR TAKE

90 CROSSWORD

Get the best out of an OTT video service

Complete our all-new word puzzle and you could win an exclusive FEED T-shirt!

22 TECHFEED

When it comes to content creation and production – look to the cloud

72

34 ESPORTS BANG

When esports companies become the broadcasters

66 GENIUS INTERVIEW

Dutch activist and writer, Geert Lovink, on the evolving state of our digital reality

72 HAPPENING

The top gear reviewed at VidCon

66

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SEE PAGE 78

24

24 ULTIMATE STREAMING How the American Ultimate Disc League is using streaming to reach a new legion of fans 38 FOOTBALL FEVER SPORTS FOCUS

Polish football shoots for streaming success though a live production partnership

46 XTREME

An insight behind the broadcaster taking sports entertainment to extremes

52 ROUND TABLE

A fictional shark polo team ask the experts how they can be part of the streaming feeding frenzy

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE STREAMING SECTOR

LIONESSESWORLD CUP SEMI-FINAL MOST WATCHED PROGRAMME

Dailymotion has been fined over €5.5 million for infringing Italian broadcaster Mediaset copyright, by hosting some 995 videos without authorisation from 2006 onwards. Following a trial that lasted six years, the Rome court found that, “Dailymotion was material distributed on its platform was covered by copyright.” The judge also ordered the French- owned VOD service to pay €100,000 in legal costs and imposed an additional penalty of €5,000 for each day that the offending videos remain on its site. This ruling is the first in a series of seven trials and on the basis of the initial settlement, total damages could run to €200m. Mediaset chief executive, Pier Silvio, describes the outcomes as relevant for all Italian publishing and audio- visual media companies in that it rebalances the relationship between content producers and online platform operators who “too often appear convinced to be above the law.” DAILYMOTION TO PAY FINES entirely aware of the fact that most of the

England’s 2-1 defeat to the US in the Women’s World Cup semi-final was Britain’s most watched television programme of 2019 so far – a victory for the BBC and UK women’s football. The BBC recorded a mammoth peak viewership of 11.7 million during the game, accounting for 50.8% of available audience share. Whereas, England’s defeat against Japan in the semi-final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup amassed a peak audience of 2.4 million viewers. It represents the fourth time during the 2019 tournament that the BBC has broken its own viewership record for a women’s football game, crushing its previous best of 7.6 million that tuned in to watch the Lionesses 3-0 quarter-final victory over Norway. Overall, a record-breaking 28.1 million people watched 15 minutes or more BBC coverage of the Women’s World Cup on TV and iPlayer. That is 47% of the UK population, with a

gender split of 62% male and 38% female. Emma Hayes, Chelsea FC WSL, says, “We’ve grown up in a country where women’s football has been kept to one side; it hasn’t been a part of the masses and it hasn’t dominated numbers in terms of audience figures and press coverage. The interest now is above and beyond what we’ve ever seen.” It was not only in England where TV audiences boomed

during the World Cup. Almost 59 million people watched Brazil’s last-16 game against France, in the process making it the most-watched women’s football match of all time. Unprecedented levels of media coverage also helped to smash previous audience records: 62 countries held TV rights to broadcast the tournament, compared to just 37 countries offering the same in 2015.

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9 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades

YOUTUBE ANNOUNCES MORE WAYS FOR CREATORS TO MAKE MONEY

YouTube is expanding monetisation features for its creator base – to allow more subscription options, animated paid stickers and additional merchandise partners – as the company and its users work toward becoming less reliant on ad revenue. In particular, Super Chat – a service that lets viewers pay to pin comments on livestreams – has been a growing source of income for creators since its launch in 2017. Neal Mohan, chief product officer at YouTube, reveals that “for

over 20,000 channels it is now the primary means of revenue generation”. Given this traction, YouTube is rolling out paid animated stickers called Super Stickers. categories, they will provide a new way for viewers to show creators how much they like their content. When YouTube introduced Channel Memberships, it required all plans to be set at $4.99 per month. Creators now have the ability to set five Available in a variety of designs, languages and

different price points, each with its own perks, including access to exclusive live streams and videos, shout- outs from the creator, unique badges and emojis. On the merch front, which lets creators sell products directly from their video pages, YouTube is expanding beyond initial partner to Teespring to Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent and Rooster Teeth. YouTube also plans to widen the availability of YouTube Giving, a way for creators to solicit donations to charities.

SPANISH ARCHIVE TO PRESERVE VIDEO GAMES

The National Library of Spain (BNE) has, for more than three centuries, housed, preserved and disseminated the printed memory of Spain’s history and culture. It now hopes to extend its efforts to the conservation of video games and websites. The proposal comes from BNE’s director, Ana Santos, and includes the regulation of the conservation of electoral propaganda posters and bookmarks, among other formats, based on the reform of the legal deposit law of 2011 – the obligation to deliver copies of publications of all kinds, and in any form, to BNE. The new law will also relinquish the storage of old microforms such as sudoku and crossword puzzles. Santos explains, “Video games will be of cultural interest in the future, because

they have a very important cultural value as an artistic creation.” Throughout its history, the BNE has held exclusivity over the inspection and conservation of legal deposit.

But if the law is reformed, the task of preservation for digital heritage will be given to web curators within Spain, because they can provide “the best representation of the internet world”.

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10 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades

MOBILE USERS CAN NOW SWITCH PROVIDERSWITH SMS Consumers in the UK are now

DALET ACQUIRES OOYALA Dalet has signed a

existing provider and will be valid for 30 days. The reply will also include information about any early termination charges or outstanding credit balances. The PAC code is then sent to their new provider and the service is switched within one working day. Consumer have also sometimes encountered difficulties in paying their old and new provider at the same time when switching. Ofcom has now banned mobile providers from charging for notice periods running after the switch date. It estimates this will result in savings to the consumer of 1m a year.

able to switch their mobile provider with one simple text message under new rules from UK regulator Ofcom. The process previously in place required people to phone their mobile provider if they wanted to leave and join another, during which they would need to request a PAC code for their new provider. According to Ofcom, many people became frustrated when their provider attempted to make them stay. Almost half of those who chose not to switch said the process was too time-consuming, while a lower number were put off by having

definitive agreement to acquire the Ooyala Flex Media Platform Business, an SaaS offering digital media distribution workflows, for $4.9m. The acquisition follows a turbulent period for Ooyala, as it conducted a management buyout from previous owner Telestra in 2018 and sold its online video platform business to Brightcove in February for $15m. Dalet says the acquisition will expand its customer base in news and production workflows, and revenue models, with a subscription/SaaS-based services offering. David Lasry, chief executive officer at Dalet, says, “Ooyala is a perfect complement to our existing Dalet Galaxy five offering in our traditional markets, the Ooyala Flex Media Platform. It also opens opportunities for new customers such as corporate brands, telcos and sport teams who are looking to simply manage their assets”. The transaction involves Ooyala personnel across sales, marketing, engineering, professional services and support departments, and includes Ooyala’s customers in the UK, US and France. accelerate Dalet’s strategic move to increase recurring

to contact multiple providers. Under the new ‘text-to-switch’ process, consumers text PAC to a number, after which the code is sent back from their

LAND OF MEDIA AND BAD HEALTH

London’s Soho is the base for much of the British independent film, television and post-production industry, but it is also the UK’s number one unhealthiest place to live, according to new study looking at the top ten. Soho has a dearth of green space and a high level of air pollution along with easy access to pubs, take-away shops and off- licenses. The study found that in total, seven of the unhealthiest places to live in the UK are located in London. Researchers from the University of Liverpool analysed a range of lifestyle and environmental measures, including levels of air pollution, access to amenities such as fast- food outlets or pubs, and proximity to health services including GPs, in addition to parks and recreational space. The statistics uncovered important insights about the concentration of certain amenities that may be damaging to or promote health. For example, on average, individuals in the UK are just as close to a pub as they are to their

nearest GP, 1.1km. Researchers also found that 42% of people are within 1km of their nearest gambling outlet. Professor Alex Singleton says, “Our study found that rural areas have poorer access to many health services, and those services seen as damaging to health are often concentrated in poorer areas. For example, 52% of people who live in the 10% most deprived areas are within 1km of a fast-food outlet compared with 24% in the least deprived areas.”

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12 REPORT Public Service Broadcasting

Words by Chelsea Fearnley FEED reports on the latest evidence given by Netflix to the UK government’s inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting DOES VOD SPELL THE END FOR PSB? n March, the Communications

Final evidence for the inquiry was given in Parliament on 2 July and the committee called upon representatives from Netflix to discuss its commitment to British television. During the proceedings, the committee expressed concern that while Netflix is doing co-productions with British independent television producers, it is not doing enough to ensure the secondary rights that are needed to build these producers businesses. Viscount Colville of Culross said: “We heard from Jane Turton of All3Media that SVOD companies, ‘pay a premium on top of the cost of production that compensates the producer for the lost opportunity, because they are no longer able to exploit the rights. That is a model. Netflix would like to do more of that’. “Look at the BBC’s Bodyguard . That was a co-production with [Netflix], but all the IP, the secondary rights, was taken by Netflix for worldwide global exploitation. The BBC was not able to use that IP to build revenue for BBC Studios.”

Committee of the House of Lords in the UK launched an inquiry into public service broadcasting (PSB)

THE BBC’S BODYGUARD WAS A CO-PRODUCTION, BUT ALL THE IP WAS TAKEN BY NETFLIX

in the age of VOD. VOD services, such as Netflix and Amazon, have made available thousands of hours of content for subscriptions starting at £5.99 a month – less than half the cost of what people in the UK currently pay monthly for a TV licence. This has presented challenges for public service broadcasters, such as the BBC and ITV, with viewership falling by half since 2010 for audiences under the age of 25, according to the Communications Committee. Over the past four months, the committee has called upon witnesses to investigate whether the popularity of VOD services has made the concept of PSB redundant, in whole or in part. If so, then what form should PSB take in the future and how can it remain financially viable? And what action should policymakers and regulators take?

RISKY BUSINESS Anne Mensah, VP of Original Series at Netflix, claims Netflix sometimes takes the upfront risk to ‘lean into a show’

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15 REPORT Public Service Broadcasting

Anne Mensah, VP of original series at Netflix, resolved that the VOD service has many models, all the way from licensed and co-production to wholly owned. She said: “Sometimes we take the upfront risk when we pay a premium, which allows us to lean into a show that might not be a global hit. At the same time, the British TV industry is so strong at the moment, I hope there are lots of different homes that a person can take their project to.” Benjamin King, director of Public Policy at UK Netflix, jumped on this point: “The strength of the UK’s production ecology resides in the fact that there is a plurality of different models and a whole variety of routes to market as a producer. The brilliance of the UK is that you can come to Netflix or the BBC or go elsewhere. That is what will keep the content coming out of the UK and the companies producing it as vibrant and plural as they are today.” The committee also examined Netflix’s support for diversity of talent, for example, the writers, directors and actors – also indicating these are in short supply – and

the competition from content creators, including PBS, for those services. Baroness Mcintosh of Hudnall said: “There are lots of people who can do the thing (the talent), but there is only ever a small number who can do it really well.” Mensah countered that by stating: “It’s about leaning into all the voices, not just some of them. I believe that it increases the number of people you can play with, alongside training and ensuring we have long-term plans to help people not just with their first job but their second and third ones, to keep them in the business.” She referenced British writer, Laura Nunn, who wrote Sex Education as her first show: “She will go on to write something amazing for the BBC or HBO, that should be brilliant as then someone else will come up, because they worked in her writer’s room.” The committee finished its proceedings by asking Netflix what it is doing to improve the UK government’s apprenticeship levy, which Lord Gordon of Strathblane defined as “too much of a straitjacket to do anything sensible in the creative sector”.

CONTENT IS KING Ben King, director of Public Policy at UK Netflix, believes the strength of the UK’s TV production industry lies in the plurality of models

While Netflix is a recipient of high-tax relief, it is voluntarily contributing to the ScreenSkills levy and to the apprenticeship levy. Netflix’s King said: “There are some challenges with the deployment of the apprenticeship levy in our sector. It would benefit from some reform to allow us to unlock in a figurative and material sense the opportunity it could create.” And when questioned about the introduction of an SVOD levy, which is referred to by the committee as a ‘contestable fund’, he noted that: “When we talk about public policy interventions in this space or any other, we have to be clear about what the problem is that they are intended to solve. It seems that the concept of an SVOD levy is a solution in search of a problem, because the reality is funding for UK content is at an all-time high. “I am not sure that a levy, or contestable fund as you called it, would necessarily either stimulate investment in a different kind of content or lead to better outcomes for audiences.” Oral evidence has now concluded, and a report is in preparation. Stay tuned for our FEED analysis of this in the upcoming issues.

THE POLITICS SHOW The Communications Committee’s inquiry was streamed on parliamentlive.tv

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16 YOUR TAKE OTT

Getting the best out of a new OTT video service requires patience and careful strategy

he market for media and entertainment services is transitioning from broadcasting to streaming media. The once unknown and passive broadcast audiences are transformed into OTT active communities whose engagement provides unprecedented viewing insight. Every aspect of the service – from individual user journeys, video views, sales and performance – are now obtainable. Data by TV show, film, market, device, time of day and more can be gathered instantly. Profiles of each individual video are known, and the effect of product positioning and promotion can be measured and controlled. Powerful publishing tools provide instant or scheduled changes across a full global portfolio of consumer devices anywhere. Pricing and packaging are set and updated from this master control centre and reflected instantly in local currencies. These are some of the benefits of streaming media and OTT: a data-driven world that brings the consumer more of what they like from content owners with

JOE FOSTER, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, EASEL TV A ‘service first’ approach is best for OTT systems

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17 YOUR TAKE OTT

powerful tools to deliver it. However, too often the approach one takes to adopting streaming media or OTT services chokes all its potential before it gets started.

for any good streaming media or OTT service. This approach is also true of the underlying content and metadata distribution, eg content formatting, encoding, storage, CDN, content protection and rights management. It is ideal if they work in a media workflow process designed to fit in with the centralised cloud managed services. If it forms part of a multi-tenant architecture, so much the better, as most of the software driving your service will have been used by other clients, constantly exercised and tested at scale, providing a strong degree of reassurance in its robustness. THE APPS Though it might seem counterintuitive, the apps come last. Of course, this doesn’t stop the subsequent commissioning of device apps, to work with this perfect cloud hub, being complex and expensive. Unless, of course, these were also designed to be added as a coherent part of an overall framework. A plug-in philosophy applied to a set of device-optimised media players, with

established APIs for the central service hub, reaps multiple rewards to the ‘service first’ approach; quicker time to market, lower cost multi-device rollout and exercised reusable software for reliance and quality of service. All too often, people start by commissioning a stand-alone app to test the market. If the service takes off, the disparately adopted back-end services needed to support the app now have to be either stubbornly matured or replaced. The answer is to take a ‘service first’ approach, and architect it so that adding apps is by design, not by commission. At Easel TV, we create a cohesive set of cloud services. This is then designed to work with an Azure and AWS media pipeline for global scaling and distribution. And finally, we’ve created a set of device-optimised players to slot into this framework. We see device apps as intrinsic components designed to slot into the architecture of a cloud core. You might think of it as analogous to adding a speaker to your Sonos home entertainment hub. None of this implies starting again. Existing apps and legacy systems can continue to stand a service in good stead. Rather, as new devices or services are added, opportunities will present themselves to migrate towards a ‘service first’ approach. This strategic approach plays to the emerging market; more engaging content on more devices globally, allowing consumers to get deeper, more immersive media and entertainment services, anywhere, anytime, whatever their vice.

CLOUDY START The most significant aspect of the

enormous potential laid out above is that it is derived from (and feeds) a central, cloud-based nerve centre. Even if you only want one app, or start with a single app, many of these central services are still required, and the rest will almost certainly be desired going forward. Having these central facilities working together as one cohesive service is key, because getting these right dictates the quality, capability and cost of the service you end up with. Look at it like a neatly fitting puzzle. If you’re gathering data from content publishing, consumer registrations and marketing, it doesn’t make sense to do these in isolation. If you’re publishing content, granting entitlements or garnering analytics on isolated device apps, then you’re losing the big picture. A cohesive set of central service tools designed to work together is fundamental strategic planning

OFTEN, THE APPROACH ONE TAKES TO ADOPTING STREAMING MEDIA OR OTT SERVICES CHOKES ALL ITS POTENTIAL BEFORE IT GETS STARTED

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18 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE AWS

MAKING AN IMPACT ONE STEP AT A TIME Since it started in 2014, more than 10,000 people have supported the 4K 4Charity Fun Run Series, raising more than $1 million for non-profits focused on advancing equity in the technology sector

SMALL DISTANCE, BIG IMPACT The event’s inaugural race was held at IBC 2014 in Amsterdam and offered sponsors and individual participants a healthy alternative to traditional trade show networking events, while giving back. Its moniker was inspired by the roll-out of 4K Ultra HD (UHD) technology and a play on words with regard to short runs of unusual distance (four kilometres or 2.49 miles). The first run was pulled together in just over six weeks by event organizers located 5000 miles from Amsterdam! With a guiding mantra that a small distance can make a big impact, the first 4km running and walking event exceeded all expectations. Ultimately, it attracted the support of nearly 250 individuals, and raised more than $28,000 in donations. Its success 
 laid the foundation for an enduring industry tradition. When selecting charitable partners for each event, 4K 4Charity initially looked to align with organisations that support education, hunger, and/ or the environment. In 2016, 4K 4Charity shifted its mission to directly support organizations and initiatives that address increased diversity on the global and local scale across the technology industry. This change was driven by an increased desire to bring awareness and support for inclusion in the Portland metro-area tech industry, where the under-representation of women and communities of colour is a challenge that local companies are taking on collectively, as well as the release of an alarming report on the disproportionate state of the global

and globally. The 4K 4Charity Fun Run is an embodiment of his values. Since the 4K 4Charity run was founded in 2014, more than 10,000 people have taken an estimated 46 million steps in support of diversity and inclusion, with cumulative gross proceeds now in excess of $1 million. It’s also the official charity run for media and entertainment technology associations, including the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the International Broadcast Conference (IBC), and the Society of Professional Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). Runs are also held for the tech community in Portland, Oregon. “Please sign up for the 4K 4Charity Fun Run at IBC 2019, and help us get to the second $1 million in half the steps so we can make a bigger, sustained impact for those under-represented in our industry,” says Barber.

he 4K 4Charity Fun Run is 
a first-of-its-kind event in the global media, entertainment and tech industries. Now

in its fifth year, the 4K 4Charity was innovated by the late Sam Blackman, co-founder and CEO of Elemental Technologies (now AWS Elemental), and Laura Barber, AWS Elemental director of global market relations. Inspired by Sam Blackman’s passionate commitment to community engagement, and to supporting those under-represented in the tech industry, as well as the educational systems that feed it, the multi-event series raises awareness and financial support for non-profits focused on increased diversity and inclusion. Sam Blackman helped nurture the burgeoning tech industry in Portland, Oregon, and was a passionate advocate for community service locally

DREAM TEAM The Feed magazine team, ready to run 4K at NAB with AWS’s Laura Barber

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19 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

AWS

media and entertainment industry by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. As such, 4K 4Charity event beneficiaries have since included the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Girls Who Code. GROWING MOMENTUM Momentum continues to grow for the media industry’s only 4km run held to raise awareness and funding for increased diversity and inclusion. Overall registration was up more than 30% for the 4K 4Charity Fun Run held at the 2018 NAB Show, while the number of runners and walkers on the course increased by 33%. At NAB Show earlier this year, 735 individuals joined the run, which was also supported by multiple generous sponsors. More than $68,000 was raised for Girls Who Code, a non-profit organisation working to close the gender gap in technology. Last year at IBC, the 4K 4Charity Fun Run raised more than $56K in donations from sponsors as well as 653 individual supporters representing 165 companies spanning the media and entertainment industry. Proceeds from the 4K 4Charity at IBC 2019 will benefit Iridescent, a global education non-profit company that empowers under-represented young people to become innovators and leaders through engineering and technology. Through its two programmes, Curiosity Machine AI Family Challenge and Technovation, Iridescent introduces underserved communities to new technologies and empowers them to apply those technologies to solve the real-world problems they face. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Unlike many other athletic events which provide participants the option to give back, 4K 4Charity Fun Run

RUN FOR GOOD The 4Charity Fun Run is now in its fifth year and has so far raised

more than $1m dollars

Registration is open for the 4K 4Charity Fun Run at IBC 2019: visit 4k4charity. com/ibc to sign up. The run will take place at 7:30am local time on Saturday, 14 September at Amstelpark, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Sponsorship enquires can be directed to Paulien Ruijssenaars: paulien@amazon.com SIGN UP

sign-ups are structured so that individual participants donate to take part, in lieu of a traditional participation fee. 100% of individual 4K 4Charity Fun Run participant donations are given to non-profit organisations focused on increasing equity across the global tech industry. With the generous and dedicated support of multiple corporate sponsors and thousands of individuals, as well as IBC, NAB, SMPTE, and local tech communities, 4K 4Charity has persevered, staying true to Sam’s mission. The continued success of the 4K 4Charity Fun Run series is a testament to this industry’s commitment to increasing equity. “More than $1 million in 4K 4Charity proceeds has been raised to provide opportunities in technology for people marginalised by our society and educational systems. Through their ongoing support, our sponsors and individual supporters are enriching our industry by

SIGN UP FOR THE 4K 4CHARITY FUN RUN AT IBC – HELP US GET TO THE SECOND $1M

making it better for everyone,” concludes Barber.

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20 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE AWS

Graham Digital was an early adopter of digital tools for TV. Last year, the company presented a musical celebration of the life of Aretha Franklin using a fully cloud-based infrastructure FOR CLOUD

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21 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE AWS

eeping pace with the evolution of digital media has become essential for broadcasters as the industry transforms. The team at

Graham Digital, Graham Media Group’s in- house digital development group, has been driving innovation at Graham Media’s TV stations since it was established in 2012. Implementing a smart digital strategy, however, required a dedicated workflow to support streaming and encoding for livestreaming to a range of devices. To more efficiently manage its digital-enabled workflow for its seven major US stations, the company recently opted to commit fully to AWS cloud solutions, which support everything from video encoding and content delivery to playlist monitoring, live- to-VOD creation, logs, system monitoring and more for Graham Digital’s channels. Encoding, video processing and storage/origin are all powered by AWS Elemental MediaLive and MediaStore cloud services, and two AWS Elemental LIVE appliances. Although the workflow varies for each station’s digital workflow, typically Graham Digital’s source channel is encoded via two on-premises AWS Elemental LIVE encoders and fed into AWS Elemental MediaLive for a multi-bit rate (MBR) transcode and adaptive bit rate (ABR) packaging. AWS MediaStore is then used for the contribution feed and distribution. Additional AWS services employed by Graham Digital throughout the production chain include Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), AWS Systems Manager, Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Lambda, which helps Graham Digital deploy and manage servers in the cloud. “We’ve always been firm believers in going all-in with the cloud, and from the outset knew we wanted to use Amazon tech as much as possible,” says Adam Simpson, dev ops lead at Graham Digital. “With AWS, we can dynamically scale so we have more control of overhead, and have seen over 50% reduction in costs. We’ve also improved the quality and resiliency of our live streams for each station across a range of platforms.” REMEMBERING THE QUEEN OF SOUL In summer 2018, Graham Digital leaned on its AWS workflow to livestream and deliver on-demand content covering more than six hours of Aretha Franklin’s memorial service across its digital properties for ClickOnDetroit – Graham Media’s digital channel for local Detroit station, WDIV 4. For the event, AWS delivered over 337TB of video, and more than 119k viewers

WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN FIRM BELIEVERS IN GOING ALL-INWITH THE CLOUD

RAMPING UP With its eye on the future, Graham Media is exploring how it can further leverage AWS’ machine learning and analytics tools to take its streams to the next level. It’s also in the process of ramping up on The Washington Post ’s Arc Publishing platform, also powered by AWS technology. “We continue to turn to AWS because of the experience. It’s been a superlative collaboration – from the level of support to the continued insight and guidance the team has provided. It’s a great partner for innovation and

tuned into ClickOnDetroit’s website and mobile app to celebrate the Queen of Soul and watch live musical performances by Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, plus appearances by Bill Clinton, Smokey Robinson and Rev Jesse Jackson. “MediaLive, MediaStore and CloudFront helped us bring the show to air,” adds Jonathan Beard, Graham Digital’s director of digital product development. “We were averaging 75Gbps and couldn’t have pushed through so much data without them. Replicating such a large-scale event for on-demand viewing required high availability infrastructure capable of supporting a vast amount of data delivery, but it was stress-free. I don’t think any other provider could give us the same ease in handling that spike traffic.”

one that makes it easy to hit the ground running,” concludes Simpson.

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22 TECHFEED Production in the Cloud

Words by Elsie Crampton As cloud becomes a viable resource for production, it has the potential to change not only the way we produce and distribute content, but even the type of content we make CONTENT IS KING: NO, REALLY

he traditional way of doing business in the content industry – probably for several hundred years now – has been to buy a

“What you’re doing now is putting together an end-to-end supply chain that is software defined,” says Eric Bolten, vice- president of strategic account development at Zixi. “It will go across different production environments and, depending on the requirements, you’ll be able to spin up resources as required, and be able to handle anything from a live Q&A feed on a small-tier event to Super Bowls, Olympics and World Cups where audiences are both large and varied.” Zixi has been an leader in video transport over IP since the early days. As early as 2013, the company was doing live digital acquisition, and has become a major force in cloud delivery, with a customer list that’s a who’s who of major broadcasters and content companies. “Workflows are becoming mixed,” says Bolten. “You’re not going to want to use satellite and take up an entire transponder anymore, so you’ll be using cloud-based and internet-based workflows in certain sections of the content supply chain. You may be using traditional master control in the centre segments of the chain, then your distribution will go to traditional cable and multiple service operators, as well as off to the various platforms in the digital sphere.” THOUSANDS OF EVENTS, THOUSANDS OF STREAMS Cloud production, in particular, is beginning to transform live video, expanding the ability to cover and exploit the potential of a live event. In the linear TV world, a single

gone from expecting very little from the streaming world, to expecting it to be equal to (or even better than) their traditional TV broadcast. A broadcast workflow held together by a single cohesive style of workflow is a thing of the past. As interoperability and IP delivery become the norm, hybrid workflows will become the standard, and the idea that different entities in different departments have different job functions is starting to blur.

set of tools and then use those tools to produce something for your audience. But the world of cloud production presents a whole new paradigm; one in which the content and audience come first and the tools are brought on to serve that content and audience as needed. ‘Content is king’ is by now a meaningless cliche, but in the fully connected, cloud- driven production environment, it is the content that will have the final say about which tools will be used and how. Expectations from audiences are high,

in part because of the ubiquity of the high-end content streamed

through cloud-based delivery. People have

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23 TECHFEED Production in the Cloud

show would produce a ‘single dirty feed’, which might then have subtitles or dubbing added. In the cloud-based world, different tool sets can be added depending what the content plan is. Content can be customised in real time and for large-scale events “We’ve been doing acquisition and distribution at Zixi for a long time. A lot of producers, like esports companies, want to know how to spin things up and down quickly: how do you handle a live event, then quickly move on to the next one without a fixed infrastructure? They are still very much in single and secondary camera feeds, but ultimately they’re looking at multi-camera production,” explains Bolten. With some of these events, Zixi has been working in a ‘stream-to-store’ way. Rather than waiting for an event to finish and then producing highlights and clips, the set-up enables making real-time cuts and highlights during a show and pushing those out to social media while the show is airing – which becomes a critical part of

promoting an event and bringing in viewers in real time. “On social media, which people are continuously connected to, you need to take live events and, while they’re going on, be clipping and snipping highlights into social media formats to remind people they should be tuning in to that event. “We are getting to the point where we’re talking about tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of events per year. The content universe is expanding at an exponential rate,” Bolten points out. A large number of these events are streamed by new players – regional sports teams or niche interests who now have access to sophisticated production and distribution software, and are have small but very loyal audiences. “VOD is fine – you post a file and people can acquire it – but live production is a different exercise. You’re catering to different audiences, depending on the event, and these audiences will be using a

large range of devices in a large range of contexts, so being able to do content at a bespoke level is critical and that’s going to tie heavily into advertising dollars,” he adds. DANCING WITH THE AUDIENCE There is a vast increase in the amount of data that a cloud-based workflow yields, and this is likely to have repercussions not just for how audiences are built and retained, but for the production of content itself. Bolten says: “While the creative and production quality aspects are legitimate, we’re going to be getting more formulaic over time, in terms of trying to create the right content for the right audience. And in as close to real time as one can do so.” The speed and flexibility of the cloud, having instant access to computer and storage resources, and being able to plug and play different types of vendors and solutions on the fly also means the ability to respond directly to the audience – potentially in real time. That kind of deep engagement with the audience has the potential to increase subscription rates or give more value to sponsors and advertisers. With sponsors wanting to know more and more about how their message was delivered, a responsive cloud-centric environment adds a great deal of value to a piece of content. Bolten concludes: “We’re watching everybody under this universal pressure reduce production costs while increasing production value. It’s non-stop. And it’s something we’re continuing to work on.”

WE ARE GETTING TO THE POINTWHEREWE’RE TALKING ABOUT TENS OF THOUSANDS OR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF EVENTS PER YEAR. THECONTENTUNIVERSE IS EXPANDINGATANEXPONENTIALRATE

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24 SPORTS FOCUS American Ultimate Disc League

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25 SPORTS FOCUS American Ultimate Disc League

Words by Neal Romanek

he American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) was founded in 2012 and consists of 21 semi- professional franchises in the US

try to envision how these games would be streamed,” explains Tim DeByl, vice- president of marketing for the AUDL and head of the league’s video strategy. DeByl was also part of the initial 2012 launch and, with partner investors, became owner of the Madison Radicals ultimate team. “Live streaming hadn’t really been done much. There was some streaming for the world events, but even that was with one camera and very simple,” he explains. After a couple years with the UXTV platform, the AUDL caught the attention of ESPN, which was interested in streaming matches on the networks’s streaming service, ESPN3. In the meantime, DeByl and the AUDL team worked steadily with teams around the league to get it up to speed for ongoing, professional live coverage. They moved from their own

Whether you call it a ‘Frisbee’ or a ‘disc’, ultimate is moving out of its counterculture roots and into the sports mainstream. The AUDL, ultimate’s governing body for North America, is using video streaming to reach new fans

and Canada. It was kicked off (flung off?) when founder Josh Moore wrangled eight owners willing to put money (not much money) behind the new teams. The next year saw more teams added, with one of the new team owners being Cisco’s Rob Lloyd. Using his substantial resources, Lloyd boosted the AUDL into its ‘2.0’ phase and became the league’s chairman. Streaming video of ultimate games was part of the league’s strategy from the very beginning and, in 2013, the AUDL launched UXTV, a simple website that allowed the league to embed livestreamed video. “We bought cameras and hired some camera people and some ultimate people to

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26 SPORTS FOCUS

American Ultimate Disc League

The Frisbee was launched in 1948 by American inventor Fred Morrison. Originally called the Whirlo-Way and designed to be made of metal, Morrison’s disc was upgraded to a plastic version called the ‘Flyin-Saucer’. In 1958, Morrison sold the rights to Wham-O, which gave it the name ‘Frisbee’ (a name Morrison originally despised) after the Frisbie Pie Company, whose empty pie tins were favoured by students at Yale. And the rest is discoid history. Morrison’s flying disc generated competitive sports almost immediately, imitating golf or various field sports, and Wham-O itself did much to promote organised activity around its product. In 1967, Wham-O vice president and inventor of the ‘Frisbee’ brand name, Ed Headrick, founded the International Frisbee Association (IFA), and also helped to establish the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) to which he devoted the rest of his life. The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) is the international sports federation responsible for governance of flying disc games, including ultimate, disc golf, freestyle, guts and overall. The first record of ultimate being launched as a sport was in 1968 when New Jersey schoolboy Joel Silver (not the famous producer) created an after-school team. Organised university tournaments, starting with a game between Rutgers and Princeton Universities, began in 1972. Ultimate games can be played on grass, beach, sand or indoors. Grass games generally have teams of seven players; beach or indoor games, five players. The field is similar to a football pitch, 73m long with end zones 18m long. The disc may be advanced in any direction by passing to a teammate. Players can’t run with the disc. After catching a disc, the thrower ON THE TRAIL OF THE SAUCERS

DISC JOCKEY AUDL TV has streamed every single game of this season’s ultimate to try and promote the sport

homegrown streaming set-up and began to stream via Vimeo’s Livestream platform. “We started doing tutorials at our owners’ meetings, trying to help the local teams to grow their own streaming,” says DeByl. “We had this idea we would have a game of the week, Monday night football-style. We would send a full streaming team there and announcers. We hired Evan Lepler in 2015. He was announcing baseball, but was a former ultimate player. He now does all of our biggest games.” A production company, Fulcrum Media Group, was created, which is now responsible for producing all the top-level games. AUDL TV Last year, the AUDL decided to put all the remaining games onto a service called WE’VE ALSO FOUND THAT ANNOUNCERS ARE A VERY BIG PART OF THIS. YOU CAN HAVE BAD CAMERAWORK AND REALLY GOOD ANNOUNCERS AND PEOPLEWILL STILL BE PRETTY HAPPY

AUDL TV, which meant 130 games were livestreamed last season. The channel can be accessed via a monthly fee of $10, giving access to every game played across the league. The challenge now is to make sure that every ultimate team across the league – some of whom have little video production experience – is able to contribute high-quality content. “We put in a lot of work to try to get the teams’ base-level streaming up to speed,” says DeByl. “We had Evan work with the teams’ announcers. We’ve written a lot of tutorials, and we’ve met with a lot of the stream teams. This season, we’ve managed to stream every game.” He continues: “We would do a call with each stream team the week of the game to verify who the camera people were, who the announcer was and we did a stream test to verify they knew what they were doing. For a lot of it, we were already pretty happy with what they had done. A lot of teams had already been doing streams on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube.” Pooling their experience of ultimate, there were discussions about how to best shoot different recurring moments in gameplay, including the choice of lenses and the height of the camera. “We generally have a 50 high, a 50 low and two end-zone cameras. But we’ve had to narrow it down sometimes for the stream. A lot of teams just have a high 50 cam and some sort of replay cam on the field,” explains DeByl. For high-end games, the AUDL has also used drone coverage, which lends itself particularly well for a sport focused on an object that hovers. “We’ve also found that announcers are a very big part of this,” he adds. “You can have bad camera work and

has ten seconds to throw it on to someone else. Points are scored when a team catches a pass in the

other team’s end zone. The sport is recognised by the International Olympic Committee, but has yet to secure a spot in an Olympic Games. Uncommonly in sports, flying disc games of all kinds generally have no referees. The games, even at high levels, are entirely self-officiating.

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28 SPORTS FOCUS American Ultimate Disc League

STREAM ON The AUDL is aiming to have instant replay and standardised scoreboard

graphics for its live streaming

really good announcers and people will still be pretty happy. We work hard to get people who are knowledgeable. We have Evan, who is a professional, working with some of the announcers who are often retired ultimate players. They know the game well, but haven’t been in the booth much. Evan really helps them prepare well for a game, even showing them how to take notes beforehand, how to announce names, knowing what the stats are…” However, DeByl says there have been a few glitches involving bandwidth problems. The teams move stadiums frequently and not every location has been vetted for the dependability of its LTE coverage. “Hiccups can happen when a team tries a new stadium, and they had great internet when they tested it on Friday, but then on Saturday the service is intermittent. But generally it has gone really well. “We had a lot of trepidation going into the season, because we hadn’t charged for streaming before. When you charge, it’s a different scenario from when you give something away for free. There can be a lot of angry emails every time a stream fails.” FLYING INTO 2020 While the season runs from April to July, the AUDL will still be working hard during the off-season to keep producing new content to retain current subscribers and attract new ones, and will be planning how to improve its coverage for next season. “For 2020, we want more graphics and we want to standardise streaming packages. So far, it’s been the Wild West in terms of what the different teams have used for streaming – from vMix to Production Truck to OBS. It was a bit of testing ground

ULTIMATE IS A REALLY INTERESTING SPORT FOR TV. IT’S REALLY HIGHLIGHT READY

to see what worked best for people. We’ll have an all-owners meeting in September to see what worked and what didn’t, and after that we’ll raise the bar,” says DeByl. Guidelines for next season’s coverage will include instant replay and the standardisation of scoreboard graphics and opening AUDL animations. DeByl adds that vMix has come out as a favourite livestreaming software. And the AUDL’s coverage is not just limited to streaming – the league has a deal with multi-platform sports network Stadium Sports for streaming and linear broadcast TV. “Ultimate is a really interesting sport for TV. It’s really highlight ready,” enthuses DeByl. “We feel like being on a platform like that has really helped us grow the league and the sport.” AROUND THE GLOBE Although the sport is based primarily in North America, DeByl says there are a notable number of AUDL TV subscribers from France and Colombia to watch the French and Colombian players who have joined the league. There is also a huge social media following from outside the US. The key barrier to a flood of subscriptions from outside the US is that the Vimeo Livestream platform doesn’t yet have provision for localised currencies or

different subscription models. “Right now, we have to stick to US dollars, and $10 can be a lot in countries like Colombia. Even in Canada, they’re having to pay in US dollars, so using localised currencies is a big part of our roadmap going forward,” he points out. Vimeo Livestream is working with the AUDL on how to deliver the 2020 roadmap, but DeByl has been impressed with the solidity of the platform. “We can’t have streams going down, and Vimeo had perfect uptime, as long as the team on the ground could get the stream up and running. I don’t see us moving platforms any time soon.” The AUDL puts social media at the forefront of its media strategy, going by the rule of thumb that ‘more is more’. Every camera angle gets uploaded to a central server, which allows editors to build highlights for social media. “We’ve found things like our highlight reels have been great for the growth,” says DeByl. “We have had our top ten on ESPN like 50 times. We aren’t the NBA, but we try to follow how they work – how they create highlights and instantly get them out on social media.” He concludes: “Some people worry about the problem of cannibalising the linear broadcast, but we just want people to get interested in the league – and that will pay off in the long run.”

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