The Switch’s Robert Szabo-Rowe outlines how a new production services offering enables more flexibility to top-tier broadcasters and fresh opportunities for other content producers
The way viewers are engaging with live sports and other content is shifting rapidly. The dominance of the TV screen as the main means of consuming live sports is on the wane. What’s more, rights holders, broadcasters and other content producers are looking for the most cost-efficient ways to produce more shoulder programming and coverage of smaller and niche events than ever – while still maintaining flexibility and an ability to adapt content.
Before the COVID-19 crisis we were seeing the world of sports evolve fast, as fans were turning to an ever-wider range of platforms to get their fix of their favorite teams and athletes. One in five sports fans around the world now look for sports content on social media, GlobalWebIndex reveals – an uptick of 45 percent over the past three years. Streaming services have also seen a surge, accelerated in the last few months by the global lockdown, with esports streaming leader Twitch recording a 60 percent jump in viewership in March this year, according to analysts Stream Hatchet.
Those trends, along with the seemingly insatiable demand for live sports, look set to continue as we move out of lockdown and gradually sports coverage and the production of other live events ramps back up again. With a growing need to fill a larger number of hours of live sports content across multiple platforms – streaming, social media, over-the-top (OTT), etc. – being able to deliver high quality production economically is front of mind for many of our customers.
That’s where The Switch’s new cloud-based TV production offering, MIMiC, comes in. To adapt to the growing needs of both top-tier live content producers and those looking to meet their needs for smaller-scale live events, such as enterprises, we have launched a new Production-as-a-Service platform that gives content producers more options than ever. It enables them to find the level of service that is right for them, fitting their needs and budget.
A complete end-to-end solution, MIMiC delivers cloud production, contribution, distribution and all the ancillary capabilities needed by producers of live content. We are also offering MIMiC as a complete turnkey service.
In the current environment of lockdown and against the social distancing measures that will remain with us in the months ahead, MIMiC is particularly relevant as broadcasters and sports leagues drive to get live competitive sports back on our screens. It can play a crucial role in extending broadcasters’ remote production capabilities, helping to reduce travel for crews and support staff, enabling them to effectively keep their distance and overall lessening risk.
This latest addition to The Switch’s capabilities gives our customers access to all aspects of the production workflow in the cloud, from editing and clipping, graphics creation and replay to comms and talk-back – all in professional broadcast quality. It empowers top-tier broadcasters with new ways to extend their shoulder programming and ancillary feeds while giving lower-tier operators cost-effective routes to deliver more live coverage of sports and entertainment events. Existing customers that rely on The Switch to produce top-tier events using our transmission networks, will now be able to quickly and easily deliver their content into the cloud ready for use across secondary digital productions and social media.
MIMiC isn’t just about traditional live sports – it offers the perfect set-up to produce any series of esports tournaments, either stadium-based or virtual. In addition, it opens new opportunities for enterprises looking for flexible and scalable ways to reach their audiences with broadcast quality coverage of customer conferences, all-hands meetings, product launches, press briefings, and other important live and virtual business events.
MIMiC gives producers of live events of every size and type an unmatched level of flexibility, and they are not constrained by geography. It offers a perfect complement to the existing remote production services The Switch helped pioneer in live event broadcasting.
Robert Szabo-Rowe is Senior Vice President of Product Management at The Switch