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cs-canal

Canal+ lauches their 2nd second-screen app

CANAL+ - STAYING AHEAD IN A CHALLENGING MARKET

Canal+ Sports, the sports channel of Canal+, the France-based pay-TV broadcaster, has a proud history of finding innovative ways to provide live sports coverage to its viewers as well as premium added-value content to its subscribers.

A recognised leader in sports programming, Canal+ Sports found itself facing new challenges in 2012 with a newly launched sports channel in France securing the rights to cover several premier sports. Canal+ Sports decided this was the perfect time to unveil its latest plans to harness cutting-edge technology in its productions.

It was looking to increase the value of its offering by improving live coverage of Ligue 1’s headline matches. It had also realised that the way fans are now consuming media is rapidly evolving, due to both new smart devices and the spread of fast broadband connectivity. This new viewing reality creates both challenges and opportunities. The time had come to provide new value and engage viewers in ways that work alongside, not in opposition to, new viewing practices and social media. The answer: the development of an innovative football app for second screens.

CANAL FOOTBALL APP LAUNCHES

To kick off the new Ligue 1 season with a bang, Canal+, introduced Canal Football App, a second-screen app designed exclusively for Canal+ subscribers. The app, which uses EVS’ second screen media delivery platform, C-Cast, was successfully launched during the live broadcast of the 2012-2013 season’s first headline match.

The app is the first of its kind, providing multicam video clips of match action in near real-time, up-to-the-minute statistics and bonus material such as pre-game coverage and interviews. It also features filmed reactions from the Canal+ live football programme, Canal Football Club, as well as the ability to interact via social networks. The app is available on iOS for iPhone and iPad users as well as on devices using Android.

ENABLED BY C-CAST TECHNOLOGY

All of the app’s content is fed through EVS’ C-Cast automated hardware and software solution. C-Cast was developed to take advantage of the vast amount of unused content that is recorded on EVS’ servers, and make it available in near real-time as additional premium content to end users’ connected devices.

C-Cast is not an app, but rather the platform that feeds it, allowing content providers to generate exclusive content on their own application interface. C-Cast operates as a set of integrated tools used as an add-on to any live EVS multi-camera production infrastructure in OB and studio facilities.

C-Cast instantly processes and transfers live multicam media recorded on EVS’ XT/XS production servers, along with descriptive metadata direct to web-connected devices. The EVS platform creates a second-screen timeline of events being produced, into which external elements such as match statistics can be inserted. With an open architecture-based API, broadcasters can build their own web interface and integrate social media, enabling a high degree of interactivity and facilitating cause-and-effect programming, which can be monetised through subscriptions, sponsorship or even merchandising.

MULTI-SCREEN PRODUCTION WORKFLOW

Multi-screen production workflow

From the venue

During the match, Euro Media France, the company in charge of the production, creates clips and associated metadata, such as keywords describing the action and timecode references, using EVS’ IPDirector. Key action shots and their references are then automatically transferred to C-Cast Central, hosted by Amazon, where they are available in multiple angles, and in a proxy file format. This is made possible by EVS’ synchronised multicam recording process and the C-Cast Agent – a 1U server that communicates with the XT servers and acts as a gateway to the central database. Graphics showing match statistics – created by Symah Vision Technology – are also integrated into the database using the system’s advanced API.

From the studio

Back at the Canal+ studio while the match is being played, operators using IPDirector create highlight packages and enrich content with exclusive and real-time filmed reactions from Canal Football Club’s presenters and their guests (filmed reactions are not seen in the regular programme).

Canal+ uses IPDirector in both the OB truck and the studio. However, it’s also possible to use the production asset management suite solely from the studio.

To the second-screen

As a result, in less than two minutes, the C-Cast database feeds the linked web interface with the packaged media direct to football fans. The NetcoSports Group is responsible for the branded design and interface.

THE RESULTS – MORE ENGAGEMENT, MORE REVENUE

Today more than 70% of tablet owners watch sports on their TVs while using their web-connected device as asecond screen to follow parallel stats or exchange tweets with other fans. C-Cast enables broadcasters to take advantage, rather than risk the effects of, social media engagement, giving consumers more reasons to engage with the content they’re consuming and introducing new revenue opportunities to broadcasters.

The results – more engagement, more revenue“C-Cast truly personalises the viewer’s experience,” said Nicolas Tissier, project manager of the Canal Football App at Canal+. “Just seconds after a clip has been created it’s instantly available on the app’s timeline for review. Users can then select any camera in the stadium or on the pitch to view the action from their preferred angle.”

Providing users with a more personalised experience adds value without adding expense, explains François-Charles Bideaux, director of sports production at Canal+: “C-Cast was easily integrated into our existing EVS live production infrastructure, and with the added value it brings, the marginal production costs can be recovered quickly.”

By February 2013, the Canal Football app had been downloaded to 414,000 tablets and smartphones: 354,000 iOS devices and 60,000 Android devices. Users visit the app an average of twice per match, watching 15-20 clips per visit, and spending an average of 30 minutes on the app per visit (one hour in total). The most popular feature is the timeline with exclusive clips and multi-camera angle highlights.

In addition to Ligue 1 action, Canal+ subscribers were able to follow live coverage of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on the Canal Football App.

BENEFITS

  • Enriched user experience

     

    • Access to unseen camera angles and exclusive editorial content in near real-time
    • Combination of unseen content with social networking and third-party services (statistics)
  • Content monetisation

     

    • Available content use is maximised instead of being wasted
  • Limited impact on operational costs

     

    • Simple add-on to existing live production infrastructure
    • Resources at the venue are kept to a minimum due to remote connectivity

WATCH VIDEO

To kick off the new Ligue 1 season with a bang, Canal+, introduced Canal Football App, a second-screen app designed exclusively for Canal+ subscribers. The app, which uses EVS' second screen media delivery platform, C-Cast, was successfully launched during the live broadcast of the 2012-2013 season’s first headline match.