Last year, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil set a new precedent for an end-user multimedia application as millions of consumers worldwide engaged with secondscreen content. This idea was expanded for the SEA Games, a biennial multi-sport event involving 11 countries of Southeast Asia. During planning of the games, held this year in Singapore, the Singapore Southeast Asian Games Organising Committee (SINGSOC) knew they wanted to give audiences the first-ever mobile application for an international multi-sport event.
Broadcasters, event organizers and rights holders around the world are learning that to keep audiences interested in a live broadcast you need make sure it’s as engaging as possible. One way that sports, in particular,is providing a more immersive experience is through the aggregation of multimedia content to mobile devices.
These connected apps are quickly becoming less of a secondary platform for content viewing and more of a primary device on which to consume and enjoy entertainment.
The challenges posed by producing and distributing content for an event of this size and scale were not taken lightly. EVS operators had to produce content from five competitions at any given time on up to 20 productions a day for 15 straight days. The pace of undertaking this kind of challenge is certainly a different kind of beast to that of producing a football tournament where there’s only one round in which two games happen at once.
The constant scheduling changes provided additional challenges for operators. These new start times meant infrastructures had to be flexible to work quickly, efficiently and without error.
EVS’ C-Cast – among the EVS live production solutions implemented at the Games – was easily able to cope with the tremendous amount of content produced for the mobile application. C-Cast provides unseen, exceptional content to sports fans and is the only platform that can deliver this level of live content in a compelling fashion.
Partnering with SINGSOC, EVS designed a cloudbased second-screen delivery platform that allowed users to access live games, near-live multicam clips, highlights and replays on a mobile app designed by NETCO SPORTS. This app featured content from all 36 sports at the SEA Games, including swimming, boxing, rugby, cycling and table tennis.
The live multimedia production system provided by EVS leveraged the EVS replay servers deployed at each venue and IP connectivity between the venues and the Games Headquarters (GHQ) to produce in parallel to the live broadcast a near-live experience consisting of multicam clips and rich metadata. Based on EVS C-Cast technology, the multimedia system allowed the production of hundreds of hours of sports coverage with worldwide delivery directly to the app.
EVS was the prime service provider for the overall multimedia production, based on two XT3 live production servers and five IPDirector asset management suites. The EVS C-Cast infrastructure connected five venues to a private cloud. This meant that content from five sports could be edited on the fly at any time for delivery by C-Cast. All key actions were segmented live on IPDirector, triggering a fast, automatic and remote extraction of the multicam angles. Within seconds, action from the broadcast feed – plus multicam angles – were uploaded to C-Cast Central
The operator would then review the content using C-Cast Workspace to select the best angles and tag them with the appropriate metadata to describe the action. Once approved, the SEA Games TV App was immediately updated with these latest clips for viewers to consume from their devices.
This first-ever multi-sport multimedia app generated an incredible amount of demand and consumer usage figures support that.
Across the two-week period of the games,the mobile application had a total of 317,618 users. It was available on both Android and iOS devices with these platforms taking a 60%/40% split respectively.
Over that same period, users generated more than 37 million sessions of video and data consumption. 50% of this was from Singapore itself with the other half of views shared across the rest of the world. 90% of the applications’ users returned after their first use – a huge consumer retention rate.
Of all of these sessions, the average time was just over eight minutes, nearly 30% longer than that of similar sports consumption apps in 2014 – proof of a growing interest in consuming sports on mobile devices. 80% of video views were of live feeds, 40% of which were multi-camera angles chosen by the viewer. This tells us that the option to watch sports live from a number of angles is important to those users of the application.
Of the 36 sports at the games, football(with 1,500,000 video views), basketball(600,000 views) and swimming(500,000 views) were the three most popular on the SEA Games TV app.
The popularity of the application and its content is an indication to the sports world, including media rights holders, of what their audiences want. The huge reaction to the SEA Games TV app is even further proof of an international audience that uses their mobile devices as primary content consumption platforms. Live production infrastructures now need to ensure they’re fit-for-purpose to provide the kind of content delivery audiences are increasingly expecting. C-Cast is proving that by delivering the best quality video possible to virtually all connected devices, audiences can be kept engaged. It’s also proving that it is as reliable as the EVS solutions already being used at major sports events. C-Cast, and the options it opens up, will likely become a standard component in live production, just like the XT3 live production server.