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For your eyes only: Creating a hyper-personalised sports experience

Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director, F1® Business, Tata Communications | Sept. 16, 2016
Mehul shares his observations on the evolution of live broadcasting of the highly intense global sporting event.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The scintillating pace of an F1 Grand Prix can be seen as a microcosm of the modern broadcast entertainment landscape. The action comes thick and fast, making it seemingly impossible to capture every moment as it happens in real time.

As the leaders play a game of cat and mouse for first place, one of the favourites crashes out due to a technical failure, while the pack jockey for a good position to mount a challenge for a points finish. Thanks to action replays, state-of-the-art camera technology, live commentary and expert analysis in real time, modern viewers don't miss a moment and are kept fully up-to-speed with all the on-track action. 

With so many big moments occurring at one time, the role of an objective broadcast to many is to deliver the action viewers want to see most. However, as the viewing experience is subjective, it's impossible for a broadcaster to know exactly what action on the track every individual viewer wants to see and deliver it to their screen.

What isn't impossible, however, is to realise the next evolution of live broadcasting which is the singular experience, delivered via a singular stream. Currently, events are broadcast live based on their importance and demand from audiences to watch them. 

The on-demand tomorrow

The concept of a singular stream goes beyond this model, dictating that you could request to watch whatever event is happening live wherever it is, whenever you want and it would be streamed to your device. Perhaps you are not interested in watching the Sunday lunchtime football, but are unable to watch your son play football because you have to take your daughter for her swimming lesson. 

With the existence of the singular experience, you could request to stream your son's football match on your phone so you can watch him score the winner, at the same time as seeing your daughter swim her first full length of the pool without armbands.

Ofcom's recent UK Communications Market Report found that almost six in ten adults used a video-on-demand (VoD) service in 2015, with over a quarter watching paid-for VoD services each week. 

The culture of having whatever content we want, whenever, wherever, on any device has become increasingly engrained, meaning broadcasters must push the boundaries of what content can be delivered as hyper-personalised services become an expectation rather than a possibility.

Taking the singular experience concept a step further, perhaps one day it will be possible to not only watch any live event you want to but to also watch it from your own perspective. Returning to the F1 example, the singular experience could allow you to focus on your favourite driver, team or even corner.


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