In the midst of the inaugural European Championships – a new multisport event being held in Glasgow and Berlin 02 - 12 August – we sat down with Louis Matignon, Multiplatform Solutions Manager at Eurovision Media Services (EMS) to discuss how the organization is bringing content distribution to the next level.
Eurovision Media Services is known to be a leader in content distribution. How are you taking this to the next level with digital services?
As the business arm of the European Broadcasting Union, EMS has always been at the forefront when it comes to distributing live content. Whether it's over satellite, fibre or IP we deliver some of the world's top events to media organisations and sports federations on a daily basis. In the past, this predominately meant that we had to ensure our clients received access to the live feeds from the event in a quick and reliable way. Nowadays, these same clients can't afford not to highlight their content on multiple platforms, including social media. Over the last few years, we have built up a digital ecosystem of services to make this happen. Today, we are proud to say that we are elevating the digital experience for broadcasters and rightsholders by giving them access to more additional content from the event faster than ever before and in an easier way to manage.
What has been set up for the European Championships in terms of digital services?
As the Host Broadcaster we are at the heart of the operation, which gives us a unique position to help media organisations create and expose more stories on all platforms and maximise their reach. Earlier this year, we announced an upgrade to Eurovision Highway, our video-on-demand (VOD) platform that allows broadcast partners and rightsholders to preview, download and share broadcast quality video files related to an event or sport discipline. Being at the source of the live content, we can inject all multilateral content transmitted over the Eurovision Global Satellite and Fibre Network directly into the Eurovision Highway platform accessible by rightsholders.
For the European Championships, all of the additional content produced by our HB crews and not transmitted on the integrated feeds is going into this platform (e.g. highlights, ISOs, noticeable slow-motion, isocams, clips from ENG crews). We have also engaged dedicated ENG crews in Glasgow and Berlin to create additional stories to feed our rightsholders' storytelling. This content is distributed through Eurovision Highway.
On top of this, we have also introduced two platforms where broadcasters can easily find event content and branding assets to create social media and web clips. And there is, of course, the Eurovision Virtual Reality App to enable broadcasters provide a unique experience for audiences.
What is the role of the Digital Services Desk in Geneva?
Media organisations and sports federations production lines require content to be available quickly and cost effectively. For the purpose of European Championships we've extended the Digital Services Desk at our headquarters in Geneva with a mission to enrich the content. Our team of about 30 people watches each clip on Eurovision Highway adding specific metadata to the content – such as the name of the athlete, the sports category, the type of event and more – so that the journalists working under pressure can easily search and find the videos they are looking for. Thanks to the connectivity we have between the event sites and our Eurovision Control Centre (EVC) we are able to set up the Digital Services Desk here in Geneva and avoid the complexity of setting up such operation on-site as well as the costs of sending the team and so forth.
Why don't broadcasters do this themselves?
If broadcasters want to do this themselves, each of them would have to dedicate resources to perform the same job. This is not only highly inefficient, but also not cost effective. By having us deliver the service through our Digital Services Desk, we are solving a common and complex problem for our clients. Our objective is to ensure that our righsholders can focus on producing great content instead of wasting time trying to find the footage they need or addressing technical and operational issues.
Do you see a lot of interest in the lead up to the European Championships?
Yes, we held a number of content workshops with broadcasters before the event and this was one of the services they expressed a big need for. With more pressure to deliver content to multiple platforms, broadcasters need access to content as soon after or during the event as possible. With this tool, we can make it happen.
Do you think this is a new standard for big events?
Based on the feedback so far, I'm sure that this will become a norm for all big events. Maybe even smaller ones too. We're not going to move backwards in time. Broadcasters and sports federations are going to have to continue to find ways to exploit content for more platforms and we will be there to help.