Aspera, EVS Execs: Changing Sports Fans’ Expectations Have Created Challenges for Media Companies

Today’s sports fans have different expectations and demands for the content they are viewing, and that has created challenges for media companies and production teams delivering sports content, according to executives at IBM company Aspera and EVS Broadcast Equipment, a Belgium-based provider of digital video production systems for live broadcasts.

In a Dec. 7 webinar, James Stellpflug, EVS VP of product marketing, compared today’s sports content viewers to his kids, saying: “Their expectation level is different: the way they immerse [themselves] with content, the way they expect to consume it, and the way that they traverse through their devices and the end points and really expect that these tools and platforms need to deliver more content, need to do it faster, and create a much better experience for those fans.”

On the “other side of the curve” are the content creators and “the ones who have to actually tell those stories,” and “there’s a much larger demand happening,” he said, explaining: “They have to create more stories, they have to do it in a faster way and they have to ultimately do it saving costs as well in terms of staff time, in terms of facilities – and ultimately it’s about getting those files and allowing those production teams to work from anywhere and letting them see everything.”

Live production teams have more content to exchange between production sites and broadcast centers than ever before, he went on to say. For some sports events, “upwards of 3,000 clips” of content are exchanged per game, he said. One major challenge, he explained, is that throughout those transfers, “a lot of people managing the media movement are blind to what’s going on.” EVS started using Aspera to handle that huge volume of content, he said.

Aspera is able to use the same technology that it uses for its FASP file transfer, so that a company is “now able to deliver live-stream data from one side to the other with excellent quality, glitch-free play out and negligible startup time,” Andrea di Muzio, its director of professional services, said.

As a result, companies that previously relied on using satellite technology for short events can now use the Internet for that data instead, he said, predicting “this is going to be the next-generation breakthrough for us.”

Aspera and EVS announced in 2012 that they entered into a technology alliance and partnership to deliver complete end-to-end solutions for fast turnaround of live sports, news and entertainment production. The combined solution leveraged Aspera’s patented FASP software for high-speed transfer of content and EVS’s portfolio of ingest and production servers for live and near-live broadcast applications, the companies said at the time.

In 2014, the companies, along with Elemental, a supplier of software-defined video solutions for multiscreen content delivery, announced that they deployed the first large-scale system for high-resolution live video streaming via the cloud to enable viewers to watch live HD media and sporting events from their connected devices.