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Video: What Are the Challenges of Bringing Live Linear to the Masses?

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Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Jason Thibeault: What are some of the challenges that we face today in bringing live linear streaming to the masses?

Andre Vawdrey: At NBC Sports, we’re still event-based, but from a streaming perspective, as the shift has gone, really because of the audience, to linear, I would say for us it’s source acquisition. and the stability therein. So, on an event-based model, we had the budget to be able to either downlink a feed from a stadium, or if the stadium had connectivity, to get a point-to-point circuit as a backup and it was relatively easy. So source was never the issue--it was always beyond our origin--but now it's the opposite. Since it's not as cost-efficient to get something from satellite 24/7 or fiber 24/7, moving to that linear model, going either over the open internet or other forms, it's definitely source acquisition.

Rob Post: For us, in order to create new product experiences, you really need to understand and know a lot about the metadata that's out there for the content. And while that metadata exists in certain formats, or is in Excel sheets, or is in a PDF somewhere, it's really not consumable that often in programmatic ways. And you really have to work hard in order to tie them all together in order to find out like, who are the teams in that sporting event? Or when did that originally air? Who are the actors in that movie? You'd have to do a lot in order to pull that all together, and that's the basic building blocks for how you can build more engaging consumer experiences.

We rely on our programmers to help us with the signal acquisition piece, but there's still quite a bit that needs to get transformed in order to bring it to a truly internet-ready type service, with regards to bringing the metadata along with the signal, decorating the feeds with all the control signals that are there, and just getting an aggregation at one single point. That'd be great for us if everything was aggregated at one place, but it's not quite that way today.

Guy Tasaka: Our challenge is less technical than it is financial, because at any one time the cost of doing livestreams doesn't justify the audience that'll actually see the livestream. So with our audiences, we might have 200 people watching at any one time, so the cost of trying to do a livestream doesn't justify the live audience. For us, a lot of time, it’s just much easier to do live to tape, and then just put it back into the content mix.

Igor Oreper: It's the convergence of broadcast and digital for us, that is the biggest challenge, both in terms of expectations, how our customers expect us to offer that service as a service provider, and how the audience expects to consume that content. Also, from a programmer's perspective, they're used to 5-8 second broadcast delays in the world of paid TV, and that's very different when you're talking digital. At the end of the day, our goal is really to help customers navigate that convergence between broadcast and digital. Our heritage is in broadcast, but digital is obviously here to stay, and we're embracing that and trying to help our customers fulfill it. But I think someone who comes from the broadcast world and says, "I need these networks up because we're launching a digital product"--their expectations of what that user experience is and how consumers use it are very different from someone who starts in the digital space who maybe hasn't done broadcast before.

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