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Fan-Focused Future: Hyper-Personalization is Elevating Sports Streaming Experiences

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Live sports streaming is no longer as simple as watching a football or soccer game on streaming platforms. Today, there is a growing demand from viewers for hyper-personalization, enhanced viewing options and targeted ads while watching live sports events. According to Deloitte Insights, nearly one-third of fans seek personalization to elevate their sports-viewing experiences.

Offering personalized live sports streaming can be challenging, but the benefits for content providers are substantial and include enhanced user experiences, increased engagement, fan loyalty and retention. This article explores innovative personalization strategies for sports viewing, highlighting the critical role of advertising technology and cloud-native streaming solutions in delivering highly personalized and monetizable experiences to millions of viewers. 

How Personalization is Changing the Game of Live Sports Streaming

Live sports streaming is immensely popular today. A recent study from Kantar found that one in five new video-on-demand (VOD) subscribers is motivated by live sports. But viewers are looking for more than just a basic sports streaming experience. Viewers crave hyper-personalization and ads that are relevant to their interests.

Using personalization for live sports streaming enhances the user experience, increasing viewer engagement, boosting fan loyalty and improving content discovery. By catering to the individual preferences of viewers, content providers can make the sports streaming experience more relevant. Tailored user interfaces offer sports fans swift access to their favorite teams’ schedules, scores and news updates. When fans have an opportunity to watch their favorite sports, teams and players, their satisfaction with the streaming service grows.

Content providers can tailor content recommendations and notifications based on user behavior to drive viewer engagement during live sports events. In fact, providing personalized alerts regarding key moments, upcoming matches or related news has become a great way to keep viewers coming back to the streaming platform, fostering a deeper connection with the content.  Moreover, recognizing and catering to fans' interests breeds a sense of loyalty to the platform.

In the live sports streaming world, advanced personalization algorithms are also being used to improve content discovery. Sports fans can effortlessly explore new events and leagues matching their interests. Personalized content discovery broadens viewers’ horizons, exposing them to a diverse range of sports content beyond what traditional browsing might provide.

Revolutionary Approaches to Personalizing Live Sports Streaming Experiences

Today’s video service providers are embracing several strategies to improve personalization and enhance the live sports streaming experience, including multiview, real-time graphics and data, watch together, thematic sports channels and gamification.

Multiview empowers viewers by giving them the freedom to choose from multiple camera angles during live sports events. With multiview, viewers are no longer limited to a single perspective — they can focus in on preferred players, critical moments and unique camera angles — whatever interests them the most.

Utilizing real-time graphics and data allows viewers to customize the experience by choosing which graphics and data they want to see, including up-to-date statistics, scores and other relevant information.

With the “watch together” feature, viewers can watch live sports together with friends and family, irrespective of geographical locations. Watch together facilitates real-time interaction, synchronized playback and instant messaging, creating a communal experience. Users can generate their own viewing groups, enhancing engagement and broadening monetization opportunities for service providers.

Thematic sports channels are an opportunity to tailor content to niche audiences. Service providers can cater channels to viewers’ interests in a specific sport, league or event. These specialized channels curate content that resonates with viewers' preferences, reinforcing loyalty and connection to the platform. Whether they cover a certain soccer league or major tennis tournaments, thematic channels provide a personalized streaming experience.

Gamification elements inject interactivity and fun into the live sports streaming experience, allowing viewers to participate in challenges, quizzes and predictions related to the sports event. From predicting pitch outcomes in baseball to virtual races in motor racing, gamification ensures active viewer participation, making the streaming experience uniquely enjoyable for each individual.

Ad Tech’s Role in Personalizing Live Sports Streaming

Increasing fan engagement and satisfaction isn’t the only benefit of personalizing live sports streaming content. Service providers can also unlock new monetization opportunities with targeted ads. Personalized advertising approaches include server-side ad insertion (SSAI), frequency capping and advertising storytelling.

SSAI technology seamlessly integrates personalized ads into live stream content and stitches the ads into the stream. By leveraging user data such as preferences, demographics and behavior, service providers can insert relevant ads in real time, enhancing viewer satisfaction and minimizing ad fatigue, while boosting ad effectiveness and revenues for service providers.

Frequency capping is an ad management technique that ensures viewers are not overwhelmed by repetitive ads. Service providers can tailor ad exposure based on user interactions to maintain a balanced and enjoyable viewing experience. This approach prevents ad oversaturation, keeping viewers engaged and creating a positive perception of personalized ads – ultimately contributing to higher ad retention rates.

Advertising storytelling elevates the impact of targeted ads by delivering the ads to viewers in a specific order. The goal of ad storytelling is to create a cohesive narrative or message about a brand or product. The result is a memorable and personalized ad experience that enhances viewer recall and forges deeper connections with advertised products or services.

Tapping the Cloud for Personalized Live Sports Streaming

Personalized live sports streaming is essential to stay competitive in today’s growing market. By adopting a cloud-native streaming solution, service providers can take personalization to new heights and explore additional revenue streams. 

Cloud-based technology provides the scalability, real-time data processing and access to advanced machine learning required to fuel tailored live sports streaming experiences. Utilizing cloud-native technology such as SSAI, service providers can effectively bring personalized ads to millions of viewers. 

Leveraging global cloud infrastructure and a streaming solution with geo-redundancy, service providers can ensure highly reliable service uptime. Geo-redundancy is achieved by deploying a cloud-native streaming platform across multiple regions worldwide. This is critical to enable broadcast quality uptime for live sports events.

In a geo-redundant configuration, the ad insertion servers, origin storage, databases and other components are provisioned across multiple regions such as the U.S. East (North Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), and more. If one region experiences a failure, traffic will be routed to another active region. Infrastructure tools such as traffic manager, Route 53 and CloudFront can be used to implement geo-balancing, distributing user traffic across servers in the nearest regions. This provides lower latency content delivery tailored to each user's location. A geo-balanced architecture leverages the massive global footprint of multiple cloud infrastructures to deliver reliable, low-latency ad insertion and video streaming. By harnessing cloud infrastructure within regions, today’s leading cloud streaming solutions can guarantee service uptime while tailoring the content delivery location to each user's geography.

With the integration of cloud infrastructure, innovations such as multiview and watch together, and cutting-edge advertising technology, live sports streaming enables fans to be at the forefront of every exhilarating moment.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Harmonic. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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