There’s no doubt that we are all ready to leave Covid-19 in the past. The unprecedented effects from the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the world for years to come. Although the broadcasting industry has quickly adapted to new requirements and restrictions, widespread adoption of cloud-based workflows and an increased demand for IP delivery have enabled organisations to continue with projects.
In this blog, we revisit our own early response to the pandemic, explore how the industry is changing, and assess the future of sports broadcasting following on from this upheaval.
The Shift to Remote Working
Fortunately, Cerberus was well equipped to deal with remote working challenges. Operating within the IP world, meant that our team saw an increase in broadcasters and content owners looking for socially distanced solutions. Many needed to navigate the transition from traditional satellite infrastructure over to IP delivery, and we were able to help facilitate those industry changes. IP has allowed content delivery to be much more flexible during the pandemic and adapt to last minute event rescheduling.
Of course, sports broadcasting has been severely impacted by Covid over the last year or so. Despite this, the industry has proven that it’s equipped with the necessary tools to manage social distancing restrictions. Some of those tools are personal – sheer perseverance and ingenuity spring to mind! But some of them are built into the new technologies and cloud-based infrastructure which have been vital in delivering matches safely.
The Important Role of IP
Broadcasting organisations have shown incredible resilience. Particularly in the sports broadcasting world, which has dealt with a huge amount of upheaval caused by match cancellations and then extensive safety measures being put in place. Since the pandemic began, our team has worked with new sports customers to deliver content remotely. Often this involved shipping the necessary hardware and then supporting infrastructure set-up via a video/phone call. In some cases where last minute rights had been secured, we needed to arrange technical delivery for matches within 20 minutes using cloud-based infrastructure.
IP contribution and distribution has played an important role in navigating the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Even when live events restarted, there were still match cancellations and challenges with players having to undergo regular Covid screenings. IP offers the operational benefit of being able to respond to changing circumstances. This is particularly useful for sports such as cricket and tennis which don’t have a fixed running time but also for any event where changes to schedules occur at the last minute.
What’s Next for the World of Sports Broadcasting?
Faster production turnarounds and the demand for more responsive delivery methods will be here to stay. Especially in live sports, where teams are now dealing with a backlog of matches and events. Broadcasters and rights owners will be playing catch up over the next year. Now that they have experienced more flexible workflows it seems unlikely that they will return to legacy infrastructure. It is likely that organisations will be much more conscious of putting staff on flights if infrastructure can be set-up remotely. Keeping your carbon footprint down hasn’t been such a big issue while teams operate from home, but once flights become an option again companies will want to avoid unnecessary travel.
Staying responsive has been vital for organisations during Covid and because IP doesn’t require expensive fixed-cost resources such as satellite trucks, IP links can be set up and adapted as needed. This flexibility will have value for sports far beyond the impact of Covid, as organisations will need to look at efficiency wherever possible. It also opens up real potential for niche sports to reach new audiences by using pay as you go, cloud-based infrastructure to manage feeds for multiple destinations in a cost-effective way.