New Ways to Watch: Personalization and Perspective for Live Sports

News & Media

By Fergal Ringrose
Read the Original article in NAB Amplify here

Technology developed by Austrian company NativeWaves is helping German consumers who have connected Samsung Smart televisions to personalize their viewing experience across multiple screens.

The development has been orchestrated by Munich-based B1SmartTV. Its partnership with Samsung Electronics in Germany has ensured that the Sportworld app is available on more than five million Samsung Smart TVs that have been released in Germany since 2017. The Sportworld app is also currently available on all the latest market-ready Samsung Smart TV models.

B1SmartTV has now incorporated NativeWaves’ multiscreen technology into the Sportworld Smartphone app. Viewers can download this app on their Android or iOS devices to watch the Samsung “MyView” experience, which delivers synchronized additional content and data from sporting events.

Solutions > Synced Multiscreen Experience - synced devices showing a cycle race
The NativeWaves Hybrid Multiview experience provides viewers with an immersive and personalized media experience allowing them to choose from multiple streams of video, audio and data, from live events, and watch it from their own perspective.

Initially, viewers can access second-screen content from 40 live football games across the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which were held July 10 through August 1 in the United States. Additional multiview content will be added in the future.

The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup is the 16th edition of the biennial international men’s football championship organized by North America, Central American and the Caribbean’s football ruling body CONCACAF. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held from July 2-25, but was later rescheduled for July 10 through August 1. Mexico held the role of defending champion. For the first time, the video assistant referee (VAR) system is being used at the tournament.

NAB Amplify caught up with NativeWaves CEO and Founder Christof Haslauer to learn more about how the company’s technology gives broadcasters a way of engaging viewers by offering them additional content on their phones and tablets — and potentially creating new revenue streams for advertisers and sponsors.

How did this collaboration with B1SmartTV come about? Did they approach NativeWaves, and how did the collaboration come to fruition for the Samsung Sportsworld app?

B1SmartTV, the exclusive partner with Samsung Electronics GmbH, launched the Sportworld app on Samsung Smart TVs in 2018 and this app has been available to Samsung Smart TV customers since then. Samsung consumers in Germany who connected their Smart TV to the internet were provided free access to content from leading sport channels in the market, through the Sportworld app.

B1SmartTV has always been on the lookout for innovative experiences they could deliver to Samsung customers in Germany, who have a connected Samsung Smart TV. This is why they approached NativeWaves. The NativeWaves Hybrid Multiview experience provides viewers with an immersive and personalized media experience allowing them to choose from multiple streams of video, audio and data, from live events and watch it from their own personal perspective.

NativeWaves CEO Chrisof Haslauer, pictured working on delivery of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) 2021, in collaboration with ProSieben Sat1.

The NativeWaves experience was the ideal companion to the Sportworld app available on connected Samsung TVs. It delivered the ideal second-screen experience, overcoming all the latency issues that the broadcast industry had faced for decades — and delivered a personalized viewer experience.

Initially, viewers can access second-screen content from 40 live football games across the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Additional multiview content will be added in the future.

Samsung Germany agreed with this and the Sportworld mobile app was born. The CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is the first multiview event to be delivered on the Sportworld app, will be followed by 13 games (one game a week) from the Korean Football League.

What adaptations — if any — did NativeWaves have to make to your technology in order to run on the Sportworld Smartphone app? Can you give us any more insight into what’s actually going on behind the scenes for this multiscreen solution?

In all honesty, there were not many changes that were needed. Our technology has been built in a very flexible and modular fashion and this enables us to react quickly when needed.

We did face a couple of challenges to ensure the smooth delivery of these events to the Sportworld mobile app. The first challenge was around having to assist B1SmartTV to build the Sportworld mobile app. Under normal circumstances, we provide our partner with our Core SDK, which they integrate into their app. This SDK controls all the core functionalities of the NativeWaves experience. In the case of the Sportworld mobile app, we had to get involved in building the app, which was different.

The second challenge we faced was with logistics in getting the input feeds. We could not get our encoders to the US in time for the games, which meant we had to rely on digital input of the feeds. This required us to make some changes to receive the incoming digital feeds, which was possible due to the flexibility of the system.

“All this additional content is delivered in perfect sync to the main broadcast signal on the TV, enabling a perfect second-screen experience.”

– Christof Haslauer

As you are aware, live sport broadcast today has multiple cameras, audio and data feeds all involved in creating a live TV broadcast. The viewer, however, only sees one video feed that the director selects at any point in time. Similarly, the viewer sees the data that is selected for him by the director. There is no room for personalization in linear broadcast, and a lot of content created is wasted.

At NativeWaves we work with broadcasters, rights holders and data aggregators such as OPTA Stats Perform to use all the content that has been created, and orchestrate the delivery of this additional content including video, audio and data feeds in a meaningful way to the user’s mobile device, enabling viewers to watch an event from their own perspective. What’s more, all this additional content is delivered in perfect sync to the main broadcast signal on the TV, enabling a perfect second-screen experience.

We provide an end-to-end solution on the production side: we take all the additional video and audio feeds either using the NativeWaves AVCoder or using digital formats and deliver them to our cloud. Here the video, audio and data are all synchronized using our sync engine and delivered to the broadcaster’s consumer app, which has the NativeWaves Core SDK incorporated.

The NativeWaves user interface: “There is no room for personalization in linear broadcast, and a lot of content created is wasted.”

Our web-based Dynamic UX delivers viewer personalization by allowing viewers to choose their preferred camera angle, listen to commentary of their choice and access live and historical data on the players and teams. To deliver the perfect second-screen experience, the core SDK listens to the audio from the game on TV for five seconds. The SDK sends this information to the cloud where our sync engine uses this information to provide SDK with the exact sync parameters to deliver a perfectly synced second-screen experience.

Is this a “one-off” collaboration, enabling consumers to see the world of live sports from a different perspective — or can you point to other similar collaborations NativeWaves is currently engaged in around the world with other broadcasters and developers?

This is not a “one-off” collaboration. We started with multiview delivery of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as the first event, and this will be followed by games from the Korean Football League.

We are currently working to deliver more and more diverse sport experiences on the Sportworld app. We are also currently in discussion with multiple broadcasters to add new sport experiences, incorporated with the NativeWaves multiview experience, to the Sportworld mobile app.

The NativeWaves experience was first delivered in 2019 by Servus TV and RedBull Media House in Austria when they delivered the MotoGP 2019 season with the NativeWaves experience to their viewers. We are currently working with ProSieben Sat1 to deliver the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) 2021 races, to their viewers, as part of an ongoing trial. More discussions are ongoing with multiple leagues and broadcasters to enable viewers to get a synced and personalized viewing experience of the sport they love by adopting the NativeWaves solution.

“We work with broadcasters, rights holders and data aggregators such as OPTA stats perform to use all the content that has been created, and orchestrate the delivery of this additional content including video, audio and data feeds in a meaningful way to the user’s mobile device.”

– Christof Haslauer

Gerd Weiner, CEO of B1SmartTV, said: “In every live production, there are always camera angles that the audience doesn’t see because traditional broadcast delivery relies on one screen and one director’s vision of how the program should look. The multiscreen solution developed by NativeWaves solves this problem by offering a perfectly synchronized, latency-free second-screen outlet for additional content. It enables viewers to enjoy their favorite sporting events in a more exciting and immersive way.”

Samsung Electronics GmbH has welcomed the inclusion of multiscreen technology into its Sportworld app. Mike Henkelmann, the company’s director marketing consumer electronics, said: “With the Sportworld Mobile App, we are offering our users an attractive added value that enriches our TV portfolio and the ‘Made for Germany’ program in equal measure. If you can’t get enough of top-class sort in high definition quality, you’ll love Samsung’s new sports app.”

Mediapro and The Switch Support CONCACAF Gold Cup Coverage

This is not a “one-off” collaboration. We started with multiview delivery of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as the first event, and this will be followed by games from the Korean Football League.

We are currently working to deliver more and more diverse sport experiences on the Sportworld app. We are also currently in discussion with multiple broadcasters to add new sport experiences, incorporated with the NativeWaves multiview experience, to the Sportworld mobile app.

The NativeWaves experience was first delivered in 2019 by Servus TV and RedBull Media House in Austria when they delivered the MotoGP 2019 season with the NativeWaves experience to their viewers. We are currently working with ProSieben Sat1 to deliver the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) 2021 races, to their viewers, as part of an ongoing trial. More discussions are ongoing with multiple leagues and broadcasters to enable viewers to get a synced and personalized viewing experience of the sport they love by adopting the NativeWaves solution.

Odyssey, MEDIAPRO Canada’s 40ft 4K expando mobile, was on-site at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale to produce a total of nine games.

Mediapro Group was selected by CONCACAF to produce live coverage of the preliminary rounds of the 2021 Gold Cup, the 16th edition of the region’s top national team soccer tournament.

Odyssey, Mediapro Canada’s 40ft 4K expando mobile, was on-site at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale to produce a total of nine games for the live broadcast. All Prelims matches were broadcast live on OneSoccer, MEDIAPRO Canada’s dedicated soccer channel, which is also airing live coverage of the entire Gold Cup.

CONCACAF also selected the Mediapro Group as its official supplier for the implementation of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology for its competitions, including the Gold Cup (July 10-August 1), with multiple units of VAR used throughout the tournament.

Mediapro is already the official supplier of VAR technology for several official competitions, including top-tier soccer leagues in Portugal, Greece, Mexico, Chile and the United Arab Emirates, and is responsible for the video refereeing service for many of the most important continental competitions in the world at both club level, as well as national teams, such as the Copa Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana, the Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations.

Meanwhile, The Switch is providing connectivity and transmission services to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Switch is leveraging its first-mile connectivity expertise and network reach to provide delivery of live video feeds from stadiums across the United States.

The Switch is further distributing the production to international broadcasters via its cloud-based transmission system, provided through its MIMiC platform, enabling fans throughout the region and around the world to enjoy uninterrupted coverage from every venue.

CONCACAF relies on The Switch’s ability to provide connectivity from any major North American sports venue and its fiber delivery network to transport more than 2,000 hours of uninterrupted live feeds to the Confederation’s production center in Florida. For distribution to international broadcasters, CONCACAF is also relying for the first time on MIMiC Transmission — part of The Switch’s Cloud Video Services platform. The Switch is supporting all 31 matches of the Gold Cup. It is also working with the main broadcast rightsholder, Univision, by delivering live feeds for its broadcast and streaming coverage.

The 2021 Gold Cup tournament was played in 11 stadiums across the US, with the final held on August 1 in Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, home of the NFL’s Raiders. Fans were allowed to attend matches, but not all stadiums were at full capacity.

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