Online TV Enhances Viewing Experience (Connected World Series-IV)

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Online TV Enhances Viewing Experience (Connected World Series –IV)

Naresh Wadhwa, President and Country Manager, Cisco India

In shops, homes, streets, and cafes – in fact, anywhere with a TV – scores of Indians watched what was one of the most important events in the country's history– the Cricket World Cup 2011. While thousands watched the event over television, millions watched the matches online. According to a report from comScore, online video viewing in India experienced a sharp increase in February and March 2011 when more than 37 million video streams were viewed on sports sites. Nearly 32 million viewers watched online video from a home or work location, representing 75 percent of the entire online audience (these figures do not include viewing from Internet cafes or via mobile devices).

This means technology is changing the way we experience sports whether in the stadium or outside of it. Live broadcasts from Social media, online streaming, and HDTV are playing an important role in providing fans with the ability to view, share, replay and relive mega sports events. Increasing broadband penetration in India is fuelling this ability further. Use of smartphones and other mobile devices is raising user demand and prompting organizers to seek solutions that enhance viewing experience.

ICT is being leveraged create an immersive and differentiated experience for fans. Solutions that employ Wi-Fi are being deployed to provide highly secure network access in real-time, to mobile applications and services, so that thousands of fans congregating at sports venues simultaneously enjoy the matches without a glitch. To cite an example a technology friendly stadium created for fans watching the US Super bowl has helped enhance viewer experience multifold. Multiple video screens along several apps developed for iPad/iPhone users helped fans to receive online real-time stats and vote for the ‘Most Valuable Player’ through their phones at the end of the game.

Similarly to fulfill the demands of tech savvy spectators watching the Rugby World Cup 2011, the Eden Park stadium in Auckland, New Zealand has plans to roll out Wi-Fi, video, digital media signage and other networking technologies to provide content everywhere, engage audiences even when they are out of their seats and automate ticketing processes, security and building management. This has improved utility of the venue, created opportunities to host new types of events and meetings and generate new forms of revenue through advertising, sponsor messages. Operational efficiency is achieved by reducing the number of IT staff needed for implementation. The use of technology will help deliver a powerful and personalized experience to the 95,000 visitors expected to travel from overseas to New Zealand for the event.

While viewers benefit from enhanced experience, venue owners and operators use ICT solutions to convert sports venues into marketing platforms for advertising, sponsorship, and merchandising. Venue specific offerings, such as video replays, loyalty programs, event statistics, information and logistics, food and beverage purchases all translate into revenue growth potential. Attaching promotions to periods of time or critical moments in a match helps sponsors engage fans through customized offerings that align with the brand objectives. Facilitating interactive telepresence sessions and customized viewing opportunities (For ex: enabling the fan to choose preferences for camera angles, commentators, venues, and interviews.) add to the benefit.

Multiple high-definition video monitors and digital signage customized for a particular event can be integrated with handheld devices, enabling access to, and replay of video content. Solutions that mix various types of video content can facilitate the upgrade and reselling of tickets, even provide directions to seats. The possibilities are endless!

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