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The secret to customer success for IP-based live sports production

May 10,2021

By: Inbal Golan, VP Customer success, LiveU

In contrast to other content types, sports often loses its value if it is not broadcast live. This can include everything from the action on the field to post event interviews. These dynamics place extra pressure on sports broadcasters and production companies to manage the risks that might threaten the delivery of their live broadcast. When it comes to live sports event coverage, you simply can’t get it wrong.

IP video transmission is proving ever more popular as the reliable, flexible and cost-effective foundation of any live sports broadcast. This is testament not only to the evolution and reliability of the technology, but also to the customer success teams working behind the scenes. For any live production there will always be risks and from an IP-based production perspective, these can include network issues, video quality challenges and endpoint failures.

 

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Understanding your sports production vision

Customer success starts with understanding the vision of the broadcaster or production company for their live sports event production. Customers are looking for a partner, rather than a service provider.

This was the case for WRC Promoter, the commercial rights owner of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). WRC Promoter wanted to deliver more live content in some of the toughest live production conditions of any tier 1 sports event on the planet. They also wanted to reduce costs and LiveU’s solution enabled them to do this by minimizing manual memory card collection as well as by doing more post-production remotely.

LiveU built WRC Promoter a bespoke IP video transmission workflow for the WRC and provided full training and consultation to their team to ensure systems on both sides were fully integrated.

Florian Ruth, Director of Content and Production at WRC Promoter said, “Using LiveU allows us to think about covering the World Rally Championship in a different way. It enables us to work in areas we have never been able to in the past as we have always had to think about transport and delivery of the produced footage. With LiveU we don’t need any exit routes from our stage positions anymore. Also, we don’t have to shuttle memory cards back and forth with helicopters or couriers as all this can be done by LiveU.”

At LiveU, we conduct a health check of the IP transmission workflow before a live sports event to ensure that the customer is set up for success. This entails turning on all LiveU devices beforehand to test the entire workflow, from server side to the content delivery network (CDN) which delivers the content to the destination platform.

Delivering mission-critical support

Since not all issues can be anticipated, customers still depend upon email, phone and chat support to report and resolve unforeseen issues that arise during the course of a live sports event. This support needs to be 24/7 and prepared to react fast.

The LiveU support team is on hand to respond no matter the hour. On top of this, we make available dedicated specialists on-site or online. Given the premium that live sports content commands, we can provide immediate “mission-critical” support to ensure productions run smoothly.

Proactive monitoring of your sports event production

Sports broadcasters and production companies need a partner that has proven experience in identifying and resolving potential issues before they happen.

The LiveU network operations center (NOC) is responsible for monitoring the systems that support an IP-based production to ensure they are continuously healthy. The NOC is LiveU’s very own “early warning system” and the team’s goal is to catch all failure events before they happen. The NOC has high standards. During a typical one hour live sports event, they expect zero failures.

The NOC collects real time data from monitors attached to the LiveU units being used by customers in the field. The data is transmitted back to the NOC’s central location where it is visualized and constantly interrogated by specialist technicians who also receive alerts when data indicates that problems may arise (e.g. video latency has fluctuated). This is all supported by real-time communication with the customer.

The LiveU customer success philosophy

Summarising LiveU’s relentless focus on customer success, Inbal Golan, VP of Customer Success at LiveU said, “The company takes a proactive, holistic and organization-level approach to ensure our customers smooth and successful live broadcasting. Proactively monitoring the health of our customers’ IP workflow in real time makes all the difference to our ability to predict and fix failures before they happen”.

At LiveU we understand how important it is to ensure a reliable live sports broadcast. It is for this reason that our customer success approach goes way beyond reactive support. We watch over the very infrastructure that underpins your live production so that you can focus on delivering your vision.

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