The Impact of AI on Sports Content

AI is nothing new now. We’ve all seen it taking over people’s posts on LinkedIn, generating blogs and featuring in a plethora of panel discussions. What’s new is the impact it’s having on the sports media industry. On Episode 21 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we were joined by Meghna Krishna, the Chief Revenue Officer at VideoVerse, to discuss the changes that she’s seeing AI make in the sports space. 

How do you see AI changing content creation and OTT streaming moving forward?

A lot of the customers that we’re working with have created automated highlights using AI. Obviously there’s a human in the loop and there are constant feedback cycles being developed too, but there’s so much requirement in terms of content, data and analysis, and interactivity that it’s humanly impossible to meet those requirements as they grow. AI will become a big part of providing those services. I would say that anyone who’s not using AI for video analysis currently needs to catch up quickly, because it’s the only way you’ll be able to generate the volume and quality of content that your competitors are producing at the speed with which they’re doing it. 

Personalisation is another area that AI is helping us develop. I’m more interested in watching the content that appeals to me instantly – I don’t want to be scrolling through 500 pieces of content to find the one thing that I’m interested in. An individual understanding of your customers is going to be an essential part of meeting their content requirements – hence the need for AI. Advertising, merchandising, clickable ads and shoppable videos are all going to be serviced with technology and AI too. Football is not only watched in 50 countries, it’s watched across the word, and the commentary translation is being done by AI now too. AI is becoming all encompassing. It’s not just in one or two places, it’s everywhere you look.

How is AI improving the experience of sports fans across the globe?

Personalised videos and ads that I can connect with are changing how people interact with content. With personalisation comes interactivity. The NBA had this place in the Metaverse where you could actually go in and be a part of the game which was an immersive experience that you can have while sitting at home. That gives fans the opportunity to feel like they’re getting the same experience as being in a stadium. 

There have been a lot of other smaller changes, such as more people watching games on social media. 52% of the younger generation is saying they’re watching sports on social media rather than broadcasts. Because these games and highlights are being published in real time it’s easier for people to do that. If you put a layer of AI generated data and analysis over that stream it completes the experience for the user without the need for live TV. 

How does AI help with the monetization of content?

If you’re serving personalised ads, the customer is seeing what they want to see, and not something that’s irrelevant. If they’re more likely to see it, they’re more likely to interact with it and you’re more likely to get monetization out of it. With AI you can actually get the highlights to the sports fans earlier, so they’re more likely to watch it. The value of a game goes down every minute after it’s over, so if your recaps are happening in real time you can monetise it far more effectively. 

We are seeing that a lot of youth sports teams that were not anywhere online are now coming onto social media because there are viewers for them there. We’ve had a recent youth organisation that publishes their games on social media and their app, and their views go up from 25,000 to 300,000 within a matter of months, because they were able to publish highlights quickly. That is a huge monetisation opportunity right there.

Want to hear more from Meghna? Tune in to Episode 21 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

IBC 2022

IBC 2022, saw the industry back together and relatively back to normal with over 1000 exhibitors and 37,071 people in attendance from 170 countries. And with nine of us in attendance from neuco, we were back in full force too!

After 3 years away, there was such a positive atmosphere with everyone so relieved to be meeting face-to-face in Amsterdam again. And while I was told attendance was down around 30% from 2019, it certainly felt busy and thriving on the floor to me.

There was an obvious underlying theme to the first day conversations, with everyone comparing their various travel delays – neuco being no exception! My first lesson of the show was definitely to book an earlier flight into Schiphol, although I’m not sure whether after our three and half hour’s stint in Gatwick’s Wagamama’s we will be welcome back…

Despite the travel disruption everyone was up early and ready to go on Friday, and you could feel the buzz of everyone so excited to be back at the RAI Amsterdam again. As my first trade show experience and just a month in to joining neuco, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I couldn’t have been more overwhelmed by how welcoming everyone was. I truly feel blessed to have met so many incredible individuals!

Being able to meet in person and surrounded by the latest cutting-edge tech, was not only incredible for building my industry understanding. But also proved how invaluable events like IBC are for building and maintaining those long-term relationships that are so essential for everything we do at neuco.

It was interesting to see the areas experiencing significant growth, in particular the CDN space, FAST network’s and subscription VOD were not showing any signs of slowing down. Hot topics on the floor remained focused on adoption of Cloud technology, as well as the importance of data analysis for understanding your end users and creating a more personalised service. It was great to see that accessibility was a key focus too with many discussions around how AI could be used to make tech more accessible and immersive.

As a woman joining the industry it was really welcomed to hear discussions around Diversion and Inclusion and especially what is being done to encourage continued improvements in these areas. Having just come from the Veterinary Medicine field, which is on the opposite end of the scale, it was a slight shock to the system stepping into such a male dominated field! If you are a woman in the space be sure to check out the Rise Group if you haven’t already. They are doing incredible work supporting, mentoring and advocating for women joining the media technology sector.

In the recruitment world it was incredible to see how many companies were growing, both in terms of expanding current teams and breaking into new markets. Not just is this great for us at neuco, with so many potential opportunities discussed, but also is such a promising sign that the industry is recovering from the challenges of the last few years. If nothing else, it was evident how highly in demand engineering talent is!

And beyond the business it was just incredible to be out in Amsterdam, we really made the most of our evenings socialising with our amazing partners at Ovyo and eating some delicious food. Plus, Tim couldn’t have been more excited to show us newbies the extensive cycling infrastructure…

In summary, I couldn’t have asked for a more jam-packed and exciting first trade-show experience. There really is nothing that can beat face-to-face interactions and I can’t wait for next year where I should have even more familiar faces to see.