WHATS’ON manages live events such as sport events in a separate structure, allowing broadcasters a central view on all content related to an event.
The structure can be broken down into 3 layers:
- League: EPL, Tour de France, Roland-Garros, Formula 1
A league holds information on the ruleset (men, women, mixed, under 18,…), the sport kind, description, …
- Season: EPL 2021-2022, Tour de France 2022, Roland-Garros 2022, Formula 1 2021-2022
A season holds information about start and end, what game days are relevant (match week 1/2/…, semi-finals/finals, …), whether the home location of a team is relevant, …
- Events: Arsenal v Chelsea 28-12-22 11h00, Rambouillet – Paris 28-07-22 18:10, TBC v TBC finals 07-06-22 15:00, GP Abu Dhabi 01-12-2022 21:10
Events hold information on the teams and participants, location, local time (and UTC time), venue, duration structure (overtime possible, …), duration
This sport structure is linked to content. An individual event can be linked to different pieces of content: full game, 5 minute highlights, 10 minute highlights, press release, interview with players,… Making it easy to retrieve all content linked to an event, a season or a league.
Events can be placeholders, for example finals of the World Cup, because before the start of the World Cup you don’t know who will play the finals yet (although Belgium is a good guess). This allows you to already prepare and link workorders to the content for this event.
At MEDIAGENIX we strive to make life easy for all WHATS’ON users. One of the most impactful ways of doing this is by avoiding manual data entry where possible. This is no different for our sports workflows.
Through our sports events Business API we can connect to any online (Opta, Sportsradar,…) or inhouse sports events database. You can subscribe to the leagues you are interested in. For these leagues WHATS’ON will import the seasons (EPL, World Cup, Tour de France,…) and the games/events within the seasons. These imports not only create events but will also update them, when they are moved or when the teams that will play become known. These changes will ripple down from the events through the linked content, linear and non-linear transmissions all the way up to the EPGs.
At some point a contract will be made for a season (or multiple seasons). This can be entered in WHATS’ON from the very earliest stage of negotiations (in that stage the content will not be schedulable yet). The contract user will search for the season(s) the company is buying rights for and create a contract for it (or link it to an already existing contract). To facilitate any form of data entry, templates can be used when creating a contract.
WHATS’ON offers a wide range of business logic to capture all different complexities relating to sport rights, examples are (this is certainly not an exhaustive list):
- Restricting the rights to 50 games of the season that can be broadcast live. You can chose which ones
- Restricting the right to games played in a certain country, games with a certain team, games of a certain game day (e.g. max 5 games with Arsenal, only the group phase games can be put on social media, only games played in Germany, only games where a French team plays, …)
- Restricting catchup to end before the start of the first game of the next game day.
Restricting the right to certain regions (country or even more granular if needed), certain devices, certain subscription models, …
In addition to ways to restrict rights WHATS’ON can also enforce things with obligations:
- Rights that you have to use
- Sponsoring that needs to be added (as promo or as secondary event)
- Minimum catchup period
- Mandatory audio language (I’m allowed to broadcast a game played in Germany with English and German audio, but the German audio is mandatory,…)
Because all these restrictions and obligations can be expressed as business rules, WHATS’ON is able to enforce and automate them in the schedule.
Planning sport events in WHATS’ON is made easy by giving an overview of all games that happen in the opened period. This list of live events shown on the right side in the image below, allows further filtering:
- Only events that have not been planned yet
- Only certain sport kinds, certain leagues,
The actual planning can be done through drag and drop like for any non-live content or by clicking “Place in schedule”. The live content of the game will be planned with start time equal to the start time of the event (with a configurable offset to include studio time before the game). When planning life is made easy by the ability to use templates. These templates can define the on-demand categories where the viewer will find the game, the needed subscription models to watch the game (in case you have multiple subscription models), …
The colours in the image below give an overview of the importance of a game. With purple very important, yellow lowest importance, this typically drives the workflows and resources needed. As these colours are configurable they can mean something entirely different for other users looking at the same transmissions. They can indicate, for instance, whether the feed is booked, whether the media files are ready in case of non-live etc, whether a valid right is linked …
On the right hand side we see a list of all baseball games that have not been scheduled yet, but will happen in the opened period. Below that we see a breakdown of the selected game (for example first studio, a sting, commercials, some promotion, first half, …)
Placing a live game in the plan is usually also the trigger for creating workorders for the live coverage of the game including booking the feed, etc.
Typically WHATS’ON will book the source, forward this to the MAM system when creating a media placeholder (which is basically a recording request). This way WHATS’ON knows on which file the live game will be recorded, so it can already prepare the catchup workflows that need to be triggered immediately after the game.
A step before scheduling is defining the break structure. This can be done automatically in WHATS’ON by applying break structure rules when placing the coverage of a game in the plan. WHATS’ON will look at the importance the game gets, the sport kind, … to define what kind of structure the event needs: 2 segments with studio before, in the middle and after (studio can have a different source than the segments), just 2 segments with no studio, segments with a different source because they cover different games, …
The application of the template covers already most of the work. Typically, however, users will still adapt and finetune where necessary.
For the scheduling itself WHATS’ON provides an extensive set of tools to plan trailers, import commercials from the air time sales, automatically schedule bumpers and apply an autorotation, automatically schedule trailers based on target ratings and forecasted ratings,… But it is of course perfectly possible that we hand over the break structure with the basic information to a downstream system together with the available promotions, commercials, etc., so that these can be inserted at the server side based on a consumers user profile (for example through an integration with Google Ad Manager).
After the scheduling of the short form content, secondary events and graphics are scheduled based on business rules, the playlist is timed up and sent to playout. The playout can be updated until 10 minutes before broadcast (if the playout allows this). The benefit of this is that if a different game needs to be scheduled last minute, doing this in WHATS’ON allows to immediately also update EPGs, verify rights, cancel any catchup that might no longer be valid, …