May 07

How the big players tackle challenges with operational excellence

Thursday May 7th, 2020

Now that all sports streamers and broadcasters are hit hard by the cancellation of the big live events, the ones that achieve operational excellence and, hence, reduce their costs, stand a good chance of coming out of this crisis alive and kicking.

The way in which WHATS’ON enables customers to achieve operational excellence in sports broadcasting and streaming is as varied as the range of companies it serves is wide.

In pandemic-free times, global network of sports channels beIN Sports (Qatar and France) use WHATS’ON—apart from planning—to manage sports metadata, workflows to record live feeds, different live sources within one transmission, as well as for source booking integration.

A group of sports channels in the UK manages 22 channels with WHATS’ON. Apart from using WHATS’ON for linear and catch-up scheduling, compliance, promotions, and content, media and rights management, they use WHATS’ON for sports planning support and sports metadata management.

Eurosport, one of the biggest (live) sports networks in Europe uses WHATS’ON with an added event layer designed to help sports networks achieve greater operational efficiencies. Programme breaks can be triggered from the network’s central overview to quickly adjust the various scenarios of the individual channels to last minute changes and other quirks of live sports events. This will be further facilitated through closer integration with playout automation.

At DAZN, WHATS’ON manages rights relative to sports metadata (such as kickoff time, start next match day), and is used for scheduling based on rights restrictions and obligations. Scott Ferguson, Vice President Content Planning & Analysis at DAZN said to us, before the pandemic: “For the UEFA Champions League, for instance, we are not only obligated to broadcast a number of matches but also a number of magazine programmes, highlights and sponsorships. As we have the UEFA Champions League in Germany, Canada and Japan, that is a complex issue for us. You can have a huge number of concurrent games on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening, for instance, which should all have the right bumpers and branding for the different territories. We use WHATS’ON to manage all that, in combination with our other tools.”

Pop-up channels with all the metadata

During the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2018, A+E Networks UK/HISTORY used WHATS’ON to create a special pop-up channel which scheduled football-related programming and had all the relevant metadata copied to it. The channel was configured and ready to go within a few hours and ran for 14 days. This allowed the customer to focus dedicated content on a targeted event for a specific period of time.

This is a perfect example of how WHATS’ON enables media companies to create and remove channels at the drop of a hat. With efficient management of multiple versions and channels, WHATS’ON can also help them faultlessly connect the right audience to the right (localized) content version.

Several MEDIAGENIX customers have scheduled sports coverage over both linear and non-linear channels with WHATS’ON, adapting their content to the destination communication devices, in a technical way, but also from an editorial point of view. The Facebook story format is not the long-form format on a website or a connected TV.


“The pop-up channel was configured and ready to go within a few hours.”


A few years ago, merging linear and non-linear management, WHATS’ON became the only true transmedia content lifecycle management solution, managing the linear, on-demand and digital world with the same flexibility, power and error checking options.

WHATS’ON simply treats VoD publications the same way as linear transmissions, be it with VoD-specific fields such as (online) categories and price codes and the publication end date. Multiple transmissions can be created with one click, for both VoD and Linear channels, in accordance with applicable rights, restrictions and business rules. No need to enter the data all over again: everything is replicated, but can be deviated from for every separate transmission. There are all kinds of automated checks to make sure everything is in accordance with the contracts, and the correct media asset with the correct components is linked to each transmission. Catch-up transmissions are linked to the linear transmission and are kept in sync.

For many customers WHATS’ON is the ultimate orchestrator of their broadcast operations. WHATS’ON can also integrate with any system under the sun to receive the data required for personalised recommendations.

With diverse sports-only customers in Europe, MEDIAGENIX have studied their specific challenges and devised effective solutions from a scheduling and metadata perspective.

Alternative transmission schedules can be made and updated using the normal scheduling tools. This way the broadcaster can create, try out and measure what-if scenarios, and prepare significant changes in a transmission schedule which can then be updated in one single operation. Also, full-fledged substitute playlists can be created to prepare for contingencies or airing changes on broadcast day, for instance when covering live sports events with an uncertain duration.

WHATS’ON extends the broadcaster’s flexibility to respond to last-minute changes. Whenever weather conditions, editorial decisions or match developments require last-minute changes, WHATS’ON pushes these updates to Playout to update the current playlist. Also, the system offers a live EPG feed to keep the sports fans well informed of all programme changes in the playlist.

WHATS’ON not only offers the flexibility and openness to ensure smooth operations, its Sports module allows users to draw up sports calendars that contain all the events, leagues, teams and venues, to automatically schedule these events via burst planning.


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