Masters Master Class in OTT
While the Masters taught us a number of life lessons about resilience and perhaps capped one of the greatest comebacks sport has ever seen, it also showed the industry how to do OTT well. Really well. The sports technology on display was almost as impressive as Tiger’s performance.
What did we learn about sports tech during the Masters?
OTT is no longer just about a video feed.
In the attention economy, sports media producers must understand that the only way to keep fans engaged is through immersive media. We define immersive media as: accessible, social, and interactive.
Here’s how the Master’s made their OTT experience more immersive:
It’s about mastering accessibility with sports content. The Masters was free for anyone who went to masters.com. They provided closed captioning and empowering users to shape their own viewing experience.
It’s about keeping the fan’s attention. The only feed that featured ads was the broadcast feed. All other feeds constantly switched between action on the golf course or highlights from earlier in the tournament.
It’s about giving the fan control. Fans could also choose which feed they wanted to listen to while several different feeds were playing. Fans had the ability to "favorite" golfers so they could get updates and easily follow their round in a separate "Favorite Players" section.
It’s about guiding them to the action. With an interactive leaderboard, fans had the ability to click on a highlight from the golfer's round on the leaderboard and video from the shot would be overlaid in the bottom corner. The "Track" feature allowed fans to select any hole on the course and alert them to which golfers were on the hole and where (tee box, fairway, green, etc). Could also follow every shot they made on that hole through a shot tracker simulator and a video highlight that would appear in the lower right corner.
It’s about sharing content to build community. Through the “Track” feature, fans were able to share clips of specific shots through either email, Facebook or Twitter. Social engagement is important for fans to amplify reach and help OTT providers identify new and potential subscribers. Social is a key component of immersive media and streams that don’t enable sharing are missing a huge opportunity to monetize larger audiences. The shareable link brought viewers right to the “track” feature on the website and provided the new viewer with the opportunity to continue viewing the tournament from the site.
Takeaway: As seen in the video below, IBM uses the Masters to tell a story about how cloud, machine learning, and a bunch of other technology buzzwords are changing our world. It’s an integrated sponsorship that raises the bar for other OTT providers. It certainly wasn’t achieved overnight, but it rewards IBM for years of collecting and analyzing data to culminate in this impressive execution.
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