Originally appeared in SVG News, August 28, 2017
Considering the massive stores of high-value content at stake, it’s important for sports rights holders to choose the right content-management strategy. For some of the world’s biggest sports content creators and rights holders, that strategy involves using active archives to store and manage digital assets. Active archives help them make the most of their precious, once-in-a-lifetime video, audio, and still images. How? Unlike traditional passive archives, which are built primarily for long-term preservation, active archives are built for easy search, access, and retrieval, with the aim of repurposing and reselling content. Instead of languishing on a tape or a hard drive or in a primitive file system in a passive archive, assets in active archives can quickly and easily be reused as often as you want.
In today’s world of fast-paced media — where there are plenty of ways to repurpose your content and plenty of people looking to acquire it — the benefits of an active archive can’t be overstated.
Many sports rights holders, such as conferences, governing bodies, and broadcasters, have paired sophisticated active archive services built by content management and licensing experts with cloud-based media asset management and monetization platforms. The result is a powerful solution used not only for storage, but as a vehicle for licensing, reselling, and distributing assets to third parties who are interested in them. The active archive and monetization platform solution has big benefits: In the cloud, your assets are more easily discoverable and distributable according to permissions. And because of abundant metadata, otherwise stagnant or lost assets are available for use. The ability to unlock assets, simplify workflows, and satisfy the needs of their stakeholders has helped many rights holders make the most out of their content.
The solution that played a key role in the 2017 NFL Draft is the Wazee Digital Core cloud-native, software-as-a-service asset-management platform built on active-archive technology.
Wazee Digital manages the archive for the NCAA®, College Football Playoff, Big Ten®, and other partner college conferences. Throughout each college football season, Core ingests clean-feed footage from the various games. Because Wazee Digital has the licensing rights to resell footage on behalf of those conferences, the NFL Network commissioned Wazee Digital to collect video clips its producers could use to create shoulder programming for the 2017 NFL Draft — just as it has done for the past several years.
Around the start of the 2016 college season, the NFL Network sent Wazee Digital a list of players for researchers to watch during the season. From that list, researchers created a collection of highlights for each prospect inside Core. The NFL Network worked with researchers to refine the selections, and when curation was complete, researchers pushed the chosen clips to the NFL Network’s folder. From there, NFL Network producers could download the assets and begin their own workflows. Producers tapped the highlights to create promos and features specific to each prospect and broadcast them before, during, and after the draft.
At the same time, these highly curated player highlights could be simultaneously delivered to other sports broadcasters or franchises for further use around the NFL Draft. Because the clips have now been made searchable in the archive, the NFL Network can immediately license, deliver, and monetize those moments from an athlete’s career for use in editorial/documentary programming, entertainment, and advertising spots — thereby continuing to generate revenue for the Big Ten, Pac-12, and others.
Wazee Digital delivered 465 players to NFL Network for the 2017 NFL Draft, with an average of about 10 highlights per player. These players spanned across Pac-12, Big Ten, Mountain West, and College Football Playoff teams.
Production around the NFL Draft comes together quickly, so having near-real-time highlights on standby for quick, easy access is paramount. For example, as teams made selections during the draft, there was an immediate need to showcase the draft picks, but there was no way to plan for it ahead of time. By having on-demand access to player highlights as players were being selected, NFL teams and other broadcasters could easily satisfy their editorial need to showcase their in-market draft picks as the action unfolded.
The NFL Draft continues to grow in popularity among fans, with this year’s viewership being the second largest ever. The player highlights that came from the backend active archive and cloud-based monetization platform fit in the middle. Ensuring player highlights were easily accessible for NFL networks, NFL teams, and other broadcasters was critically important for driving the popularity of the event and keeping fans engaged.
As the NFL Network, college football conferences, and many other sports properties have seen, a content-management strategy built around active archives and cloud-based monetization can mean the difference between putting assets to work and putting them out to pasture.