Using small mobile trucks and flight-packs, WebStream Sports streams – and broadcasts – nearly every college sport from Division III to Division I in over 1,000 telecasts a year with a staff of less than 30. Clients include NCAA.com, Turner Sports, ESPN and collegiate athletic conferences like the Horizon League providing turnkey game production, streaming services and content.
Keeping up with the big boys means keeping viewers engaged, before, during and after the game. To deliver high-caliber remote interview content, WebStream Sports utilizes NewTek’s TalkShow with Skype TX software from Microsoft.
“If you’re watching what national networks are doing with remote feed, it’s about getting content on air as quickly as possible and however it’s possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re connecting an iPhone or Android device in the field via Skype. It’s about delivering quickly and efficiently,” says John Servizzi, founder of WebStream Sports.
“I don’t see TalkShow as a tool that allows us to cheaply replicate what the big boys are doing. It enables us to do exactly what the big boys are doing.”
“We use it for HorizonLeague.com to record ‘student-athlete of the week’ interviews. We’ll have a pitcher with 15 strike-outs in a baseball game that we want to get to know better. TalkShow lets us get to where they are and be less intrusive. Now it’s not about them getting to a studio, it’s literally asking, ‘Hey, open up your Skype app and we’ll call you.’ We’ll do interviews any time and place that works for them. Talking to our studio host is no different for them than talking to anyone they connect with through Skype.”
TalkShow also enables them to bring in expert commentators unable to make it into the studio or to a remote telecast.
“We produce D2, D3 and a fair amount of D1 NCAA selection shows for NCAA.com that are not broadcast anywhere else. We’ll invite analysts in via TalkShow,” Servizzi explains. “The budget doesn’t allow us to bring in analysts to the studio. So a show that used to be heavy with information, statistics and graphics now has a sense of being closer to a network-level production in terms of being a better experience for the viewer.
Audiences get more analysis. You’re bringing someone in from wherever they are. For some of them that’s at NCAA national headquarters, sometimes it’s the campus where they’re a coach or athletic administrator or from their home. You’re really just bringing guests into the studio in a seamless manner. And that’s the power of it.”
The workflow for the expert commentator in the live show is different than student-athlete interviews because the experts need the ability to interact in real-time with the rest of the telecast. “In that instance we’re returning a feed of the program to the expert and they’re seeing the bracket as it’s unveiled and they’re responding to it in real-time,” Servizzi explains. “They’ll see a game match-up and say, ‘That’s really going be a great battle.”