NeuLion (NLN), a company that specializes in the broadcasting, distribution and monetization of video content to mobile devices, has announced the launch of Virtual Announcer; a new feature for their digital platform. Virtual Announcer provides OTT sports rights holders the ability to easily add, package and distribute broadcast commentary, to live video feeds, from anywhere in the world. The cloud-based technology enables the viewer to select from various audio options; including the language used and PBP/color teams. The English Football League is among the first broadcast partners to take advantage of the technology, with EFL teams broadcasting “team streams” (commentary slanted towards one team) of their games.
Howie Long-Short: Broadcasting from a remote location is far less expensive than the traditional in-venue model and the truth is, there is little advantage to being on site. The networks figured this out in ’15. As cord cutting continues and niche OTT programming gains popularity, this trend becomes the norm. As for NeuLion, the share price is at a 12-month low ($.53 Canadian).
Fan Marino: NLN is selling the technology as a method to “spark longer fan engagement, attract more subscribers and reduce subscriber churn”, but who’s buying that? No one watches a game for the announcers. For those who have an appreciation for the art of play-by-play, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated recently put out his list of the top 25 PBP broadcasters. Fan’s favorites? Ian Eagle, Joe Tessitore and Dave Pasch.
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