For NAB 2022, Evertz is highlighting new interactive graphic solutions to help live sports, live events, and broadcast customers deliver unique experiences and personalised features to millions of users across multiple platforms.
Evertz will showcase Ease Live, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based interactive graphics platform as part of its Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) solutions on NAB booth N5907. With Ease Live, Evertz is demonstrating how leading content providers are using edge-rendered graphics to engage audiences and create new revenue streams by adding interactive experiences to existing Over-The-Top (OTT) services and Apps. Used by sports leagues, broadcasters and content providers around the world, the Ease Live platform creates, builds and distributes overlays to end users on connected devices in real time.
Ease Live drives engagement and monetisation opportunities by the gamification of the viewer and fan experience. Ease Live overlays graphical content onto live streams, which allows the viewer to interact with in-game live statistics, watch parties, polls and trivia, and sponsored betting and wagers without having to leave the event. With interactive graphics, content and rights owners can customise the user experience to increase both the level of user engagement and the length of time of engagement. This provides opportunities for monetization and new ad revenues that have not previously been available.
“As the cost of being a content rights holder becomes even more expensive and the competition for audience eyeballs grows, our customers are looking for new ways to drive fan engagement and monetize their content,” says Kjetil Horneland, CEO of Ease Live. “At NAB we will be showcasing how we’re engaging with the interactive fan using three modes – stats, watch and play. Ease Live makes it easy for content providers to quickly launch additional layers of ‘value added content’ that can help offset costs. Everything is published through the cloud, which reduces the need for app level changes and shortens time to market for new innovative features.”
One adopter of Ease Live that is having huge success with this format is the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES Network). In 2021, YES Edge – an optional interactive graphic overlay within its YES App – was launched to create an immersive ecosystem directly in the App. In the months following the launch with Ease Live, the YES App experienced a 38% increase in average unique streams per game, a 26% increase in time spent per unique streamer per game, and the new overlays generated 60% response rates to factoids and 47% response rates on polls during live games.
An additional benefit to Ease Live is the ability to collect first party data and analytics which is generated from powerful cloud-based data tools. The knowledge gathered about user behaviours can be used to inform broadcasters on what content is resonating with audiences and can be used to identify and target specific audience demographics with paid content or advertisements.
In addition to the existing support for mobile and web-based touch devices, Ease Live will be launching new interactive experiences developed for Connected TV devices that allow the viewer to engage with content using their television’s remote control device.
Another feature of the Ease Live platform is the Ease Live Data Service, which makes it very simple for customers to synchronise their live broadcast moments with interactive graphics in a frame accurate manner. It leverages Evertz’ years of experience in timing and synchronisation to bridge the production timing and the OTT delivery platform to ensure frame accurate placement of interactive graphics on top of the customer’s video player. Getting the timing right is crucial for unlocking the commercial potential that interactive live streaming offers, as interactive content can be placed in relation to the game action and provide valuable clicks and conversions.
“Customers who are using Ease Live have discovered that interactive overlays provided by the platform has helped separate their product from the competition simply by making their live experiences better and more engaging,” adds Horneland. “Ease Live graphics not only adds excitement to the viewing experience, but it also helps establish a positive reputation for the product.”