WSC Sports CEO Daniel Shichman speaks with BroadcastPro ME about the seismic shifts in sports content consumption and how the technology company’s AI-powered automated highlights solution can help rights holders in the Middle East thrive amid rapid digital disruption.
Can you give us an overview of what WSC Sports does?
WSC Sports is an AI-powered platform pioneering automated sports content creation, management, and distribution for unparalleled fan engagement.
We help content and digital teams revolutionize their end-to-end content workflows, using AI and automation to create and distribute personalized content at speed and scale, while forging deeper fan relationships and unlocking new monetization and commercial opportunities.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a dramatic shift in how people consume sports. Fans have moved away from standard broadcasts, choosing highlights and short-form content over full games on live TV. The modern-day sports fan wants more – real-time content in their preferred formats, platforms, and devices, at exactly the right time. To meet this fast-growing demand, sports rights holders need to offer the right mix of volume and personalization to cater to every type of fan on whatever platform they’re using.
WSC Sports partners with over 450 leading sports organizations in 40 countries, from major broadcast rights holders like the NBA, ESPN, LALIGA, Canal+ and YouTubeTV to regional leagues, federations, and teams running their own digital platforms and social accounts.
Ultimately, we’re helping them give fans and viewers the best possible media experience across all platforms at scale.
Can you explain how WSC Sports technology works?
Using artificial intelligence to analyze live broadcast feeds, our system automatically identifies key events and generates videos in real-time, then publishes them across viewers’ platforms of choice.
Essentially, our AI is building a searchable, indexed library of live and archived game footage. Every video is tagged and enriched with metadata, so content teams can instantly access the moments that matter most, whenever they need them.
Rights holders can then easily set up pre-determined content rules to automate exactly what will be included in the highlight and how it should be cropped for each platform. From there, the content is automatically published across all selected digital destinations.
This allows teams to swiftly create and distribute content with minimal manual effort.
In 2023 alone, our platform ingested around 370,00 broadcast streams, creating over 6.4 million videos. That’s one video every five seconds!
How are clients using WSC Sports’ technology to engage their audiences?
Our clients know their audiences’ viewing preferences better than anyone, so we develop the right products to help our partners provide sports fans with the content that matters most to them. This takes shape in many different forms, here’s two recent examples.
Leading French broadcaster Canal+ is utilizing WSC Sports to significantly scale up its content output for all its sports properties. They are leveraging our AI to automatically create and distribute videos across all platforms including, the myCANAL app, Google Web Stories, social media, and with partners. To provide fans with the best user experience, Canal+ also uses WSC Sports to personalize its content, localizing its videos to specific regions and languages.
Another one of our clients, LALIGA, was looking to appeal to younger, mobile-first audiences ahead of the relaunch of its official app. To achieve this, WSC Sports is helping them deliver short-form vertical video game highlights in a ‘stories’ format, the preferred choice for Gen-Z audiences, driving new levels of engagement and app downloads. LALIGA also uses WSC Sports’ technology to unlock its extensive video library, giving their content team instant access to years of historical footage, automatically repurposing it for new platforms and audiences.
What is WSC Sports bringing to the MENA region in terms of capabilities and experience?
The MENA region is a key focus for WSC Sports. There is so much ambition, investment, and excitement around sports, technology and AI in general, here—but most importantly, a huge appetite for content.
To meet this booming demand, media rights holders need solutions that can automate and scale content creation and distribution.
With over a decade of experience delivering automated sports content experiences, we’re perfectly positioned to leverage our work with global leaders to help rights holders in the MENA region build audiences at home and overseas. That means dramatically expanding their content exposure and engagement, using personalization and localization to grow audiences both locally and internationally, and unlocking new monetization opportunities.
We are fully committed to the MENA region and eager to collaborate with partners who share our long-term vision. And if the results from our first few MENA-based clients are any indication of the future, I have no doubt we can achieve remarkable things together.
What advice do you have for MENA-based sports rights holders looking to embark on a digital journey and what is WSC Sports’ role?
The MENA region continues to show rampant growth in both local and global sports – and the ability to attract the world’s best talent across multiple sports. Qatar hosted the World Cup in 2022, elite players like Cristiano Ronaldo are attracting massive attention to the Saudi Pro League, and LIV is taking the golfing world by storm. People want to see these players in action – now it’s time to give diverse audiences across the region the content experiences they deserve.
Short-form content is vital for building meaningful exposure for competitions and athletes. Once you capture the attention of a fan, they will more likely tune into a game, and then buy subscriptions, tickets, and merchandise. We help create this funnel, and it’s not possible without short-form content. Our solutions help our partners maximize exposure and engagement, create new monetization avenues, and most importantly, drive substantial ROI from their content.
What challenges will the industry face in 2024 and how can WSC address them?
The sports media ecosystem is at a critical juncture. Fans’ preferences are changing, and so are rights holders’ business models. Streaming now dominates sports viewership across all ages and marketing budgets continue to tighten, so digital content teams must leverage emerging technologies to do more with less.