Sportsnet is relaunching its SN Now streaming service, offering fans a personalized experience created by technology from Firstlight Media and Deltatre.
With sports rights fees going up, traditional TV broadcasts are being upgraded to make them more attractive to fans, with features based on their interests from advanced statistics to community chats to gamification and ultimately gambling.
Sportsnet, part of Canada’s Rogers Communications, launched SN Now, the first sports TV channel streamed in North America direct to consumers in 2016.
The new SN Now will provide enhanced stream quality and reliability, personalized content, stat overlays and other features.
“Our new partnerships with Deltatre and Firstlight Media will help make Canada’s best sports streaming product even better,” said Bart Yabsley, president, Sportsnet. “The all-new SN Now will engage our fans with more games, the latest technological innovations, more exclusive content, and a personalized experience on the most reliable platform available anywhere in the world.”
Andre Christensen, CEO and co-founder of Firstlight Media said the new SN Now is able to offer a personalized sportscast because it is cloud-native, riding on the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Firstlight built the back-end platform for SN Now. “In all previous generations of OTT, it's’ been pretty much one-size fits all. The way you look at the game is the same way I get the game,” Christensen said. “Given the changes that have happened over the last couple of years from a technology point of view, this is the first time you’re truly able to create personalized fan experiences.”
Christensen said the system is based on a fifth generation streaming architecture and Kubernetes to deliver microservices.
Those experiences are based on data about what content the viewer wants and how he wants to experience the game. “This allows [Rogers] to curate the experiences,” he said.
Firstlight’s back end is integrated with Deltatre’s front end, which gives Sportsnet control over what’s sent to viewers.
“The whole point here is to bring efficiency for the internal scheduling, marketing and promotions teams, enabling them to react in real time,” said Alex Drosin, head of worldwide business development, Video Experiences, Deltatre.
A more personalized viewing experience creates opportunities for more engaging promotion and advertising.
“Sponsorships can be laid in and integrated from a premium vantage point,” Drosin said. “There’s more efficiency with the way they can showcase sponsors or create special promotions around teams or highlight specific profiles of players. The versatility is just night and day.”
The new SN Now is expected to debut in the fall, when hockey season starts. Additional features will be added going forward, the companies said.
“The ability to build world-class consumer experiences will increasingly involve great partners from around the globe. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, building the future can’t be done alone,” said Alfredo Tan, senior VP, strategy, data, & products at Rogers Sports & Media, Sportsnet’s parent company. “These partnerships are just some of many ways Sportsnet is continuing to foster innovation to lead sports and media into the future.”
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.