While shows such as ESPN’s SportsCenter offer a rapid-fi re, capsulized review of sporting events for every fan, a new service being developed by Thuuz Sports aims to give consumers a way to create their own highlight reels based on their personal interests.
And thanks to the magic of metadata — that mountain of information that provides context and granular detail of the underlying video — the process of slicing and dicing segments of basketball and baseball games and other sporting events into personalized, curated video segments will be entirely automated.
The app under development, called Thuuz Highlights, will serve as a complement to Thuuz Sports’ Ultimate Sports Guide, a service that also uses metadata and algorithms to keep viewers apprised of live games, while ranking them based on their “excitement value” level. A baseball game in which a pitcher is flirting with a no-hitter in the ninth inning, for example, would carry a much higher excitement value than a game that was just heading to the bottom of the third inning.
With Highlights, Thuuz hopes to take sports to a new, more personalized level by enabling fans to build highlight reels based on games recorded on a set-top DVR, in a pay TV provider’s VOD library, or stored in the cloud for streaming.
In the baseball example, the app would provide the full recording, plus an assortment of options to cut the game into individual pieces, including a condensed version of the game, or showing only runs, strike outs, home runs or double- plays. There will also be an option to create segments that focus on a particular player. For a basketball game, the viewer could likewise break it down by all three-point baskets, dunks or only the offensive possessions of one team.
“Our video analysis understands what’s going on during every moment of the game,” Warren Packard, CEO of Thuuz Sports, said, noting that Thuuz uses play-by-play info from Stats Inc. and other sources to make those determinations and establish the narrative of a given sports matchup. “It’s like creating your own SportsCenter . It puts the consumer in control.”
Thuuz Sports, which sells its current app on a license- fee basis, sees some additional revenue-generating potential for Thuuz Highlights, envisioning the opportunity for sponsorships and the ability to insert ads.
“It’s a truly flexible platform,” Packard said. “There are a variety of business models that could be attached … It’s about creating incremental views and delivering a better personalized experience.”
He said Thuuz Sports will continue to iron out the new Highlights feature over the summer, with an emphasis on baseball, in anticipation of a fall commercial rollout timed with the coming football season. The company, which has also developed Thuuz Highlights to work with hockey and soccer games, demonstrated the emerging app on May 6 during an Imagine Park session at the INTX show in Chicago.
Packard acknowledges that fi ne-tuning the technology behind Thuuz Highlights is only one part of the picture. The other, perhaps trickier, part will be obtaining the rights to do what it’s proposing.
“We’ll roll it out with our partners, and they’ll dictate how it will be delivered,” he said.
Thuuz Sports has not announced any partners for Highlights, though the company is looking to work with multichannel video programming distributors, programmers and individual sports leagues.
In the meantime, Thuuz’s current flagship app, the Ultimate Sports Guide, is offered through several partners, including Dish Network, which has integrated it with its Hopper box, and Liberty Global, which has baked the app into its Horizon platform. Thuuz Sports is also working to bring its Ultimate Sports Guide to Comcast’s IP-capable X1 platform.
TiVo, Fox Sports and Charter Communications have tied Thuuz’s app to their respective mobile applications.
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