Analysis & Opinion

Exclusive: World Rugby’s plans to let fans edit video content

TV Connect (26th - 28th April 2016 ExCeL, London)

TV Connect (26th – 28th April 2016 ExCeL, London)

Technology is fast changing the way we consume and experience sport. Unsurprisingly, TV Connect 2016 reflects this, with Rhys Beer (NBCUniversal International), Jamie Hindhaugh (BT Sport) and Charles Balchin (IMG) among those that will be sharing their insights and innovations with delegates.

IP&TV News spoke to another leading innovator in the field (and fellow TV Connect keynote) World Rugby’s Murray Barnett about a number of sports-related topics.

One of the things that most caught our ear was his description World Rugby’s plans to react to the digital phenomenon of ‘claimed content.’

The highs and lows of highlights

When you come to consider the question of sports content piracy, pirated highlights (or ‘claimed content’) stand out as a far less cut and dry topic than, say, illegal streaming. Understandably guarded by rights holders, video highlights are nonetheless an intrinsic part of fan culture.

Let’s say, for instance, that you’re reading a sports article online. If the blogger or journalist in question was looking to illustrate a specific point about a team’s defensive frailties, wouldn’t it make sense for them to be able to offer a video compilation of the incidents under discussion? And what about a fan wanting to make a similar compilation, either to prove a point, or simply share on social?

Surely this can only be good for the sport? Certainly, with so much sports video out there, and with video editing technology so readily available and easy to use, it makes sense that the ability to do so isn’t confined to the Carraghers and Nevilles of the world.

 Murray Barnett

Murray Barnett

If you can’t beat them, join them

Murray Barnett stresses that, when it comes to claimed content, there is as much enthusiasm for it as opposition at World Rugby. He explains:

“From the fans’ perspective we’re delighted if a fan goes and puts a mash up of their ten favourite tries from the rugby world cup: that we like. What we don’t like is people trying to monetise off the back of ripping our content off. The Rugbydumps and Rugby Heavens of this world, they’re making money from using our content for free, which other people pay a lot of money for.

“The other issue, which is also important, is quality. We would prefer to give people access to be able to create those mash ups, using our high quality content that we put up on YouTube, rather than have them rip up crappy versions of our content, and reflecting the sport in a bad way.”

Murray revealed that World Rugby is presently exploring a tool for their website that would enable users to access content, do some basic editing, and upload it to YouTube. The copyright, in this instance, would still belong to World Rugby (and so would any advertising revenue), but the chance to customise top quality content, and to post it, would be placed in the hands of the user.

7 points!

The implications of this kind of approach are potentially huge for sports rights owners. Imagine if every time a fan posted Premier League content online the Premier League would receive revenue. “It helps with the whole fan engagement,” Murray adds, “and the customised content becomes a much richer viewing experience than just plonking up the content that we pump out, because we’re obviously editing for a mass audience but there are lots of very talented people out there.”

It all ties in to a revolution taking place across broadcast sports: and one well represented at this year’s TV Connect.

Murray will be on a panel discussing ‘Capitalising on major sporting events’ at TV Connect 2016. Click here to download the full free brochure.

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