The Changing Face of Live Production

Nov 22, 2016  |  by Andrew Ryback

Somehow, there’s only 1 short month left in 2016.

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Somehow, there’s only 1 short month left in 2016. As the year comes to a close and the stress of the holiday season continues to mount (anyone know what I can get my wife for Christmas?), it’s also time to look back at the work we’ve done over the past 12 months. As we reflect on the projects we’ve completed and the clients we’ve worked with, one thing is very apparent: the face of live production is changing. The people we work with, the technology we use, and the methods used to consume content have all taken a dramatic shift. Here’s a look at the changes we’ve seen this year.

Changing Client Base

Historically, BMG has worked almost exclusively with broadcast networks. While we certainly still work with networks, our client base has expanded to include digital media companies who are somewhat new to live content. We’ve worked with companies like Amazon, IMDb, DEFY Media, Yahoo! and Buzzfeed on a variety of live projects. Everyone is hungry for live content and this hunger has presented great opportunities to work with companies who are ready to jump into the realm of live production. It’s a great time for collaboration, new opportunities, and new faces.

Changing Technology

Whether we’re working with a network or a digital agency, the equipment we provide hasn’t changed. What has changed is the distribution methods. We’re not relying as much on sat trucks or fiber lines as we have in the past. Since more and more of our clients are producing content for the web, that means more and more on-site encoding – often to multiple platforms simultaneously. This certainly poses its own unique set of requirements, specific hardware, and just as much preparation, but it’s really amazing what you can do with an adequate internet connection.

Viewership is Changing

We’ve written in the past about ‘cord-cutting’ and how media consumption is changing. That still holds true and shows no signs of slowing. People continue to warm to the idea of viewing content on a phone. Or a tablet. Or streaming through Apple TV or Chromecast (again… it’s amazing what you can do with an internet connection). Our recent election special for Buzzfeed aired exclusively on Twitter. If you wanted to watch the show, the only way to do so was from a phone, tablet, or computer. This didn’t stop people from tuning in: the stream had 6.7 million viewers. Buzzfeed’s election special got more viewers than Gary Johnson got votes (sorry, Gary).

Opportunities to be the First

As content continues to transition to web-based environments, it presents a lot of great opportunities to break new ground and push the envelope. The aforementioned Buzzfeed election special marked the first time Buzzfeed and Twitter partnered together. It was the first time Twitter paid someone (Buzzfeed) to produce content, rather than picking up someone else’s feed (like they do with the NFL or with the presidential debates). And for Buzzfeed, it was their first ever election special and their most ambitious project to date. With each of these companies who are just jumping into live production, we have an opportunity to help them achieve things they haven’t done before – or achieve something that their competitors haven’t done before.  That’s the most promising and rewarding change of all.

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