Sports a Driving Force at Streaming Media East

Streaming Media East kicked off Tuesday at the New York Hilton, with sports once again a buzz topic in the aisles. Those aisles seemed significantly more crowded than they were a year ago, as more customers are returning to the show floor looking to educate themselves, determine their strategy, and purchase streaming solutions that can bring sports content to a wider audience.

“Sports is a driver because people want to see events live, whenever they want, from wherever they want,” says Highwinds’ Kevin Conner. “The whole handheld market is opening up big for us.”

iPads are also a big market. The new device was ubiquitous on the show floor, as streaming companies from A to Z showed off their applications, with a special emphasis on sports-related content.

“I think sports is a driver on both the live side and the on-demand side,” says Ooyala’s Parijat Gandhi. “I think there’s a lot of uptick in the sports area. There’s a ton of video content out there, and organizations want to either monetize it through using a different channel or just put their content out there for engagement.”

Indeed, adds Brightcove’s Jeff Whatcott, live and on-demand sporting events are a perfect fit to continue driving the streaming industry forward.

“Leagues and teams are able to extend their audience through live streaming,” he explains. “They are able to get people that otherwise wouldn’t be watching or can’t carry it through blackout zones. Where I think there’s a lot of interest right now is in the more niche sports, regional, local, college, and things that have a hard time otherwise gathering a broadcast audience.”

NewTek, which has plenty of customers already in the niche and college space, is featuring its family of TriCaster products on the show floor. With significant saturation already throughout the sports market, for NewTek, this show is more about solidifying relationships than finding new clients. Still, the increased traffic on the floor is good for everyone involved.

“Streaming is coming of age,” says Philip Nelson, SVP of strategic development for NewTek. “Everybody wants it, and everybody knows they need to find their strategy, so the traffic on the show floor has been good. We’re seeing a lot of new faces because everyone needs to have a streaming strategy. People are here trying to learn.”

While attendees are soaking up knowledge on the floor, exhibitors are stirring the pot, meeting new faces, catching up with current clients, and engaging more deeply with the streaming-media community in ways that are far more meaningful than a year ago.