SVG Sports OTT Forum: Inaugural Event Preaches Collaboration To Tackle Industry Challenges

Major media brands and tech giants contribute to day of conversation, networking

The inaugural SVG Sports OTT Forum brought in-depth conversation and networking to the live–sports-streaming industry last week. More than 200 attendees discussed such topics as OTT product offerings, direct-to-consumer business strategies, latency, security, and much more.

Last week’s inaugural SVG Sports OTT Forum featured an all-star panel of sports-streaming execs: (from left) NBC Sports’ Eric Black, fuboTV’s Sung Ho Choi, YouTube TV’s Skip Desjardin, Monumental Sports’ Zach Leonsis, and NeuLion’s Chris Wagner. The session was moderated by SVG’s Brandon Costa (far right).

The event kicked off with a broad look at the current state of the financial and technological challenges and opportunities that face the live–sports-streaming space in the U.S. by streaming-media expert and widely respected industry consultant Dan Rayburn. From there, a panel of marquee executives shared their plans, hopes, and dreams for the present and future of sports media in an OTT environment. Participating in the session were Eric Black, CTO, NBC Sports Digital and Playmaker Media; Sung Ho Choi, co-founder, fuboTV; Skip Desjardin, head of sports and local content, YouTube TV; Zach Leonsis, SVP, strategic initiatives, Monumental Sports and Entertainment; and Chris Wagner, EVP, NeuLion.

Attendees were also treated to a look at some of innovative and mind-opening ideas from some of the nation’s most successful sports leagues. Representatives from NASCAR, the NBA, and WWE discussed current offerings, plans, and marketplace challenges. Brian Herbst, VP, global media strategy and distribution, NASCAR; Christine Pantoya, SVP, direct to consumer and mobile strategy, NBA; and Jared Smith, SVP, digital products, WWE, shared ideas for new successes in the mobile and streaming worlds both domestic and international.

Participating in the SVG Sports OTT Forum was a panel of league experts: (from left) NASCAR’s Brian Herbst, NBA’s Christine Pantoya, and WWE’s Jared Smith. The session was moderated by SVG’s Jason Dachman (far right).

The event also featured a series of in-depth case studies offering updates on industry-altering services and platforms designed to push the content envelope in new ways. Hania Poole, GM, Bleacher Report (B/R) Live, and SVP, NCAA Digital, offered a look at the strategy and build-out process for the newest OTT sports service, B/R Live. David Bailey, senior digital research manager, Formula 1, presented data findings that helped shape the creation of one of the newest OTT products: F1 TV. Melissa Lawton, an expert in live–sports-production strategy for Facebook, updated attendees on the latest in best practices on live-streaming events to the social-media platform. Also, Eric Black, CTO, NBC Sports Digital and Playmaker Media, and Darryl Jefferson, VP, post operations and digital workflow, NBC Sports and Olympics, gave an inside look at how they work digital and streaming offerings into the day-to-day life of a traditional broadcast giant.

Technology and the companies creating the tools that are moving sports-video viewing into its next generation also got their chances on center stage. Latency and quality of service of live sports streams were addressed by a panel featuring Aditya Ganjam, chief product officer, Conviva; Jason Hofmann, VP, architecture, Limelight Networks; and Kiran Patel, solutions marketing manager, AWS Elemental. Naturally, security and combating piracy were also dissected in a talk with Prenil Kottayankandy, principal solutions engineer, Akamai; Mark Thames, Americas security partner leader, Juniper Networks; Harrie Tholen, VP, sales anti-piracy/GM, NexGuard, Nagra; and Jason Thibeault, executive director, Streaming Video Alliance.

Attendees were also in-depth technology dives by Ben Bloom, director, professional services, media and entertainment, Akamai; Karan Singh, director, product management, Sony New Media Solutions; and NeuLion’s Wagner.

The SVG Sports OTT Forum is made possible through the support of this year’s event sponsors: Title Sponsor AWS Elemental; Diamond Sponsors Dolby and Limelight Networks; and Event Sponsors Akamai, Aspera (an IBM Company), Juniper Networks, NeuLion, Sony, and Verizon Digital Media Services.

The SVG Sports OTT Forum was a closed-door event, and there will be no additional reports or coverage of the forum’s programming. If you are interested in learning more about the event or the wider efforts of SVG Digital, please email SVG Director of Digital Brandon Costa at [email protected].

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