MLB Brings Popular “At Bat” App To Daydream VR

What Happened
Major League Baseball (MLB) is bringing its popular At Bat app into VR for an immersive and interactive viewing experience for baseball fans. Soon to become available on Google’s Daydream VR platform, the app lets fans watch live games and simultaneously check up on real-time stats with multiple floating screens that they can turn to and zoom in. Unfortunately, the app is yet to support watching the games in 360-degree video, but there are other 360-degree content produced by MLB available in the app.

What Brands Need To Do
According to ComScore, the At Bat app is one of the most popular streaming services for sports, hogging the top spot on the total-grossing sports app chart in the App Store for years. While the choice of platform may limit its adoption, given the fact that only a handful of Android handsets currently support Daydream VR. it nevertheless underscores MLB’s willingness to experiment with the emerging medium and improve its content delivery so as to let viewers engage with their content more intensively.

Live sports are widely regarded as the last bastion against the declining live TV ratings, but with more and more sports leagues signing deals like this one to make their content available on digital platforms, more and more viewers are migrating to those new platforms as well. Therefore, brands seeking to reach sports fans will need to follow along by adjusting their media mix.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: The Verge

Molson Canadian Packs VR Viewers Into Its Beer Cases

What Happened
Canadian brewing company Molson is targeting hockey fans with a VR hockey experience that they can unlock with the makeshift VR viewers that Molson is including in some of its beer cases. Lucky customers will be able to use the VR viewer to watch six upcoming NHL games in 360-degree view from a front-row seat. The company partnered with sports media company Sportsnet to distribute the VR content via the latter’s VR compatible mobile app.

What Brands Need To Do
The immersive power of VR makes it a natural match for sports viewing, and Molson is smart to strike the media partnership with Sportsnet to cash in on the growing consumer interests in VR and 360-degree content. With the quickening pace of VR content development and an increasing number of ad platforms testing new formats in VR and 360 video, brands need to start working with content creators today to produce branded 360-degree and VR content.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: NHL

Twitter’s First NFL Livestream Posts Decent Viewership And Leaves Room For Improvement

What Happened
Last Thursday, Twitter live streamed the first of the ten NFL games it scored in April, attracting over 2.3 million viewers in total. While a decent viewership for a digital livestream, it is but a small fraction of the 48 million viewers that watched the game on live TV. The stream averaged 243,000 viewers per minute, with each viewer watching an average of 22 minutes. For comparison, the game averaged 15.4 million viewers on CBS and NFL Network.

The livestream received some positive feedback for image quality and smooth playback, but also left some room for improvement. Specifically, some viewers complained about the delay of Twitter’s livestream compared to the live TV feed, which caused problems for the Twitter viewers who saw tweets from TV viewers in the curated Twitter feed beside the livestream video player.

Why Brands Should Care
All things considered, Twitter made a solid debut with its first NFL livestream, delivering a pleasant digital viewing experience for free. Granted, Twitter’s viewership numbers pale in comparison to those of live TV, but this is still early days for live streaming sports events. Unlike most OTT streaming services, Twitter did carry a number of ads during the broadcast, allowing brands to reach online sports fans. As it continues to build out its video products and fix the delay issue, Twitter should be able to further optimize the viewing experience and attract more viewers, especially cord-cutters and cord-nevers, to its ad-supported livestreams.

 


Source: Re/Code & New York Times

Fox Sports To Broadcast Live Football Games In VR

What Happened
Following the deal it inked with NextVR in February to develop VR content from sports events it broadcasts, Fox Sports is now teaming up with live-streaming startup LiveLike to broadcast some of its upcoming collegiate football games in virtual reality. Viewers can download the Fox Sports VR app, which is available on iOS, Android, and Gear VR, and sign in with their cable provider credentials to watch games in several immersive settings. Besides standard 360-degree views from different viewpoints, the app also features a Virtual Suit mode that simulates a viewing experience from a VIP suite.

Why Brands Should Care
By combining the immersion that VR technology provides and the immediacy of live streaming, Fox Sports is creating a powerful viewing experience that more content creators and media owners should explore to fully engage their audience. With the quickening pace of VR content development and an increasing number of ad platforms testing new formats in VR and 360 video, brands need to start working with content creators today to produce branded 360-degree and/or live video content.

The Lab currently has four VR headsets — an Oculus Rift, an HTC Vive, and two Samsung Gear VRs — ready for demos. If you’re interested in getting a hands-on demo and figuring out how your brand can employ VR to excite and engage with consumers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: UploadVR

Twitter Scores Live-Streaming Rights Of MLB And NHL Games

What Happened
Reports surfaced at the beginning of the month that Twitter was in talks with the MLB and the NHL in its quest for more live sports content. Today, Twitter announced that it has reached a deal with MLB Advanced Media to stream live weekly games from the two aforementioned sports leagues. Viewers will be able to stream games for free, no login required. Twitter will pay the leagues a set amount of ad sales it generates, and the companies will split the additional ad revenue.

What Brands Need To Do
With this pact, Twitter has now established relationships with the four big pro-sports leagues in the U.S. to broadcast their content. Previously, Twitter won the simulcast rights for NFL Thursday Night Football games in April and announced a deal with the NBA for original live shows during games last week. As Twitter builds out its live sports content, it emerges as a burgeoning media channel for brands to reach sports fans online. Agreeing to split ad revenue with content providers, Twitter demonstrates an ad-friendly approach toward live streaming that brands, especially those targeting sports fans, should take into consideration while seeking to reach an online audience.

 


Source: Variety

Jaguar Devises Winning VR Experience At Wimbledon

What Happened
British automaker Jaguar won over 97 million impressions with its first VR campaign at the Wimbledon tournament. Designed to allow viewers to experience the moment Jaguar ambassador Andy Murray delivers a winning shot, the branded VR experience #FeelWimbledon aims to strike an emotional chord with viewers and inspire them to check out the Jaguar models strategically placed in the experience. Jaguar rolled out the VR initiative in a number of ways, including setting up an on-site activation at London’s Waterloo station, handing out 20,000 Google Cardboard headsets to Wimbledon attendees, and delivering VR headsets to its 104 U.K. showrooms during the tournament.

What Brands Need To Do
Jaguar is commendable for devising a campaign that leverages both the emphatic power of VR experience and the event tie-in to elicit positive emotional responses from its viewers and lift its brand affirmation. As consumers get increasingly familiar with VR and 360-degree video content and mainstream social media platforms start supporting the immersive formats, it is time for brands to start working with content creators to develop interesting branded VR content that appeals to target audiences.

The Lab currently has four VR headsets — an Oculus Rift, an HTC Vive, and two Samsung Gear VRs — ready for demos. Virtual reality is something that has to be experienced to be understood, so come by the Lab and ask for a VR demo to get a hands-on experience and figure out how your brand can use it to excite and engage with consumers.

 


Source: Digiday

Header image courtesy of Jaguar’s YouTube Video

Twitter Scores Original Live Video Content From NBA

What Happened
Twitter continued its quest for more live sports content as it struck a deal with the NBA to broadcast exclusive live content on its platform. It is important to note that the two “live original programs” that Twitter will be getting from the NBA will not include actual game broadcasts. As part of the deal, Twitter will also double the number of ad-supported NBA highlights it posts to Twitter and Vine. Twitter reportedly splits the ad revenue from those highlights with the NBA. Last week, Twitter signed a deal with Pac-12 Networks to live stream over 150 collegiate sports events during the upcoming 2016-2017 season.

What Brands Need To Do
As Twitter continues to buff up its live video content with a heavy focus on live sports, it opens up more opportunities for brands, especially those in sports, activewear, and fitness, to reach their target audiences on social channels. Agreeing to split ad revenue with content providers, Twitter’s ad-friendly approach toward live streaming should be taken into consideration as brands seek to connect with an online audience that may be difficult to reach via traditional media buys.

 


Source: Re/Code

Twitter In Talks With Sports Leagues And Turner For More Live Sports Content

What Happened
Following its entry into live sports streaming with a test Wimbledon broadcast on Wednesday, Twitter is reportedly in talks with the NBA, Major League Soccer (MLS), and Turner network to seek more live sports content. Turner, in particular, holds the broadcast rights of games from several popular sports leagues, including the NBA, MLB, and the NCAA.

What Brands Need To Do
It should come as no surprise that Twitter is doubling down on its quest for live sports content, given it is the kind of premium content that the microblogging network needs to expand its stalled user base and make a compelling case for its ad products. As more and more audience turns online, media owners and sports leagues will have little choice but to follow along and embrace live streaming. Even ESPN, king of sports broadcasting, is reportedly considering launching OTT streaming packages to deliver live sports content directly to viewers so as to capture the cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Therefore, brands targeting sports fans need to closely follow the developments in this field and start exploring live-streaming channels to see if it provides a viable channel to reach your target audience in a cost-effective way.


Source: Re/Code

Twitter Enters Livestreaming With Wimbledon Broadcast

What Happened
Twitter officially entered the world of live sports streaming with a high definition broadcast of the ninth day of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. The microblogging social network set up a dedicated page where users can watch the live broadcast brought by ESPN alongside a stream of real-time tweets tagged with #Wimbledon. The livestream works on both desktop and mobile. There are currently no in-stream ads running during breaks, and Twitter does not seem to be selling Promoted Tweets specifically for the Wimbledon stream.  

Earlier this year, Twitter inked a deal with the NFL to stream ten games live this fall, and this Wimbledon broadcast can be seen as a warm-up test for the company. Although Twitter is not selling ads for the Wimbledon broadcast at the moment, it is definitely selling ads for the NFL streams and has been reported to be hawking their NFL ad packages for as much as $8 million.

What Brands Need To Do
Twitter is not the only social network dipping its toes into live sports broadcasts. Earlier this week, Formula E announced that it will be broadcasting its upcoming finale through Facebook Live. While the new live-streaming model may undermine the lucrative deals major sports leagues have with broadcasters, media owners and sports leagues will have little choice but to embrace live streaming as its audience continues to grow. With live sports broadcasts gaining momentum, it brings a new way for brands to reach a wider range of viewers online. Therefore, brands targeting sports fans need to take heed of the developments in this field and start exploring live-streaming channels to see whose ad products best fit your campaign goals.

 


Source: AdWeek

 

The First Sports Chatbot For Facebook Messenger Is Here

What Happened
If you ever wanted to receive sports updates via text but don’t know anyone who follows the same teams and loves texting, you are in luck. The Toronto-based sports media company theScore has created the first-ever sports chatbot on Facebook Messenger to keep fans in the loop. As it is, the chatbot is not exactly conversational; instead, it is designed to figure out which sports teams you would like to follow and then dispense news and updates about them to you via Messenger in a timely manner. The chatbot currently covers all teams in major U.S. sports leagues such as MLB or NFL, as well as most major European soccer leagues.

Why Sports Brands Should Care
As more and more smartphone users turn to messaging apps, sports brands would be smart to follow the fans and engage them on the messaging platforms they are already on, and chatbots should come in handy as a tool for promoting fan engagement and communications. This is not only true for sports media companies, but also for sports franchises as well. In fact, The Sacramento Kings, an NBA team, is working with startup JiffyBots to create a team chatbot on Facebook to serve fans with game stats and digital content upon request. They also plan to add more commerce features to the chatbot, such as guiding fans to purchase tickets or upgrade their seats, something that most teams should consider to boost ticket and merchandise sales.

For more information on how sports brands can make use of chatbots to connect with fans, please check out our Fast Forward analysis on Facebook’s F8 Event.

 


Source: GeekWire