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Live Broadcast Graphics in Minutes: A Graphics Platform for the Cloud Age

Journal Article from Flowics

Mon 17, 01 2022

Gabriel Baños

CEO & Founder, Flowics

In the fast-paced world of live video production, broadcasters and OTT providers are always looking for ways to accelerate their workflows while controlling costs. SaaS-based solutions are just what the doctor ordered.

The benefits of SaaS for the M&E industry are well-known: flexible pay-as-you-go or subscription-based pricing, no capital outlay or maintenance costs, continually current software, and the ability to scale up and down as needed (to name a few). And they are a perfect complement to the cloud-based workflows that are becoming more common in broadcast facilities today. We created Flowics Graphics — a comprehensive cloud-based platform that powers remote and in-studio production of live graphics and interactive content for linear and OTT broadcasters — to be just such a solution. Flowics Graphics is simplifying the way broadcast graphics are designed and managed for broadcasters and content creators of all sizes (and budgets) and for any production workflow.

Because of the platform’s simplicity, broadcasters and producers in the sports, media, and entertainment industry can create, manage, and deploy cloud-based graphics in a matter of minutes. And they can quickly launch new live productions or cloud studios from any location without making big capital investments in equipment.

We designed the solution with three key pillars:

  • Audience engagement: Increased fan engagement is one of the many benefits Flowics Graphics users get from the platform. The system offers built-in support for working with social media content and for customizing poll widgets, which makes it simple to incorporate social media participation and second-screen solutions.
  • Live data integration: Flowics has integrations with a growing list of data providers — such as Stats Perform, Sportradar, and The Weather Channel — and offers  native data connectors that make it possible to easily incorporate live data into any broadcast graphics package.
  • Workflow integration:  Flowics also has integrations with several different providers for NDI, SDI, and cloud-based workflows. These include cloud playouts, cloud production tools, switchers, etc. The list of partners and integrated solutions continues to grow.

Flowics Graphics works with all leading production software and appliances. Producers and graphic designers can operate Flowics Graphics from any location through a single control platform that integrates graphics with any web-based production tool. 

While the platform was designed with a cloud-first approach, it can also adapt to more traditional or on-premises workflows to help broadcasters in their transition to cloud. Flowics understands that this transition will not happen overnight, so the company works with its clients and partners to provide the tools to make the migration as seamless as possible.

Linear and OTT broadcasters around the world rely on Flowics Graphics to create and remotely operate live graphics and interactive experiences for social media, broadcast, live streaming, websites, apps, or venues.

For example, Colorado-based Boulder County Communications Live (BCC Live), a live-streaming and virtual production company, used Flowics Graphics to help generate real-time, data-infused graphics while covering the Mainova IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt triathlon. With the competition being broadcast on linear television in Frankfurt and nearby areas and live-streamed to U.S. audiences on Facebook Watch, the production team wanted to streamline operations as much as possible.

Flowics also helped BCC Live manage complex details, such as synchronizing with the competition’s timing system and the live feed from Frankfurt. To make sure the data was properly synchronized, BCC Live and Flowics used API Connector to keep a running tab of data through Google Sheets, one of the many data integrations Flowics provides. Flowics was able to push data from the Google Sheet into the required graphics. Other than supplying real-time data to keep viewers updated during the event, the graphics also prompted interaction by asking questions in the live chat within Facebook Watch.

In another case, the BetQL Network — a live, linear digital channel — chose Flowics for quick-turn, scalable data and graphics integration for its new live sports betting shows airing on Twitch, YouTube, and the Audacy and BetQL digital platforms. The BetQL Network implemented the Flowics Graphics module and the Flowics Sportradar Data Connectors into its workflow. The graphics module makes it possible for network producers and graphic artists to create cloud-based HTML5 graphics rapidly for their digital shows on Twitch, while the Sportradar Data Connector feeds Sportradar’s live betting data from multiple sportsbooks and live sports statistics into the Flowics graphics engine.

The native integration of Sportradar APIs into Flowics removes any need for custom development and abstracts the complexity of data feeds, which is handled internally by the Flowics External Connectors architecture. The combination means the BetQL Network can show its viewers clear, up-to-the minute odds and probabilities that help them make betting decisions.

Unlike traditional graphics solutions, the cloud-based Flowics platform allowed the BetQL Network to get up and running quickly, with the flexibility to manage graphics across a distributed team in a scalable way. The BetQL Network also gets the benefit of remote production support and data integrations that are ready to go.

One final example is ESPN Latin America, which, like most sports broadcasters, places huge emphasis on being able to deploy data in a smooth and seamless way during live broadcasts. ESPN Latin America turned to Flowics Graphics and its native Stats Perform data connector for SportsCenter+, sports news programming that gets transmitted on the weekends on the Disney OTT service Star+. The channel delivers 10 hours of live coverage per weekend and includes extensive news content.

For the format of this channel, a left bar overlay is visible at all times. Star+ is using the Stats Perform connector in conjunction with Flowics Graphics. This combination makes it possible to display a wide variety of data during live transmission of sports events, including game score, fixtures, top scorers, league standings, and match stats. Thanks to Flowics Graphics and its live integration with Stats Perform, ESPN Latin American can easily satisfy the escalating demand for sports data and bring invaluable context and understanding to its sports coverage.

Those are just a few of many examples of how broadcasters and OTT providers can use Flowics Graphics to easily streamline their production workflows and add a layer of interactivity to their programming. Live production no longer needs to take place in a studio, and Flowics allows for a simplified approach to production workflows using cloud-based graphics.

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