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Why Responsive Video is becoming the industry standard

Journal Article from Wildmoka

Thu 28, 07 2022

Catherine Cywinska

Marketing Manager, Wildmoka


Broadcasters have long been tempted to push their linear TV content to digital platforms in an unchanged format. But we would argue that it is now high time to end this copy-paste approach.

Over the last few years, social media platforms offering new content formats such as Instagram and TikTok have cemented their place in the digital landscape. And, with content delivered primarily via mobile, creators are left with no choice but to offer vertical video to stay on trend.

At the same time, broadcasters’ OTT offerings have evolved from the secondary products of linear programming, and have become the focal point of their strategies. More often than not, they surpass linear TV in terms of the amount and variety of content offered to viewers. Take major sports events like the Olympics or Grand Slam tennis tournaments as examples. In some of our customers’ cases, where only 2 or 3 linear channels could be dedicated to the event’s coverage, they started to use digital to get rid of such TV broadcasting limitations. They are now able to offer up to ten times more concurrent live streams on their OTT platforms, streaming all the games taking place at the same time. And if the fans are not available at the time of the event? Digitally advanced broadcasters can also make clips of key moments, game summaries or even entire game replays available. The immediate benefits are significantly higher user satisfaction levels and better content monetization.

But are broadcasters really ready to cater to the mobile-first audience for whom it’s natural to grab their phone to watch videos - rather than to switch on the TV in the living room (if they are even at home)? These mobile-first audiences deserve content optimized for their devices and the way they naturally hold them while viewing it – and that means vertically!

Delivering vertical content doesn’t mean that broadcasters should now invest in dedicated live production chains for formats like 9:16, 1:1 or 4:5, in parallel to the native 16:9 live format production workflows. It would most certainly be editorially challenging and financially unsustainable. And this is where Wildmoka’s Responsive Video comes into play - using AI/ML engines to automatically transform live broadcast feeds into mobile-first and social media friendly content – in real time.

In order to best respond to different complexity levels in broadcast content, Wildmoka’s Digital Media Factory offers two distinct levels of Responsive Video. An image is worth a thousand words, so let’s demonstrate the power of Responsive Video and the differences between its two levels. We’ll use the following fictional sports news broadcast as an example of the original 16:9 linear TV program.

Responsive Video LEVEL 1

LEVEL 1 Responsive Video is ideal for relatively simple content, which contains graphics and written information that would become unreadable if the frame was simply cropped to the targeted aspect ratio. Instead, the solution crops the best zone of interest from a clean feed and automatically reapplies all subtitles, lower-thirds, bugs or other graphical elements in the best possible positions and at optimized proportions.

This way, multiple variations of the original content can be obtained, all while making sure that the editorial style and the broadcaster’s branding are consistent across all desired  aspect ratios (1:1, 4:5, 4:3, 9:16, 2:3, etc.).

Responsive Video LEVEL 2

Suited to more complex broadcast content, LEVEL 2 Responsive Video (Wildmoka’s award-winning Auto ReZone solution) uses AI/ML to identify all zones of interest in each frame of the live feed in order to rearrange them in real time to best fit the new targeted aspect ratio. This way, the broadcaster can be sure that no information is lost during the transformation of their content. In order to match the broadcaster's editorial requirements, the outcome is fitted into the most adequate layout among a large selection of templates pre-defined in cooperation with editors.

In the following example, the Picture-in-Picture from the original feed gets automatically extracted and placed at the top of the rearranged verticalized stream – the outcome is more sophisticated than that obtained with LEVEL 1 Responsive Video.

Looking forward - new opportunities for Responsive Video

The ability to rearrange different zones of the original feed into a new layout keeps the door wide open to the broadcaster’s creativity. With growing interest in incorporating interactive features such as polls, live chats and gamification into live content on one hand, and the incessant search for new monetization capabilities on the other, Responsive Video could soon incorporate digital-exclusive, contextual features to broadcast content.

A new industry standard?

Responsive Video has proven to be a huge success for several of Wildmoka’s major customers - in both the realm of news and live sports - allowing them to keep raising the bar in digital broadcasting. Recognized for its ability to drive mobile and social viewership across diverse markets in Europe, the US and the Middle East, Responsive Video is a trend that can be expected to become the industry standard in the coming years, as broadcasters strive to attract and retain digital-first audiences.

We may be biased, but at Wildmoka, we believe that once you have tried Responsive Video, you’ll never want to go back to that old school experience of watching a tiny horizontal video strip lost in the middle of a much bigger, useless black surface. So, which experience do you prefer?

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