By Clint Vojdinoski, Editor at Bullpen Media
Utilised by broadcasters and rights holders across the world Vizrt is a company sitting at the nexus of next-generation virtual advertising, graphics and sports analytics.
Vizrt helps broadcasters and rights holders monetise their sports rights through pioneering virtual advertising technology. The company’s own image-based tracking software provides versatile and regional advertising opportunities with either virtual mat adverts – better known as cam carpets – or banner ad replacements, a virtual advert that replaces the LED boards surrounding a pitch or field.
Vizrt’s APAC Business Development Manager Ross Munro explained how the company is powering the future of virtual advertising.
“We’re seeing more federations adopting virtual ads instead of tarpaulin or painted ads. Virtual ads provide more flexibility, they can be moved, adapted or modified depending on the lighting or weather conditions,” he said.
“Undoubtedly sponsors prefer virtual as the ads are aesthetically more pleasing for broadcast viewers. While virtual ads are not a new phenomenon, the key differences now is the technology used to insert the ads and the regional advertising opportunities it presents.”
Munro pointed to Vizrt’s partnership with Catalyst Media Group during the International Champions Cup in Singapore as an example of effective tailoring of virtual ads for each match and for each international feed.
The benefits of providing an image-based solution for virtual ads is versatility as rights holders can derive multiple streams from tailored ad inventory making it possible to commercialise the same media space multiple times over.
Vizrt’s added strength is that its software streamlines the virtual ad process.
“Previously rights holders would have to install a mechanical tracking device on a broadcast camera and then a lengthy period to calibrate each camera. This requires a dedicated operator at the venue or stadium which can be expensive with the logistical hardware costs,” said Munro.
“Our image-based tracking software allows the rights holder to insert virtual ads using only the camera footage. You don’t need any hardware on-site at the stadium to insert the virtual ads. Numerous cameras can be set up within minutes by one operator and it’s far more cost effective as you don’t need any personnel on-site.”
Helping Vizrt’s growth as a business is the emergence of remote broadcast production and Munro is bullish about his company’s ability to capitalise on it.
“Remote production will soon become the norm for sports broadcasting. Star Sports in India were fully remote for the Indian Premier League this year,” said Munro.
“Camera feeds from matches were sent to their remote production hub, where the director, producers, graphics and audio all operate from. Yet at the same time the rights holder still wants to insert virtual ads and have impressive augmented reality graphics.
“To have those graphics or ads on the field from a remote location you need a software-based solution which is what we have developed as a company and will continue to invest in. In the past two years our image-based tracking has improved beyond all recognition.”
Clint Vojdinoski – Bullpen
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