How the MLB Network Creates Content for Multi-Screen World
Sports fans are some of the most passionate and engaged audiences out there – and they love to consume content all the time, in multiple formats. For the MLB Network, creating content that can engage and captivate baseball fans is a full-time job. Research shows that today’s consumers are actively engaged on multiple screens, especially while watching TV, with 83% reporting that they use two devices simultaneously. While the home team’s baseball game plays on TV, viewers are checking scores on their tablets, rewatching highlights reels online, and texting with friends about the latest plays. Adapting to a multi-screen environment requires the right tools and an aggressive content schedule.
Providing the content fans crave: in-season and off
That means two content seasons for the MLB Network. “In the regular season, we have the job of recording all of the games and creating a highlights factory workflow that produces our content for shows like MLB Tonight, The Rundown, Intentional Talk, MLB Now, and Quick Pitch, which focus on the day’s activities and give a snapshot of what’s going on around the league,” says Tab Butler, Director of Media Management and Post-Production.
When not producing content about ongoing games, the network has the creative freedom to explore the behind the scenes stories and insider perspectives that fans crave. “In the off-season, we are focused on headlines around free agency and longer-form programming. We also produce several countdown shows, individual player profiles, and other programming that goes behind the daily game and into more of the storytelling about baseball.”
The changing dynamics of TV consumption
Fifty-nine percent of viewers watch TV while surfing the web. For content producers and designers, that highlights an interesting challenge. Fans of the MLB Network, for example, can watch programming on television, view shows online, learn more about their favorite on-air personalities, and interact with the network via social media. The amount of content that it takes to fuel a network-level effort – and the cross-platform opportunities with the rest of the MLB empire – is massive.
“We ingest as many as seven recordings for each game played. We record both the home and away game feeds, both with and without graphics. We also have 16 audio tracks for each recording, which include home and away TV and radio announcer feeds, foreign languages, and so on. MLB Network also has two cameras in each ballpark as part of the Ballpark Cam system, which are controlled by operators at our headquarters. We have a lot of other material for our long-form programming. This can be anything from videos and photos from iPads and iPhones to archival footage,” says Butler. Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise helps streamline the creative workflow and technical management needed to meet the content velocity that viewers demand
Freeing up creative talent to design for content consumption
Designing content for a multi-screen environment is both a challenge and an opportunity. By creating better collaborative workflows and back-end systems, companies free up resources to focus on content and experience design. Multi-screen users love the flexibility, entertainment and engagement offered. Yet brands need clear design strategies that deliver on that promise.
For designers, re-imagining content design is the future. How will you engage your audience and your fans across platforms? How will you design for distractions? How will you leverage their multi-screen usage to help promote your brand and build a sense of loyalty? For the MLB Network, Adobe Creative Cloud has been key. “The Adobe products are expansive and rich. Our goal is to more fully use the features and capabilities of all programs to achieve our goal of excellence in baseball programming. We’re excited about the future and the possibilities it holds for even better, more exciting telecasts for our fans.”
To learn more about the changes that multi-screen usage are creating for today’s viewers and how successful brands are responding, read Achieving deliciousness: Adapting to an increasingly content hungry world.