Startup StreamLayer has launched publicly, offering applied sciences that overlay interactive graphics on live-streaming video from cell and over-the-top companies, with an preliminary give attention to sports activities occasions and sports activities betting.
The corporate’s “dynamic engagement layer” has lots of potential makes use of for video suppliers attempting to present audiences extra methods to work together, together with joint watch events, curated Twitter streams, sports activities betting odds, crew and participant statistics, polls, trivia, mini-games, and extra.
Simply as importantly for sports-rights holders hoping to stem scores erosion, the improved interactivity could make the viewing expertise “stickier” and extra partaking, particularly for youthful viewers who’ve turned in droves to video video games, social media and different retailers with higher communication and interplay.
Two brothers, CEO John Ganschow and Head of Product Improvement Tim Ganschow, based and constructed StreamLayer over the previous three years, lastly bringing the corporate out of stealth mode this week.
The Chicago-based brothers have labored with live-streaming startups for many of the previous decade, the primary a part of it as principals with LiveOne, which created a browser-based shared-viewing expertise much like Twitch.
“5 years in the past, we had been analyzing knowledge and noticed the beginning of a reasonably seismic shift in viewing habits to cell,” mentioned John Ganschow. “We had been nonetheless browser-based, so we had nothing worthwhile to supply (these viewers). We’ve reconfigured for the sensible TV and cell period.”
Since that epiphany, the brothers have been constructing StreamLayer, giving online-video suppliers the flexibility so as to add layers of knowledge and different interactive experiences on prime of their live-streamed occasions.
Launching On Cell First
The product is initially launching on iOS and Android cell platforms, to be adopted with apps for linked TV platforms akin to Apple TV’s TV OS starting later this summer season.
The give attention to cell first is partly as a result of “the proclivity on cell to work together is simply dramatically greater,” Tim Ganschow mentioned. “We’re going to unravel on cell for the elevated tendency to work together on these units, then go to a multi-screen expertise subsequently.”
In constructing its merchandise, StreamLayer ”took insights from Twitch and Fortnite, then rolled it right into a (software-as-a-service) expertise at scale,” mentioned Tim Ganschow.
The consequence “leaves a footprint (on display screen) that also leaves the video unobstructed,” Tim Ganschow mentioned. “You’ll be able to overlay with a model sponsor too. That provides rights holders extra advert stock they will monetize.”
The preliminary focus is on sports activities, nonetheless the most important factor on legacy TV and more and more consumed on newer platforms the place extra interactivity can result in extra engagement, particularly tapping into the deep wells of recreation and participant statistics which can be widespread in nearly all sports activities within the Cash Ball period.
“You’ve acquired this firehose of knowledge, however until you await the broadcaster to weave it in, you by no means see it,” John Ganschow mentioned. As one instance of the worth of that knowledge, betting-data firm Genius Sports just bought for $200 million Second Spectrum, the Steve Ballmer-founded firm that gives in-game knowledge to the NBA, Main League Soccer, and the English Premier League.
And whereas sports activities and sports activities betting are apparent low-hanging fruit for such on-screen interactive entry, the brothers mentioned the expertise has loads of functions in live-streamed occasions from music to actuality competitions, dwell buying, and even information and political occasions.
“Our thesis in case you can clear up for dwell sports activities and all of the interactivity round that, you may apply it to (different issues),” mentioned John Ganschow. One instance is wrapping theater ticket gross sales round an advert or trailer for an upcoming film, all the way down to promoting particular seats in a given theater.
Altering The Recreation Viewing Expertise
Media firms are already attempting to do some small items of this, although usually with out synched on-screen expertise or direct interactivity.
AT&T-owned cable community TNT, for example, companions with playing website FanDuel to do some fundamental viewers interplay for a recreation it calls Over/Underneath, the place followers guess whether or not the ultimate rating of NBA video games proven on the community will likely be above or beneath a given quantity. It’s a fundamental betting mechanic, however with out precise cash given authorized limits on sports activities playing in lots of jurisdictions. Followers additionally need to go to an off-screen website to take part.
ESPN, in the meantime, just lately layered Marvel characters and iconography over its NBA broadcasts one night, and individually did Star Wars-related content material across the Could the 4th Disney company advertising push.
“My youngsters watched (the Marvel-NBA broadcast) and thought it was cool for about 5 minutes, however there wasn’t any approach for them to have interaction, so quickly they had been off enjoying with TikTok,” John Ganschow mentioned.
Co-viewing extra typically has turn out to be a scorching merchandise for a lot of dwell occasions compelled on-line through the pandemic as a approach to join remoted audiences in a shared expertise. Scener.com, for example, hosted watch events for hundreds of followers at this summer season’s digital San Diego Comedian-Con, and once more as a part of Alamo Drafthouse’s film screenings for its Fabulous Fest movie competition final fall.
StreamLayer watch events may be significantly extra intimate than the mass fan crushes at Comedian-Con and Fabulous Fest, permitting the choice for creating an invite-only room of simply eight folks, or an open-invite method for anybody utilizing the app.
A relationship with Cameo, the book-a-celebrity app, creates the chance for celeb drop-ins, Tim Ganschow mentioned. Different potentialities embrace sponsored watch events, with betting evaluation as one approach to improve the enchantment and interactivity.
Third-party playing companies would deal with precise bookmaking, however the app may be set as much as observe a consumer’s particular bets and present on display screen how these could also be progressing.
“It may well floor all of the outcomes, such as you wager LeBron (James) would rating 29 factors, it will probably present if you’re getting shut,” Tim Ganschow mentioned.
Tying Reside Video games To On-Display Commerce
The following stage of improvement will likely be to tie in-game occasions to advertising calls to motion, John Ganschow mentioned.
“If Tiger Woods makes a putt better than 10 toes (lengthy), you may generate an advert for the putter,” John Ganschow mentioned. “You may provide a limited-SKU jersey after (Kansas Metropolis Chiefs quarterback) Pat Mahomes scores. You’re making a ‘scorching market’ for an merchandise.”
The corporate additionally plans to open its platform to third-party builders subsequent 12 months, providing a single software programming interface and system developer package.
“All we’re doing is saying, ‘Hey, you may give folks the chance to customise the expertise,’” John Ganschow mentioned. “We’re giving media firms the flexibility to successfully Twitch-if their content material.”