[Case Study] How ISC Sports Network blends live streaming with video subscriptions

When Greg Maish, President of ISC Sports Network, began using Vimeo Livestream, his goal was to live stream sports from around Indiana into the homes of surrounding communities. “We had this vision of a single place where people can come and see local sports,” he said. “We wanted it to be accessible and readily available, for all of our sports fans.”

In just four years, ISC Sports has grown from strictly live streaming games into a full-fledged online channel, using Vimeo OTT to offer live and on-demand sports content. Learn more about how Maish used Vimeo to scale his local sports business, grow his audience, and monetize video content in our interview below.

Growing from live streams to on-demand video

Working in telecommunications for most of his career, Maish understood the trajectory of cord-cutting behavior, especially those who opt into OTT content, or services that go “over the top” of traditional cable providers. “At the end of the day, we all are TV consumers — but we are also very much OTT consumers, whether it’s Roku, Amazon, Chromecast, or even on our mobile devices,” he said.

After digging into his viewers’ behavior in Vimeo Livestream’s analytics, Maish made an interesting discovery. Despite the in-the-moment experience of live sports, there was a surge in broadcast views after the events ended. “It’s an interesting dynamic. We’ll get maybe the same number of views that we get during the game itself,” he said.

With this intel, Maish saw an opportunity to grow his audience with OTT. “Vimeo OTT was the piece that was missing,” he said. “We wanted a ready-to-go, fully developed solution. It’s been a real easy way in [to the OTT industry],” he said, referring to the simple content management tools and branded apps available in the platform.

Generating and growing ad revenue with Vimeo

For many broadcasters, advertising is a critical source of revenue. Admittedly, “local sports is not always that easy to sell,” Maish said (ISC Sports competes with 10 Division I NCAA colleges in the Hoosier state). Using Vimeo OTT’s analytics, Maish was able to pinpoint the number of viewers his productions brought in, where those views came from, their watch time, and more.

“[The analytics] give us great feedback on stuff we would normally guess on,” he said, and unlike other television measurement models, the data is precise. “It’s not a guess, it’s not an estimation — it’s really what’s happening.” Providing quantitative data to advertisers, and subsequently guaranteeing that their product or service will be seen, makes for a straightforward transaction.

Tips to live stream sports

ISC Sports is a prime example of starting scrappy and scaling quickly. How did they achieve their success with building a local sports network in just four years?

1. Know your vision. “You’ve really got to have a vision when you get started,” he said, while acknowledging that it can (and likely will) change. “Ours has evolved over time.

2. Top-notch, reliable distribution. Your business won’t gain traction unless you’re broadcasting quality content to bring in and maintain viewership. “That’s where having a partner like Vimeo plays into our business strategy,” he said. “With Vimeo, we know that when we’re out streaming, it will work. It’s always just worked, and that’s been a key ingredient in our success.”

In the end, Maish remains invested in and reliant on Vimeo to support ISC because of the team behind the platforms. “One thing we’ve learned as both a community-facing service provider and from dealing with vendors, is that loyalty is everything to us,” he said. “If we feel secure in that relationship, we will preach it from the rooftops.”

“When a vendor does what they say they will do and they do it well, we will be vocal to say, ‘These are the guys you want.’ Looking at what we have with Vimeo, we will share the good news with anyone who needs to hear.”

Engaged audiences spark business growth

Through their highly-engaged audience and growing advertising base, ISC Sports now broadcasts all over Indiana. “Our production team continues to grow,” Maish said. “Even for a local game, we may have 10 guys there doing things. We’ve had to evolve into multiple crews, trying to cover as much as we can.”

Fortunately, as demand grows, so does ISC Sports’ bottom line. “What we’re spending is very manageable,” he said, referring to Vimeo’s Livestream and OTT price points. “[It’s] something we can not only pay for, but it makes it a profitable endeavor for us.”

Learn more about how to grow your business — and audience — with on-demand video in our guidebook, The 2018 OTT Revolution. By analyzing 1.3B consumer data points, we took the guesswork out of how viewers consume and subscribe to video content, empowering you to focus on expanding your reach and maintaining subscribers.

Vimeo’s Best of 2018: Live streaming, OTT, and Stock

We spent our last broadcast for the year recapping and reflecting on our biggest launches from Vimeo Livestream, OTT, and Stock. Didn’t get a chance to catch us live? We’ve got a recap and event recording for you right here.

Industry stats on live streaming and OTT video

We kicked things off with a recap of some of the more impressive (and mind-boggling) statistics from the live streaming and OTT video industries:

Live streaming continues to rise:

 

OTT is on the up and up:

  • Today, 48% of viewers are more likely to start their viewing with an OTT service, such as Netflix, Hulu, or a DVR (StreamingMedia)
  • American households collectively watch more than 8B hours of content each month through connected TV devices (Nielsen)
  • 17.9M households will solely consume content via OTT in 3 years’ time (Video Advertising Bureau)
  • OTT revenues will reach $83.4B by 2021 (DigiDay)

 

Creators and businesses are investing more in content:

 

Catch up on the full event below, or read on to get a quick recap.

2018 updates from Vimeo Livestream

We sat down with Nathan Lundie of the Vimeo Livestream team to dive into some of the big launches this year — including new hardware and long-awaited software updates.

First, we gave a sneak peek of the Studio One switcher and encoder. Compact, powerful, reliable, and nicely priced at under $5,000, it’s a great piece of hardware for those looking to get started with live streaming with a minimal upfront cost.

Then, Nathan walked us through some of the new features in our Studio 5 software. We’ve launched new ways to deepen engagement with viewers, including adding comments from Facebook or YouTube into Studio graphics. You can now use a web page as a browser source in your live stream, too, meaning you have another way to share content to your viewers.

Vimeo Livestream also brought in features to help you produce amazing live events. Additional updates to Livestream Studio includes connecting with remote IP cameras through RTSP — a feature that’s been a long time coming! — as well as a full release of our macOS software.

Get an in-depth walkthrough of our Studio software and hardware updates in our on-demand webinar.

New features from Vimeo OTT

Megan Wright from the Vimeo OTT team shared several features that give creators autonomy over how and when they distribute (and monetize) their content, including the option to deliver and monetize live video.

Vimeo OTT now gives even more control over how you manage and prioritize your content. Not only can you schedule videos to publish in advance with time windowing, but you can see which of your videos perform best with the Top Videos tool.

We also introduced two new ways to better share content and engage with your audience.

1. Free video access: If you’d like to tease your content, you can now give customers free access to your channel for a limited amount of time.

2. Registration-based viewing: you can even make your channel free to review and registration-only, which is especially useful in nurturing and retaining your viewers.

Finally, for organizations that need an added level of privacy and security to their content, such as trainings and internal communications, Vimeo OTT now offers private portals. Customers who use Vimeo OTT’s private portals can also embed a Sli.do widget, to facilitate questions from employees and other participants. Learn more about our Sli.do integration and private portals here.

Affordable, beautiful stock footage

Stephen Nangeroni from Vimeo Stock joined us to talk about how SMBs and creators can utilize this new consumer product.

Vimeo Stock is the best platform to find top-notch stock footage from world-renowned creators. In our ongoing effort to put creators first, Vimeo Stock partners with members of the Vimeo community to bring their stock footage to the masses — contributors keep up to 70% of generated revenue from all Vimeo Stock sales.

You can browse Vimeo Stock for free, and Vimeo subscribers earn 20% savings on all stock footage.

While Vimeo Stock’s collection is currently invite-only, you can let us know you’re interested in licensing your footage by filling out this form.

 

While we’re proud of what we’ve launched this year, none of it would be possible with the support from the amazing members of our community. To everyone who’s used and shared feedback on Vimeo Livestream, OTT, or Stock this year — thank you.

We’ll continue building and improving our services to help you do more with video, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2019. Cheers!