Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 7 No. 149
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Hangin' With ... Make.TV CEO Andreas Jacobi

Andreas Jacobi
Photo: Make.TV

ANDREAS JACOBI is the CEO of Make.TV, a cloud-based, global technology service that enables broadcasters to curate live video feeds from mobile devices, social media platforms and traditional broadcasts. The company was founded in Germany before moving its HQ to Seattle in '16. Its development team remains in Cologne, while it also has employees in L.A. and N.Y. Jacobi spoke to SBD Global about how the technology works, how it can impact the way viewers consume sports, and his expectations for the future of broadcasting.

On how the technology works …
Andreas Jacobi: What we are doing is ingesting live feeds wherever they are popping up or being created, and then we take care that we have stable signal flows in the cloud from Manila to Virginia. And in the cloud, we are providing applications for operators to route these signals -- to switch input or output, to record and to use recordings for post-production and so forth. … They are using us to really extend their input capacity.

On how it is used for traditional sports …
Jacobi: Fox Sports Latin America was one of our first customers. They started during the 2016 Olympics. We were still in beta. They are using us every day to acquire and ingest mobile live feeds from fans around stadiums, in the stadium, at sports events which are smaller and not covered professionally. And they are ingesting all these live feeds in their professional production environment and making programs out of these feeds. They do not have to send a production van on location anymore. They are saving lots of money on the production on-site and they are much faster and more flexible.

On the allure of esports for Make.TV …
Jacobi: This segment is growing rapidly and these customers do not have legacy infrastructure because they are just starting. They do not have to deal with lots of hardware. So for them, it’s really easy and it just makes sense to directly start in the cloud with all their production setup. … We have strong partnerships with Mixer and Twitch to, in the future, enable tournament organizers to realize virtual tournaments, for which operators are able to route and switch directly in the cloud the feeds they want to use and show.

On how the company acquires video feeds …
Jacobi: The benefit of our technology is that we are super agnostic. We do not care. It can be a professional feed, an existing Facebook Live feed, a mobile contributor, a freelancer. Customers in different segments are prioritizing different user groups. The professional sport guys are using us mostly to ingest mobile live feeds into their professional production environment from fans or audiences they are reaching by themselves. They are announcing on their social media platform, "Do this and this and become part of the program."

On Make.TV’s vision …
Jacobi: The goal of Make.TV is really to connect two disconnected worlds. We want to connect the world of digital creators with the professional media industry and enable the media industry to get up to speed, to get cost-efficient, to be innovative, and to realize participative programs. We think that participation is the way that engagement can really be successful.

On how Make.TV benefits big broadcasters …
Jacobi: We are pitching right now our technology mostly to big TV stations and big broadcasters. Their main use is to extend their existing production. They’re just doing more. They’re ingesting more, they’re doing more programs. They are able to extend their programs with fan cameras before the show, during the show or at halftime. So they’re making a more compelling program and they’re earning more money because they’re extending the average duration time of the viewer.

On the appeal for small broadcasters …
Jacobi: Smaller broadcasters in the future will use our technology to cover sport events that are not covered, yet, because it’s too expensive and it’s too much effort to send a camera team on location, to send a production team there. So right now, there is either nothing or just one single stream. With our technology, it’s possible that 10, 15, 20 people are contributing live videos from one game and an operator or producer sitting wherever … can make a professional program out of these feeds.

On revenue generation …
Jacobi: We are super focused on just realizing prospective service revenue from broadcasters who are using our system. It is based on the amount of inputs and outputs they want to use. In the future, there are lots of other opportunities, such as getting a cut of transaction revenues when the content source is not already an official vendor of the broadcaster. But this is not the focus of the company right now.

On why the technology is available everywhere but China …
Jacobi: We did not tap into China yet because we would have to invest a lot in customizations to fulfill all their regulations and our cloud providers. We are an application layer on top of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, and they are already in China, but their systems in China are disconnected with the systems in the rest of the world. Our system requires connections between all cloud images and all data centers. China is a bit challenging here. It's possible to solve that but it was not a priority until now. There's no clear announcement date in place. Hopefully next year, because it's a great market.

Hangin' With runs every Friday in SBD Global.