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Patriots Unfiltered Tue May 26 | 11:55 AM - 02:00 PM

Tackling Tech: Can Kamcord Bring "Appcasting" to the NFL?

Wouldn't it be interesting to see what players, coaches, media, and insiders have on their smartphone screens – and to hear what "green roomers" have to say before and after their names are called - at the NFL Draft tonight?

And maybe lighten things up with some impersonations from fan favorite Frank Caliendo...

It won't happen tonight, but it's a possible future for the NFL and other sports.

Opportunity is knocking at the NFL's door as upstart Kamcord, which live streams what's displayed on mobile devices along with audio and chat, looks to move beyond mobile gaming to the wide world of sports. Fans will have to wait to see if this becomes a stream on or dream on situation.

Kamcord's "appcasting" would enable fans, former players, reporters and more to provide commentary on sports events (without actually showing the contests) to their followers. The approach has worked with mobile gaming as young demographics are used to watching others play video games with e-sports.

Breaking News

time_warner_logo.gif

Media conglomerate Time Warner – which owns multiple sports resources including Turner Sports - might be thinking of it as the company helped contribute $10 million to Kamcord this week. And since people love to talk sports, would fans listen to and interact with "Kamcorders" before, during, and/or after televised games?

"The ask of the leagues would be to let players and coaches appcast," Kamcord Co-Founder Aditya Rathnam. "We don't need any NFL content like game broadcasts or clips to begin with. It'd be great to see players live stream their phone screen".

They haven't yet, but that's not stopping the live streaming innovator from recruiting sports-related online influencers with an Internet following, including a sports nutrition expert, to app cast for the Kamcord site. That could work for Kamcord and some fans, but what's in it for the NFL and other sports leagues? Let's take a look from a NFL perspective.

-What the NFL gets:

Access to a teen audience: This group doesn't watch much TV but spends loads of time on their mobile devices. The NFL has been pushing hard to reach this audience with different types of content. And appcasting doesn't require live game video.

ap_charles_barkley.jpg

More content: "So much sports discussion and content consumption happens before and after games, or as a second screen during games," said Rathnam. "Appcasting would allow the leagues/teams/content distribution partners to insert themselves as a piece of that conversation."

More content means more money: The money is there. Kamcord uses a "virtual goods" monetization model whereby personalities are making over six figures a year with well under a 100 concurrent viewers on their stream, according to Rathnam. That's nothing compared to what leagues / teams / TV stations could potentially make with top-shelf sports personalities.

-What Kamcord needs:

NFL Talent: If Gronk used Kamcord, he'd build a giant following ASAP. And he'd make some serious money as well. The same would go for most top-tier players, coaches and even executives.  Feeding fans frenzied by pro football and TMZ-worthy celebrities is a fast-growing job. But with the NFL and teams' concerns and fears about player behavior off the field, combined with questionable Twitter use by players, this seems highly unlikely. On the flip side, the NFL has focused heavily in the last year to reach young age groups (Twitter, YouTube, live streaming, Snap Chat and Whistle Sports).

TV Partner Help: Would the league's TV partners see a benefit here of providing their on-air talent and other personalities to supplement to build a fan following? It's possible given TV providers needs to retain viewers, better engage youth and generate interest before and after their televised sporting events.

Next-Tier Influencers: Kamcord also envisions former players, coaches and execs using appcasting to build/enhance their fan following while cashing on it (which doesn't happen with Twitter). This is the most likely crew to be interested. Reporters and other media types are welcomed but would have to clear it with their employers who would want to know how it benefits them.

The Tech Behind Appcasting

kamcord_logo.png

The viewer with the Kamcord app sees a video stream and a live, public chat room below. The chat function allows the viewers to talk to one another or try and get the broadcaster's attention.

The broadcaster only taps one button on their phone to appcast. Kamcord takes three pieces of input from the broadcaster: a video stream of his or her phone screen, a video stream of the front-facing camera, and audio. They are combined so that viewers see the broadcaster's phone with overlays for their face and voice. The broadcaster can also see the viewer chats, which is designed to enable two-way discussions.

Beyond Pro Football

While NFL viewership is at an all-time high and the league is hardly struggling, appcasting may not be as appealing, as it might be to a league looking to expand its brand beyond TV and ticket sales such as the NHL, Major League Soccer and less wide-appeal sports.

Kamcord seems to be targeting the NFL, though its co-founder claims his company has had talks with other leagues and teams. Targeting the Big Kahuna of pro sports is fine but finding one eager to explore a proof-of-product effort (a league that would serve as a case study/success story for Kamcord.) The live streamer envisions breaking into some sports with outside personalities with followings.

"We realize even that is a big ask, so we are not betting the farm on that," said Rathnam of participation by NFL players and coaches. "We're also working on things within our control. We've already signed influencers who have millions of followers on YouTube and other platforms to break down Madden/NFL, NBA, and English Premier League soccer." The next step, he added, would be to court ex-players like Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson and reporters like Bill Simmons who have less restrictions on what they can and can't do.

With or without direct NFL involvement, Kamcord and its efforts are worth watching.

Stay tuned!

Bob Wallace is a technology journalist with over 30 years of experience explaining how new services, apps, consumer electronic devices and video sources are reshaping the world of communications as we know it. Wallace has specific expertise in explaining how and why advances in technology redefine the way sports fans interact with their league, teams, players and each other. He's the Founder of Fast Forward Thinking LLC.

ap_2016_nfl_draft.jpg

Wouldn't it be interesting to see what players, coaches, media, and insiders have on their smartphone screens – and to hear what "green roomers" have to say before and after their names are called - at the NFL Draft tonight?

And maybe lighten things up with some impersonations from fan favorite Frank Caliendo...

It won't happen tonight, but it's a possible future for the NFL and other sports.

Opportunity is knocking at the NFL's door as upstart Kamcord, which live streams what's displayed on mobile devices along with audio and chat, looks to move beyond mobile gaming to the wide world of sports. Fans will have to wait to see if this becomes a stream on or dream on situation.

Kamcord's "appcasting" would enable fans, former players, reporters and more to provide commentary on sports events (without actually showing the contests) to their followers. The approach has worked with mobile gaming as young demographics are used to watching others play video games with e-sports.

Breaking News

time_warner_logo.gif

Media conglomerate Time Warner – which owns multiple sports resources including Turner Sports - might be thinking of it as the company helped contribute $10 million to Kamcord this week. And since people love to talk sports, would fans listen to and interact with "Kamcorders" before, during, and/or after televised games?

"The ask of the leagues would be to let players and coaches appcast," Kamcord Co-Founder Aditya Rathnam. "We don't need any NFL content like game broadcasts or clips to begin with. It'd be great to see players live stream their phone screen".

They haven't yet, but that's not stopping the live streaming innovator from recruiting sports-related online influencers with an Internet following, including a sports nutrition expert, to app cast for the Kamcord site. That could work for Kamcord and some fans, but what's in it for the NFL and other sports leagues? Let's take a look from a NFL perspective.

-What the NFL gets:

Access to a teen audience: This group doesn't watch much TV but spends loads of time on their mobile devices. The NFL has been pushing hard to reach this audience with different types of content. And appcasting doesn't require live game video.

ap_charles_barkley.jpg

More content: "So much sports discussion and content consumption happens before and after games, or as a second screen during games," said Rathnam. "Appcasting would allow the leagues/teams/content distribution partners to insert themselves as a piece of that conversation."

More content means more money: The money is there. Kamcord uses a "virtual goods" monetization model whereby personalities are making over six figures a year with well under a 100 concurrent viewers on their stream, according to Rathnam. That's nothing compared to what leagues / teams / TV stations could potentially make with top-shelf sports personalities.

-What Kamcord needs:

NFL Talent: If Gronk used Kamcord, he'd build a giant following ASAP. And he'd make some serious money as well. The same would go for most top-tier players, coaches and even executives.  Feeding fans frenzied by pro football and TMZ-worthy celebrities is a fast-growing job. But with the NFL and teams' concerns and fears about player behavior off the field, combined with questionable Twitter use by players, this seems highly unlikely. On the flip side, the NFL has focused heavily in the last year to reach young age groups (Twitter, YouTube, live streaming, Snap Chat and Whistle Sports).

TV Partner Help: Would the league's TV partners see a benefit here of providing their on-air talent and other personalities to supplement to build a fan following? It's possible given TV providers needs to retain viewers, better engage youth and generate interest before and after their televised sporting events.

Next-Tier Influencers: Kamcord also envisions former players, coaches and execs using appcasting to build/enhance their fan following while cashing on it (which doesn't happen with Twitter). This is the most likely crew to be interested. Reporters and other media types are welcomed but would have to clear it with their employers who would want to know how it benefits them.

The Tech Behind Appcasting

kamcord_logo.png

The viewer with the Kamcord app sees a video stream and a live, public chat room below. The chat function allows the viewers to talk to one another or try and get the broadcaster's attention.

The broadcaster only taps one button on their phone to appcast. Kamcord takes three pieces of input from the broadcaster: a video stream of his or her phone screen, a video stream of the front-facing camera, and audio. They are combined so that viewers see the broadcaster's phone with overlays for their face and voice. The broadcaster can also see the viewer chats, which is designed to enable two-way discussions.

Beyond Pro Football

While NFL viewership is at an all-time high and the league is hardly struggling, appcasting may not be as appealing, as it might be to a league looking to expand its brand beyond TV and ticket sales such as the NHL, Major League Soccer and less wide-appeal sports.

Kamcord seems to be targeting the NFL, though its co-founder claims his company has had talks with other leagues and teams. Targeting the Big Kahuna of pro sports is fine but finding one eager to explore a proof-of-product effort (a league that would serve as a case study/success story for Kamcord.) The live streamer envisions breaking into some sports with outside personalities with followings.

"We realize even that is a big ask, so we are not betting the farm on that," said Rathnam of participation by NFL players and coaches. "We're also working on things within our control. We've already signed influencers who have millions of followers on YouTube and other platforms to break down Madden/NFL, NBA, and English Premier League soccer." The next step, he added, would be to court ex-players like Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson and reporters like Bill Simmons who have less restrictions on what they can and can't do.

With or without direct NFL involvement, Kamcord and its efforts are worth watching.

Stay tuned!

Bob Wallace is a technology journalist with over 30 years of experience explaining how new services, apps, consumer electronic devices and video sources are reshaping the world of communications as we know it. Wallace has specific expertise in explaining how and why advances in technology redefine the way sports fans interact with their league, teams, players and each other. He's the Founder of Fast Forward Thinking LLC.

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