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User Report: NRL Scores Big with Fans Thanks to Dalet & Bitmovin Integration

NRL Photos
(Image credit: NRL Photos)

SYDNEY, Australia—The National Rugby League (NRL) is one of Australia’s most popular sports, with telecasts among the most-watched sporting programs on Australian television. The NRL’s Digital division creates, produces, archives and livestreams hundreds of hours of content to the official website, NRL.com, and the Telstra NRL Official app, as well as the Telstra TV OTT device and Hisense TV. NRL Digital’s underlying media technology also powers the 16 clubs and two states, as well as NRL operational websites and mobile applications’ content delivery, bringing fans and members a better content experience online.  

To drive deeper fan engagement and increase subscribers, we need to offer high-quality content and a great viewer experience across our 30+ websites, apps and streaming platforms. When working with video content from multiple sources, every workflow, metadata layer and media processing step adds time and complexity to the task of getting content to its intended audience online. The collaboration between Dalet and Bitmovin has brought improvements and cost efficiencies across the online production and distribution workflows. Dalet Flex's media logistics and accessible APIs and Bitmovin's Video player, Analytics and Encoding gave us the flexibility and automation needed to speed up delivery workflows.

When planning the Dalet Flex installation, we wanted to establish a common workflow for all content sources, republish content back catalog, eliminate content duplication and competing metadata from different sources, and increase automation, allowing the NRL digital team to focus on producing content. 

Bitmovin’s parallel processing gave us greater workflow efficiency while delivering the highest quality video with the lowest latency and fastest startup time in our network. 

NRL Photos

(Image credit: NRL Photos)

With Dalet Flex managing the entire media logistics, a single asset can take multiple paths based on metadata, syndicator or originator for custom bugging and publishing. This allows a common workflow to be used for all content sources and syndicators, representing an incredible gain. Dalet Flex manages more than video assets, handling image servicing too. The same images are used for improved keyframe thumbnails, a near-live library for NRL.com and a wider community of media publishers, who search and preview through www.nrlimagery.com.

Other benefits included: 

  • Processing, encoding and publishing time of assets onto the website was reduced by as much as half, while the number of parallel encode channels increased from one to 20+.
  • Presenting more content from the same catalogue, including enriched promos, highlights, collections and images across all outlets.
  • Streaming high-quality video at lower bitrates on every device.
  • Streamlined integration to other key platforms, like Stats and CMS.
  • Increased speed-to-market and faster fan engagement (especially publishing live event highlights on social media) helped build a large, regular audience of video viewers and helped us become one of the leading Australian sports on social platforms.
  • Increased our subscriber base by delivering more content in less time, allowing for fast expansion to new sites, apps and devices.
  • Automating, streamlining processes and bandwidth savings, allowing us to optimize budget. These efficiencies also allowed us to continue operating with reduced staff during COVID-19.

With the integration, we can immediately engage fans wherever they are. We economically tap into our entire inventory of valuable content to bring high-quality, near-live video to viewers across our sites and apps. This is summed up in our mantra: “Search it, find it, watch it.”

Quanah McBride is GM of Digital Technology & Operations at the National Rugby League, where he heads up the NRL Digital Technology and Operations team. McBride (together with recently departed Head of Technology Domenic Romeo) is responsible for delivering the technical operations technology and resources that support the NRL Digital, NRL Clubs and States digital media production and media services. He can be  reached at  qmcbride@nrl.com.au.  

For more information, please visit www.dalet.com or call 212-269-6700.