The Technology Behind ESPN’S Digital Transformation1 min read

ESPN is experimenting with ways to identify highlights without human intervention, but it’s not in a rush to cut its in-house experts out of the loop. “People come to ESPN for our authority and our style,” LaBerge says. “These people are picking [clips] with their own judgment. The key here is that they can do it instantly, as the game is happening. And then distribute it instantly.”

Pushing out highlights quickly makes sports fans happy, and happy sports fans have a more direct connection to ESPN’s business interests than you might guess. “What we’ve found is, when that happens, we see piracy of our content go way down, because most people just want a low-friction way to share something,” LaBerge explains. “We’re to the point where we’re 10 seconds faster than their ability to go back, rewind their DVR, and clip something.”

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