CJP Broadcast Service Solutions Ltd, a systems integration, production, and content digitisation specialist, has delivered a unique and innovative automated app channel to leading betting and gaming company William Hill. The two new channels transmit horse and greyhound racing live to sports fans and customers, with rich graphics, operated by the presenter alone.
William Hill conceived the concept of a racing television service linked by a live presenter in the style of a radio DJ. As well as providing live coverage of multiple meetings daily, the channels had to include rich graphics experience, including results, statistics, and jockeys’ colours. Crucially, to be cost-effective and scalable, the service and the system had to operate daily without a team of operators and engineers.
CJP Broadcast provided the solution. It integrated the necessary products, including a Ultrix router from Ross Video and the Cosmos playout automation and streaming platform from PlayBox Technology. Most importantly, CJP Broadcast worked with media software specialist Squared Paper to develop the required data processing, graphics and intuitive user interface. This functionality was built with Squared Paper’s Busby software development kit.
“We wanted to create something special in our racing coverage, to provide our customers with a better, richer racing experience,” said Mark Chesworth, Head of Broadcast at William Hill. “CJP Broadcast showed us that by using bespoke software, they could build a system that would bring our dedicated live greyhound racing channel to life. Showing more live greyhound races than any other channel, viewers are served real-time data, prices, and information graphics for each runner. Led by a team of presenters, each bringing their personalities and styles to the screen, the fully automated system CJP developed gives us the output we want, and one our presenters love to drive.”
A vital element of the requirement was to allow the presenter to log in remotely. The Squared Paper software utilises the data feeds obtained from racecourses and tracks and takes the relevant information to trigger HTML5 graphics templates for live insertion onto incoming SDI feeds. The system also facilitates the creation of the playlist, which is continually updated based on live schedules.
“The system was specified for remote operation, but Covid lockdown meant we had to develop it remotely, too,” said Chris Phillips, Managing Director of CJP Broadcast Service Solutions Ltd. “We assembled the hardware rack and operations desk in our demo area; Squared Paper accessed it to develop the software functionality, and William Hill could also log in to monitor progress. At CJP Broadcast, our approach is always to select the best technology partners to meet the user specification and to work closely with them to pool all our knowledge and experience to exceed expectations on time and within budget.
“This project for William Hill was particularly satisfying,” Phillips added, “because they started with an operational requirement rather than a technical description. They went out to potential suppliers with what they wanted to achieve. We were able to show them just how engaging, dynamic, and scalable the channel could be. The solution we developed, which we now call Smart Streams, applies to any broadcaster or streaming service provider dealing in data-rich live content in sports or other genres.”
The new-look William Hill racing stream and app went online on 24 October 2022.