Dartfish TV makes sports a science with video

editor's corner
Jim O'NeilThe sexy part-and the biggest money part-of online video is, obviously, the entertainment portion; Google, Netflix and Hulu fighting for content, streaming it over-the-top and causing content owners angina as they wonder if their latest content deal made any sense, or if their current DRM strategy actually stands for doesn't really matter, since the pirates already have it.

I had a conversation with one security firm at NAB who said even content with moderate DRM protection can be broken in minutes, pointing anecdotally to a test by one well-know broadcaster who floated a piece of protected content onto the web as a test... it took less than 14 minutes for it to pirated. Ouch.

But I digress.

"Online video" is a vast marketplace with huge potential for application on the business side, perhaps even more than entertainment.

Last week I also chatted with Victor Bergonzoli, co-founder and CEO of a company called Dartfish which has been a mainstay in the coaching world for years.

Dartfish software allows a user to film an athlete performing, for example, a golf swing. And again. And again.

It supports super slow motion, stop action, and has a range of tools that also allows a coach to compare the swing, side-by-side or even overlapping, to another action. You can capture data on virtually any camera, including smartphones, and then import it into Dartfish. A coach can draw on the video file, make notations and place marks on the file to show optimum swing planes, impact points, posture, the whole nine yards. All of that is cool, and it's been around awhile.

In fact, Bergonzoli said, Dartfish is so ubiquitous in the sports world that 95 percent of the medals won at the Olympics in Vancouver were won by athletes using Dartfish.

The company launched its own web platform a couple of years ago and has some 300,000 videos, organized into branded channels ranging from the South African Tennis Association to USA Taekwondo, to the U.S. Ski Association (Looking to become a better cricket bowler? Check out this video.).

This week, Dartfish released Version 3.0 of its TV platform, which allows users to tag specific events online and organize the video content more efficiently. Tagging enables users to break-down videos into short segments, search through them quickly and review specific events without going through the entire video.

It allows, for example, one professional baseball team's 25 scouts to share videos of prospects, including notes and comments online without having to come back to headquarters. Using thousands of keywords, they also make it easy on draft day for the club's draft team to quickly call up video of a prospect for one last look before investing a boatload of money.

And, the channels can be embedded in third-party websites, sent to Facebook pages and as email attachments.

Bergonzoli said the software increasingly is being used by companies looking to launch new marketing strategies without huge overhead.

"What we are seeing is that people start with small, private channels and then see a use for them in a more public setting," he said. "They can create, for example, hundreds of channels that cover an event, but not at broadcast prices. And they get to the audience they really want to reach."

Traffic to Dartfish.TV has increased some 65 percent from a year ago, he said. And, the company is increasingly talking to media companies about its application during sporting events.

"It's a content generating machine," he said. "The problem today is that networks focus on high-end events, but other events are rarely seen. This is a tool that event organizers can use to quickly create quality TV content and publish it."-Jim