THE GOLF CHANNEL
NBC Sports Group
The people at Golf Channel are pioneers, both of the sport and of live video. Co-founded in 1995 by Arnold Palmer and now part of NBC Sports Group, the channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined.
- Shoot and stream the action live from multiple angles
- Cut to exclusive athlete interviews during tournaments
- Brand videos with titles, text, and prerecorded openings
- Include partner logos to fulfill sponsorship agreements and generate revenue
Switcher Studio has allowed them to do just that. Golf Channel started using Switcher in May 2017 after meeting CEO Nick Mattingly at Facebook’s F8 Conference in San Jose, California, the previous month.
Since then, they’ve used Switcher to stream exclusive live coverage of events like the World Long Drive Championship and the East Lake Cup. With just a few iPhones and iPads for cameras and no need for TV airtime, their team is able to broadcast not only live gameplay but also coach and golfer interviews.
“It's increased production quality of our Facebook Live broadcasts in that it allows us to seamlessly integrate branding and graphics [and] tap into multiple camera angles and shots,” says Jackie Strouse, senior manager of social media for Golf Channel. “[We can] add in an opening slate and roll in recorded footage — those spice up the broadcasts,” she says.
Their talk shows and educational programs have also used Switcher — Feherty, Golf Channel Academy, and Morning Drive have all created exclusive programming for Facebook Live on the Switcher platform.
Best of all, Golf Channel’s digital media team can handle the productions in-house with equipment (i.e. iOS devices) they already own.
“It saves us the cost of hiring outside teams to produce graphics,” says Strouse. “We can use Switcher ourselves — it's intuitive — and no satellite uplink truck is needed.” Such a truck, required for live on-site television coverage, would cost upwards of $10,000 for a 4-day TV broadcast.
Golf Channel has also benefited from Switcher’s hands-on support. “Switcher’s provided extensive customer services via email and phone, preparing for events, and giving recommendations about connectivity and Wi-Fi setup, and also extensive support, production, and consulting services on-site at a couple of events,” she says.
Measuring their online video results in terms of views and engagements, Golf Channel has seen massive success with Switcher.
“We really began ramping up using Switcher in 2018, and our Facebook Live video viewership is up about 90% year-over-year, which is great,” says Strouse. “We currently have 718,000 page likes, and that is up about 20% since before using Switcher. So we've seen steady growth, and Switcher has been a part of that.”
“One of our most viewed Facebook Lives received almost 1.5 million video views and nearly 10,000 engagements, which is really strong,” says Strouse. “That was the Maurice Allen World Long Drive Facebook Live, which we pushed out via Switcher. That was sponsored by Volvik.”
Volvik isn’t the only big-name sponsor attracted to their Facebook Live videos. TaylorMade and Penske are also among the sponsors of Golf Channel’s exclusive Facebook broadcasts. As other media organizations still struggle to monetize their content in the ever-changing digital environment, Golf Channel exemplifies the way forward. They are the pioneers, after all, and other media outlets can follow their lead.
“I’d recommend Switcher to other media organizations for the same reasons it has benefited our team at Golf Channel,” says Strouse. “The product is very intuitive and user-friendly, and it allows people with a non-production background to create content that looks highly produced. In addition, Switcher has provided our team with fantastic customer service and consulting.”
Moving forward, Golf Channel is committed to providing coverage that grows with its viewers, and Switcher will be part of that. “We want to continue to pioneer more complex broadcasts as an alternative platform for golf coverage,” says Strouse. “I'd like to see us continue to evolve, keep pace with industry trends, and look for opportunities like Switcher where we can create alternative golfing experiences.”