Separate But Together

“Creating Global Community Experiences in a Pandemic” 

For its Facebook Watch’s live, interactive broadcasts, Mediapro Digital Chief Technology Officer Natxo Imaz Erdoiza says his team had to “act very, very fast” during the pandemic, devising a “plan A, plan B and plan C.”  

“We were learning from one day to another,” Erdoiza admits.  

Barcelona-based Mediapro produces the soccer-focused social show “La Liga on Facebook Watch” with a format that combines content in real time from its host Joe Morrison, Facebook Watch viewers and a range of sports experts (called “pundits” on the show).  

With lockdown underway, Erdoiza explains, the on-air team members streamed remotely from their homes, appearing “together” in a virtual set designed to replicate the physical one, while production aligned their feeds and connected the social component to them. 

Varying connection speeds, combined with increased global internet traffic during lockdown, tended to cause a latency for the on-air team that was unavoidable — despite multiple tests and experiments, “there was no magic solution,” Erdoiza says. Morrison admits it was a challenge to become accustomed to the format, but that the everyone learned to “respect the silence.”  

“Delivering interactive content” is at the core of the show, emphasizes Melissa Lawton, Head of Production, Sports, Facebook, and the Mediapro team was able to maintain its connection to the viewers, feeding audience input to the far-flung on-air team.  

This was critical to the success of the broadcasts, as the viewers were understandably even more eager to connect with the show and each other during lockdown. “People wanted to feel closer to [other] people,” explains Maria Emilia Rosciano, Executive Producer, La Liga on Facebook Watch, “and have the possibility to chat… it makes a big family.”  

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