Tagboard Rolls Out Cloud-Based Graphics System Put to the Test by the NFL Draft

CNN and participants in Facebook graduation event were also part of the beta

Minnesota Vikings on Tagboard
The Minnesota Vikings have been a Tagboard client for six years. Minnesota Vikings/NFL/Tagboard
Headshot of David Cohen

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate the creation of new products across industries, interactive storytelling platform Tagboard is releasing a new feature to cater to a workforce that’s at home.

Because the pandemic caused many of Tagboard’s partners, including news, sports and entertainment organizations, to significantly alter their production processes, Tagboard sped up the release of a new product to help smooth the transition.

Tagboard Graphics, which officially rolls out today, is a cloud-based system that enables producers to create, edit and incorporate new graphics into their stories, along with trending social content, while working from anywhere in the world.

Minnesota Vikings/NFL/Tagboard

“The media landscape is evolving on a daily basis right now. Live sports are in flux. Live entertainment is taking new formats,” said Tagboard chief revenue officer Nathan Peterson. “There are major advertising dollars at stake, so media entities must evolve operationally. Budgets are shifting, so they must do more with less.”

The company began developing the cloud-based product roughly eight months ago, and Covid-19 added a sense of urgency.

“The timing was critical for us,” Peterson said. “We had the product ready to go in beta and ended up in a conversation with NFL Media Group around the draft.”

He added that Tagboard has seen usage of its platform across linear and broadcast properties spike 48% over the past month.

Of the more than dozen partners who tried out the new feature in beta, most were sports-related, centered around the NFL draft.

Turning the draft from a live event into a virtual one prompted the NFL Network, which has used Tagboard’s platform for social media feeds for three years, to use Tagboard Graphics more broadly, including in shows like The Checkdown, Draft Tonight Live and the NFL Draft-a-Thon Live.

NFL/Tagboard

Aside from the league coverage, 10 NFL clubs produced watch parties, using Tagboard and Tagboard Graphics to incorporate multiple elements including appearances by players, coaches and fans, as well as interactive elements such as real-time social polls and fan reactions on Twitter.

“Social as a source of content is very efficient,” Peterson said. “We saw a real opportunity to evolve into having cloud-based graphics go directly through our software systems.”

San Francisco 49ers vice president and executive director Robert Alberino noted that producing live shows remotely can be technically challenging, but Tagboard helped mitigate that by putting all graphics and visual elements in one place.

The Tennessee Titans have used the technology to put their social media channels into their shows. “Having the capability for our fans to interact with the show was a big addition,” said manager of video content Michael Deuel.

The Minnesota Vikings have been a Tagboard client for six years, and the team took advantage of the new technology to host a virtual happy hour during the selection process, and planned additional hangouts to commemorate events such as the release of the schedule for the upcoming season.

“Even with guests popping in and out throughout the show, the fans were very much a part of the broadcast,” said the Vikings’ executive director of digital media and innovation, Scott Kegley.

In the news arena, CNN was already using the Tagboard platform to deliver questions to its hosts via social media, and it incorporated Tagboard Graphics into its Covid-19 Global Town Hall series, hosted by Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta.

And several of Tagboard’s media partners used its platform to deliver live content to #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 on May 15.

“It’s been an amazing rollout, humbling but also exciting,” Peterson said. “There has been a wonderful increase in types of content, different formats, forcing innovation on a number of fronts. What will this look like when things return to semi-normal? How much of this will we continue to see?”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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