Phenix aims to improve live streaming for bettors

How Phenix wants to make live streaming faster and better quality for weather

Mobile sports betting has continued to spread across the US as states legalize and launch their own sports betting markets. But the industry is still in its infancy, with some states yet to begin legalization and others adding new operators.

Live streaming and watching events is still relatively new in the US, with operators making streaming deals with platform providers. Bettors have experienced varying quality when watching streams from these sports apps.

But Phenix wants to change that.

The platform provider offers real-time streaming for sports betting integration by offering real-time coverage of sporting events. Real-time streaming latency is less than half a second, allowing viewers to watch content in sync to drive engagement, enable social interactions and increase sales. In comparison, current live streaming offerings now range from five seconds to a minute of latency with the possibility of buffering issues.

We spoke to Phenix’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jed Corenthal, to learn more about the Phenix platform and how it could transform the sportsbook experience when it launches in the US

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gambling.com: Jed, can you provide a brief overview of real-time streaming and how it works in relation to sports betting?

Jed Corenthal: Sure, so we take care of the video delivery. From the moment we capture the signal, the user sees what they see content on their device. We stream using a protocol known as Web RTC, which stands for Web Real-Time Communication. It is most familiar to those doing video conferencing such as Zoom, (Microsoft) Teams or (Google) Hangouts. This was specifically designed for video chat, and what we did is we took the log, we built it from the ground up using a proprietary technology, and we can stream worldwide and count as real-time passed by end to end is less than half a second. We are able to do this at broadcast scale. We’re the only company to have verified at least 500,000 concurrent viewers.

We also stream synchronously across all devices. Many, many times we hear people complaining that they’re watching a game and you know you’re watching it and then you text a friend and he or she saw something you didn’t like because of the delay have not yet seen in the stream. Those are the kinds of things we alleviate. The latency thing is pretty interesting because there’s a latency between the playing field and your device, but then there’s also something called drift, which is the amount of time between the next or the best stream or the shortest amount of latency, most. So you and I could be watching, or the three of us could be watching and all of our latencies are wildly different because of the way the technology is built. So we alleviate all these problems and solve all these problems. As you can imagine, we shine most where there is some sort of interactivity. And of course, as you mentioned, sports betting is the holy grail of interactivity.

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GDC: As someone who has watched streams on FanDuel or any other sportsbook, the stream is usually intermittent or not very good so it’s pretty cool to hear about it.

JC: The thing is, betting is traditionally based on data because data comes in much quicker, so if you’re in a sports betting app, FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet or wherever you are, look at the odds, you’re looking at spreads and things like that. With in-play betting, your bets are based on the incoming data and we ultimately try to add a video component. So, these sportsbooks moving more towards acquiring video rights could offer their users a watch and bet experience, which means you can watch the game and bet on the game at the same time with the same sportsbook app. This allows you to place more bets and place in-play bets and real micro bets.

From a sportsbook perspective, it allows them to generate a heck of a lot more transactions, which is their goal because people can spend more time and engage with the content they are watching. It kind of leads to the fact that they will just make more bets and spend more time and then make another bet.

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GDC: How soon do you think we could see this technology at popular sportsbooks in the US like FanDuel and DraftKings?

JC: Look, we’re talking to them. I think it’s the old story of who’s going to be first and who’s going to take the plunge. We’re already doing that overseas, but it’s a bit slower in the US. The market is not quite as mature as the overseas market, particularly in the UK. But I’m confident that some of the conversations we’re having with some sportsbooks will turn into what you and I want, which is for them our technology and start streaming games on their app and taking micro bets and it’s all happening Real time. It’s hard to say when, but I’m confident we’ll see it next year.

GDC: I see your company also works with iGaming and live dealer casino games. We are starting to get more online casinos with live dealers in the US. How can technology provide a better user experience with live dealer casinos?

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JC: The US has focused so much on sports betting legislation that there are only seven states that have passed legislation on iGaming, table games or live dealer games. I think that will catch up. There are many people who believe that iGaming revenue will be even greater than sports betting revenue, which is really scary as sports betting revenue will be in the tens, maybe even hundreds of billions over time .

What we are doing in this space is we are allowing these companies to not only stream their table games like roulette, poker, bingo or whatever they have in real time, but play them in sync so everyone is playing at the same time. It allows them to have an unlimited number of players playing each game, whereas previously they were limited by the number of players who can play a blackjack game at the same time. With our technology, 100,000 or a million people could play at the same time. For them, they see an opportunity to generate revenue and jumped at the opportunity. We’ve already signed two companies and are very far along with the third, and the third is a big company. It’s funny because it wasn’t a huge focus for us a year ago, but has become a focus due to space and a desire to reduce latency. When we started proving the scale and people were happy that we could sustain half a second of latency while streaming to half a million people, I think it was eye-opening for a lot of people.

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GDC: I’ve noticed from watching live dealer games that blackjack can constantly have an awkward pause when someone decides to hit or stand. So would this technology speed up the pace of the game?

JC: I think it will speed everything up. There is no delay. Everyone is watching at the same time, so absolutely, it will speed up the pace of the game. You will have more games. I think we’re starting to see that the two companies that we have relationships with are putting out more games and more tables, so no question I think it’s just going to grow.

GDC: How do you see this upswing and how do you see the overall growth and development of the US betting industry in the coming years?

JC: Let’s say two years from now, by the end of 2024, I would think we’ll be somewhere in the low to mid 40’s as far as the number of states that have laws. I think we’re probably going to get to 45 and then there’s going to be some holdouts that are going to last a long time, who knows? But once you’re in your 40’s it becomes a national business and no longer state by state and regional. That will change a lot. All the stations in the US that have deals with betting partners, like PointsBet with NBC, and Caesars and DraftKings, all these different stations, I think we’re going to start to see more integration into the show itself. Whether this is a secondary feed dedicated to betting, giving the viewer the option to watch the main feed or the real-time secondary feed dedicated only to betting, odds and graphics and maybe even different announcers. Things where you can sync the broadcast with the sportsbook app and maybe even bet on the broadcast itself.

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Another thing I want to mention is another thing that’s coming to the US and that’s peer to peer betting, which means you and I look at a game and I’m telling you that Aaron Rodgers is going to throw a touchdown on the next game and you say, “No. he is not. I’ll bet you two bucks.” Not only do we bet the odds against the sportsbook, we bet against each other. Now you’re talking about a level of engagement that really gets to grips with the books because you’re putting in so much more time.

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