Over the last few weeks, we have heard from a range of broadcasters that have responded to the coronavirus pandemic with a single watchword – “agility”.

But software vendors, too, have learned to think on their feet and find new customer categories.

Case in point – Cisco’s WebEx has been supporting video calls and presentations for years. But recently it has also turned that toward powering TV programming.

CNN is amongst the broadcasters using WebEx to involve remote guests in shows.

Pivot to programming

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Ashley Marusak, Global Lead, Sports Marketing, at Cisco, explains how the company is responding.

“WebEx is not something that’s traditionally used for broadcast, but I think in the spirit of being nimble and being innovative we were able to pivot that way,” she says.

“Not only for CNN, not only for The Jimmy Kimmel Show, the Ellen DeGeneres show, but also for Turner.

“We were able to turn our solution into one that could be utilised for broadcast and we worked with them in the weeks leading up to the event to really instil a lot of trust that the programme would go flawlessly and it did.”

Teeing-up television

Cisco’s WebEx has been spreading beyond CNN. In May, the software facilitated a pre-tournament collaborative chat ahead of Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity, a golf match presented by WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN.

During the broadcast, a collection of contributors joined in to offer commentary and donations.

“It’s not every day that we get tasked with having Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods on a WebEx together,” Marusak says.

“But in having them all together and sort of breaking this traditional model of what a press event or press release tends to look like and turning it into a virtual collaboration session it let, I think, them really shine.”

Home works

For many viewers, it was a much-needed return to sports broadcasting. For advertisers, it was the welcome re-appearance of programming their marketing budgets hve been missing during lockdown.

To Marusak, the technology it’s all part of a world that is helping people come together and get stuff done, from wherever they are.

“I’ve been a remote worker for eight years,” she says. “Being together is wonderful, but we can also be incredibly productive remotely. That can be a benefit to people’s personal lives, their professional lives. I don’t think that we’re really going to see that go away.

“So I think the trends that we’re seeing towards video technology highlights how important it is to see people, to see nonverbal communication.”

This video is part of a series titled “Trust in Partnership in a Time of Change” presented by WarnerMedia and Xandr.  Please visit this page for additional segments from the series.