EE has made the bold claim that Glastonbury festival will be the most shared live event of 2017. As official technology partner, the company expects to handle 33% more 4G data requests than in 2016 thanks to the proliferation of video sharing services on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
In the sports world, the rise of social video threatens TV rights holders; the English Premier League and Wimbledon have looked to clamp down on illegal broadcasts in particular. In the UK, the BBC retains the broadcast rights to Glastonbury, airing it to an audience much broader than the 170,000 or so festival attendees. EE wants more people than ever before sharing from Glastonbury and it doesn't believe this mass of live and personal video will devalue the BBC's broadcast.
Mat Sears, director of communications and sponsorship at EE, told The Drum: "A lot of what people share will be their personal experiences, away from the main stages, enjoying the incredible array of acts, artist and experiences that exist across Glastonbury, at all times of the day."
This additional content being generated attendees could actually help build the profile of the event, without directing people away from the broadcast. "The BBC’s live broadcast of Glastonbury is incredible, and it’s free for anyone to watch," stated Sears. "A fan filming from the crowd in front of the Pyramid stage can’t compete with that. Streaming from Glastonbury is not about broadcasting, it’s about sharing a unique view and personal experiences instantly with friends.”
To prepare for this unprecedented demand for data, EE has put down “the most powerful temporary 4G network” in the UK.
It expects around 40 terabytes of data to be expended throughout the five-day event. This flood is the equivalent of 4m minutes of video streamed through Facebook Live – footage that would take a total of 7.5 years to watch if you were so inclined.
“We spend a huge amount of time preparing for an event of this scale. We know our customers are sharing more content than ever and we need to make sure our network is robust enough to support this even if that is in a remote field.
“The partnership is very much about making our customers lives easier on site, and ensuring that all festival goers have a better experience because we help them stay connected.”
But if there’s one limitation with mobile devices in this day and age, it is that they will rarely last most than a day of usage, so to prepare for this EE’s putting down more charging points than ever before. Mobiles need juice to break sharing records. Newly announced also is a 4gee smart tent, which lucky campers will get to stay the night in, it boasts Wi-Fi, charging ports, an all-important mini fridge, and a virtual reality headset.
Arguably the best possible bit of marketing for EE is to provide a flawless experience for mobile users on its temporary network. “This is not a brand promotion but a core product play: our role is to ensure festival goers stay connected and charged on site, and have the best possible experience of our network, but how we deliver connectivity and charging has changed year on year.
“Technology is changing at a rapid rate and social media is growing so rapidly that we are always kept on our toes,” Sears concluded.
Headlining the festival this year is Ed Sheeran, Radiohead and the Foo Fighters.