ISSUE 30 | DECEMBER 2012
TECHNOLOGY INTELLIGENCE FOR TV, FILM AND RADIO
BEST OF 2012
ENG. SALEH AL MEGHAILEETH WALKS AWAY WITH PRESTIGIOUS BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR AWARD
CNN team on covering the US presidential election campaign
ROAD TO AFRICA
Exclusive tour of an OB van headed for Ethiopia
THE SECOND SCREEN
Experts discuss multi-platform trends at BroadcastPro Summit
FIGHTING THE GORILLA
How small TV channels are snacking on parts of the audience pie
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
FIGHTING THE GORILLA An interesting take on TV viewing trends in the region. A must-read piece from Christopher O’Hearn
PUBLISHER Dominic De Sousa GROUP COO Nadeem Hood MANAGING DIRECTOR Richard Judd EDITORIAL Group Editor Vijaya Cherian firstname.lastname@example.org +971 (0) 55 105 3787 Assistant Editor Shamika Andrade email@example.com +971 (0) 4 440 9111 MARKETING & ADVERTISING Publishing Director Raz Islam firstname.lastname@example.org T +971 4 440 9129 Group Sales Manager Sandip Virk email@example.com +971 (0) 50 459 2653 Sales Manager Rodi Hennawi firstname.lastname@example.org +971 (0) 50 714 04273 DESIGN Head of Design Fahed Sabbagh Graphic Designers Jane Matthews Glenn Roxas PHOTOGRAPHY Jay Colina CIRCULATION & PRODUCTION Production Manager James P Tharian email@example.com +971 (0) 4 440 9146 Circulation Manager Rajeesh M firstname.lastname@example.org +971 (0) 4 440 9147 DIGITAL SERVICES www.broadcastprome.com Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson De Joya email@example.com T +971 4 440 9100 Published by 1013 Centre Road, New Castle County, Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Welcome After a very successful second edition of the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards, which was covered in significant detail through our social media activities, the videos we posted on www.broadcastprome.com of the panel discussions, the photographs we put up on our Facebook page and more importantly, the coverage in this issue of the magazine, we thought it was time for us to take a backseat and let you hear what some of the attendees and sponsors had to say about this event. “I have, in the past seven years, attended several broadcast events in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Beirut and South Africa but I must say it is you who attracted the ‘key broadcast people’ in one room.” — Laurent Roussel, Managing Director, Newtec Middle East “For the second year in a row, the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards has provided a productive discussion forum for the industry and an excellent platform to reward individuals and organisations for their contributions in the Middle East region. We look forward to supporting the event next year, and would like to congratulate the entire organising team for a job well done.” — Said Bacho, Vice President, Harris Broadcast Middle East and South Asia
HEADQUARTERS PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 (0) 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 (0) 4 447 2409
© Copyright 2012 CPI. All rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.
“I have only one word for the event: Outstanding! You have made the event a ‘must-attend’ on the calendar of the Middle East broadcast family and that, by itself, is an achievement.” — Mark Barkey, Regional Sales Director, Axon “It is always a pleasure to participate in events that empower us and enhance the position of the local broadcast industry. BroadcastPro ME has worked creatively in this direction. It feels great to see such unified participation from all broadcasters, manufacturers and system integrators in one event.” — Hassan Chahine, CEO, GloCom
Eng. Saleh Al Meghaileeth, Deputy Minister of Engineering Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Information, Saudi Arabia
ISSUE 29 | DECEMBER 2012
TECHNOLOGY INTELLIGENCE FOR TV, FILM AND RADIO
PRINTED BY Printwell Printing Press LLC
“The panels, for me, were right on target and I liked the fact that they complemented each other. The Awards were nice and short and gave us time to enjoy a good meal and the chance to mingle with people in the business in an open and friendly surrounding.” — Mustafa Tell, GM, ART, Jordan
VIjaya Cherian, Group Editor, Broadcast Division
Let’s create a vibrant online broadcast community!
BEST OF 2012
ENG. SALEH AL MEGHAILEETH WALKS AWAY WITH PRESTIGIOUS BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR AWARD
CNN team on covering the US Presidential election campaign
ROAD TO AFRICA
Exclusive tour of an OB van headed for Ethiopia
THE SECOND SCREEN
Experts discuss multi-platform trends at BroadcastPro Summit
FIGHTING THE GORILLA
How small TV channels are snacking on parts of the audience pie
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
Twitter: @BroadcastProME Facebook: www.facebook.com/BroadcastProME LinkedIn group: BroadcastProME
Leave no story untold What you capture on set will define how your story unfolds. The cutting edge EOS C300 is born to please cinematographers. Lightweight, compact and stunningly simple to operate, it is scalable for any project and affordable even for small independent productions. cpn.canon-europe.com
in this issue DECEMBER 2012 7
NEWS Management shakeup at DMI; new installations in Jordan and Dubai
TRENDS 13 Chris O’Hearn on most watched channels and programmes among Arab expatriates
48 DIFF representatives shed more light on new initiatives at roundtable
50 CASE STUDY A brand new OB van, designed by Sony PSMEA heads to Ethiopia
56 DIGITAL NEWSGATHERING CNN’s American Quest Producer on covering the US election campaigns
60 PRODUCTION A closer look at the 48-hour film project in Dubai
62 PRODUCTS What’s new this month from the manufacturers!
64 GUEST COLUMN Online radio measurement
Full coverage of the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards 2012
The future, ahead of schedule.
Sony is bringing the power of 4K to new applications and helping widen the 4K audience. Sony’s collaboration with third parties further expands the workflow possibilities. ‘Sony’ and ‘make.believe’ are trademarks of Sony Corporation
Sony Professional Solutions MEA FZ LLC, Unit C-50, P. O. Box 502050, International Media Production Zone, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tel: +971 4 391 8400, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.pro.sony.eu
Autodesk Smoke 2013 for Mac will be released worldwide on December 3, 2012
JORDAN’S AV COMMISSION MONITORS BROADCASTS WITH VOLICON
he Audio Visual Commission (AVC) of Jordan has deployed Volicon’s Observer digital video monitoring and logging system to ensure that radio and satellite television broadcasters maintain compliance with AVC directives. Supplied to the governmental authority by Modern Systems and Computer Trade (MSCT), Volicon’s representative in Jordan, the Observer system performs continuous
monitoring and recording of aired content to enable AVC’s rapid investigation of comments or complaints. “With the Observer system, we have realised significant improvements to our monitoring operations,” said Herant Malekyan, director of engineering at AVC. “Our staff can review many channels on a single screen and, when necessary, access suspect content in a very short time, so we’ve seen efficiency
DISCOVERY TO ACQUIRE TAKHAYAL ENTERTAINMENT Discovery Communications has announced that it will acquire Dubai-based media company Takhayal Entertainment and its affiliated companies in Dubai and Egypt, including its flagship food TV network, Fatafeat. The parties are in the final stages of formalising the transfer with the relevant authorities. The announcement was made by Takhayal CEO Youssef El-Deeb and Mark Hollinger, CEO of Discovery Networks International. Discovery stated that the deal will enable it to extend its reach in the growing Middle East and North Africa TV market, and strengthen its existing portfolio of female-targeted
lifestyle pay TV brands, including TLC and Real Time, which are available in more than 150 countries outside the U.S. The acquisition will also give Discovery access to a vast library of cooking recipes and the company’s local production facility. Hollinger stated that Discovery’s acquisition of Takhayal “significantly strengthens our portfolio in this region and adds content in a genre that has proven popular with our viewers around the globe”. “We look forward to working with Takhayal to leverage their strong position in the Arab world and take Discovery’s female-targeted lifestyle content deeper into the marketplace.” Takhayal’s CEO El-Deeb added
gains. The capacity of the Observer system has proved valuable, as the large cache of recorded content gives us the flexibility to investigate possible infractions over a much longer period.” AVC’s Observer system records 40 satellite channels and 16 radio (FM) channels, preserving at least 30 days of content for review. Using the Observer’s streamlined interface, AVC staff can quickly dial back to the
subject of the complaint and investigate the matter. The Observer system replaces an older system that was limited in the number of channels it could record, the amount of content it could capture and store, and the speed with which it provided audio and video for review. In an effort to help AVC address these issues, MSCT introduced the Volicon Observer system and facilitated system design, installation, and training.
Youssef El-Deeb, CEO of Takhayal.
that the company’s in-house studio has compiled a library of 700 hours of programmes since its launch five years ago. Takhayal Entertainment will be managed as part of Discovery’s Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region led by Kasia
Kieli, President & Managing Director. Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions and is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2012. Allen and Overy LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
PRONEWS KALEMEH TV EXPANDS PRODUCTION WITH TRICASTER 850 Kalemeh TV, a web-based Islamic development channel, has upgraded from the TriCaster 300 to the TriCaster 850 Extreme to enhance its production capabilities. Production Manager Seyed Masoud, who heads the Production Department at Kalemeh TV, says the new solution utilises many of the features of the TriCaster such as streaming, graphics, virtual sets, CG, playlists, iVGA, animations and transitions.
The previous solution had only three inputs while with the TriCaster 850 EXTREME, NewTek delivers an entire high-end TV production facility including the ability to record up to eight live sources simultaneously, using proprietary NewTek IsoCorder technology. This allows the team to be more interactive and creative. Kalemeh TV has also expressed plans to acquire the latest TriCaster 8000 in the coming months.
ABU DHABI MEDIA EXPANDS SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM State broadcaster Abu Dhabi Media has appointed Dr Mohammed El-Said as the media entity’s new general counsel. Dr El-Said will oversee Abu Dhabi Media’s legal department and work to safeguard the company’s rights. He will report directly to the CEO Ayman Safadi. Speaking about the appointment, Safadi said: “Dr El-Said brings years of legal expertise from the regional media field. He is appointed to direct our legal function and oversee transactions, as well as to protect the organisation’s rights.” Prior to this, Dr El Said served as senior legal counsel at Al Jazeera Media Network, for more than six years, specialising in technology and media intellectual property rights issues, drafting and reviewing contracts and agreements, the drafting and implementation of policies and procedures, legal compliance, and overseeing litigation. Before joining Al Jazeera, Dr. El Said practiced law in Jordan from 1999 to 2005.
MediaSys MD Bejoy George addresses the attendees.
MEDIASYS LAUNCHES ONLINE FORUM AT VFX EVENT Dubai based distributor MediaSys showcased several brands it represents at a recent CG/VFX event it hosted. The event was attended by more than 100 individuals from the industry consisting of broadcasters, video editors, graphic artists and architectural visualiSation professionals among others, according to claims by the
distributor. The event was a platform for companies such as The Foundry, Chaos Group, Autodesk, MediaSys to showcase their products. One of the highlights of the event was the launch of CG Arabia, a community of digital artists. This forum is created to facilitate sharing of news, product launches and trends in the industry. The forum is
designed to find discussion rooms where artists share thoughts and ideas as well as demonstrate their work for critics. Commenting on the meet Bejoy George, managing director of MediaSys said: “This event demonstrated an integral part of what we believe in, which is to stay connected to our customers and give them a platform to share, learn and stay updated with the current trends. We work hard to develop a relationship with our customers that go beyond sales.”
ABU DHABI KEY LOCATION FOR BIG BUDGET HOLLYWOOD FLICK A USD 90 million Hollywood film will bring renowned actors including Anthony Hopkins, Liam Hemsworth, Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson to Abu Dhabi early December, according to events management company, Sky Events, which is managing the production for the film. The remake of Arabian Nights, directed by Chuck Russell, will see Hopkins play the role of the evil king Pharotu while there are mixed rumours about Hunger Games star Hemsworth’s role. Some reports state he will play Ali Baba while others say he will act as a young military commander who will team up with the good people. 60% of the film will be shot between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, according to Sky Events. Produced by Mayhem Pictures, the plot revolves around one of the tales in the Arabian Nights, where a young army commander joins forces with Sinbad to save the wife of a sultan. The movie is expected to hit theatres late 2013 or early 2014.
6 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2012
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IT’S A PITY YOU ONLY HAVE TWO EYES With the introduction of HView™ SX Pro, Harris is raising the stakes in multi-display technology. Peerless picture quality. A vast range of user-friendly control options. And more sources and outputs in fewer rack units than any available multiviewer. So if you’re looking to upgrade your live production studio or truck, look no further than HView™ SX Pro. Your eyes and your business will be happy you did.
broadcast.harris.com/multiviewers Middle East Sales: +971 4 4338250 24x7 Service: +971 4 4338260 Sales.MiddleEast@harris.com
MAJOR SHAKEUP AT DMI A major restructuring announcement at Dubai Media Inc. saw Ahmad Abdullah Al Shaikh step down from his role as managing director of the state-backed broadcaster while Sami Al Qamzi has taken over as Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the media entity. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai is Chairman of DMI and Ahmad Saeed Al Mansouri, former head of Sama TV, has been appointed Director General of DMI’s TV channels. The high-profile appointments are part of a decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime
Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, last month. Previously, Ahmad Abdullah Al Shaikh was MD of the entire media entity. The new decree sees various candidates appointed as heads of different sections. Da’en Shaheen has been appointed Director General of DMI ‘s Publishing sector while Mona Al Marri will take on the role of Director General of Dubai Government’s Media Office. The new appointments reflect Sheikh Mohammed’s attempts to decentralise operations and give each department within the media entity greater autonomy. The appointments will also enable a second tier of staff to be trained to assume management roles.
SALAM MEDIA CAST AND VIDIGO PARTNER A new deal will see Salam MediaCast’s (SMC) customers access VidiGo’s range of broadcast software products. VidiGo has a host of software products running on standard IThardware that liberate the use of professional video and make the production of AV content accessible and affordable to everyone. Speaking about the deal, Paul Hennessy, CEO of SMC said: “Our new partnership
with VidiGo expands our ability to deliver innovative workflows that benefit customer specific requirements.” The deal follows a similar arrangement with HoloVis International Ltd and Visual Unity which will enable SMC to expand its capabilities in the broadcast solutions market and offer a greater range of technology, solutions and services to its client base in the Middle East and Europe.
AL JAZEERA CHILDREN’S CHANNEL AND BBC WORLDWIDE ENHANCE PARTNERSHIP Al Jazeera Children’s Channel (JCC) recently enhanced its partnership with BBC Worldwide, BBC’s commercial arm. The agreement aims to screen a range of television shows to Arab audiences. With a range of genres such as natural history, pre-teen content, adventure, comedy and animation, JCC will now be able to offer more than 180 hours of new BBC programming. All programmes will be dubbed into classical Arabic and will be broadcast on JCCTV and Baraem TV in early 2013. Commenting on the deal, Rashed Al Qurese, Acting Director of Sales and Media Rights, JCC said: “Both JCC and BBC have a strong tradition of providing quality entertainment to their audiences. This new selection of creative and intelligent series will expand on our schedule of programming that children will love and parents will trust.”
Rashed Al Qurese, Acting Director of Sales and Media Rights, JCC.
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PRONEWS EMATTERZ USES BLACKMAGIC TO STREAM BROADCASTPRO CONFERENCE LIVE BroadcastPro ME magazine partnered with Dubaibased production house eMatterz to undertake the production, live webcast and live relay of its annual summit and awards in Dubai. eMatterz used three Sony EX 3 and one EX 1 cameras to film the event. The HD videos captured from these cameras were fed to a Blackmagic ATEM 2M/E Switcher, which served as the primary vision mixer. The ATEM 2 M/E with its two auxiliary outputs was used to feed the live cut video signal to a video wall and to stream online using eMatterz’ bespoke software. The switcher was connected to a hardware [ATEM 1 M/E] broadcast panel providing the technical director with a more intuitive and user friendly means of producing and telecasting the event live. Live streaming the event presented a number of challenges; the workflow had to be of the highest quality to cope with the unpredictable nature of live events, Pritesh Depala, Managing Director of eMatterz said. “Uplink speeds are a major limitation here in the region when streaming,” he commented. “However, by connecting viewers directly to the backend, we were able to deliver the final output. This substantially reduced any need for buffering, as once the widget loaded up, viewers were linked directly to the primary stream.”
Pritesh Depala, MD of eMatterz.
The eMatterz team in action at the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards.
Another area of concern for any live streaming is the delay involved in it. Connecting the programme output of the ATEM2 M/E through an iMac with UltraStudio 3D ensured the live feed had no more than a six-second delay. Redundancy and backup was another big consideration when building a live workflow. To that end, eMatterz utilised the ATEM Television Studio with its built-in H.264 encoder as a backup production switcher. In addition, a range of Blackmagic Design Mini Converters not only helped address issues of analogue signals such as the analogue connections in the video wall, but also that of frame sync delays from the control device of the video wall.
BAHRAIN’S BATELCO TIES WITH OSN Bahrain telecom provider, Batelco has partnered with pay-TV network OSN enabling its Blackbox customers to register and access OSN Play. Batelco Blackbox customers subscribed to OSN can watch their favourite programmes, anywhere, anytime and at no extra charge. Batelco Blackbox services are currently available for customers in Riffa Views and Reef Islands in Bahrain.
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December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com 19/10/2012 09:38:14 |
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The gorilla analogy applies as much to television as it does to real life (just in case you are ever faced with an angry gorilla). In last month’s tview figures, I’m looking at the figures for Arab expats, who make up around 25-30% of the UAE population and are a core audience for a channel like MBC, and a major target for advertisers. As we can see from the tables, MBC dominates this sector. Its six entertainment channels, plus Arabiya, are all in the Top 10. But the story is in the programmes. In my view, one of MBC’s great talents is scheduling. As a multi-channel network, it realises viewers don’t sit passively all night, so it juggles the audience from one place to another. It doesn’t show up on this Top 20 programmes chart over a month but Baaeaat Al Ward on MBC Drama is strong at 7 p.m. Then you can flip to a big serial such as Fatma on MBC1 at 8 p.m. The 9 p.m. slot belongs to Harem Al Soltan on Dubai TV so MBC saves its firepower and comes back at 10 p.m. usually on MBC4, where it has another strong strip of series throughout the year, or big entertainment shows such as The Voice, Arab Idol and so on. So that is the gorilla? How do you go
Fighting a Gorilla How do you wrestle a 300lb gorilla? That’s the question many people in this market have to ask when trying to make headway against the might of MBC Group. The answer is probably not to get too close Top channels viewed by Arab expats Rank Channels 1 MBC 1 2 MBC 2 3 MBC 4 4 MBC Action 5 MBC Max 6 Dubai TV 7 Al Arabiya 8 MBC Drama 9 National Geographic Abu Dhabi 10 Abu Dhabi Al Oula 11 Al Jazeera 12 Rotana Cinema 13 Melody Aflam 14 Zee Aflam 15 Rotana Aflam 16 Abu Dhabi Drama 17 Fox Movies 18 Fatafeat 19 Abu Dhabi Sports Channel 20 Sharjah TV
TRP 280.2 174.1 122.8 122 119.1 106.7 105 101 96 84 81.5 71.3 52.4 48.2 47 41.4 39.7 28.2 27.3 27
Share 5 3.11 2.19 2.18 2.12 1.9 1.87 1.8 1.71 1.5 1.45 1.27 0.94 0.86 0.84 0.74 0.71 0.5 0.49 0.48
Rtg% 0.58 0.36 0.26 0.25 0.25 0.22 0.22 0.21 0.2 0.18 0.17 0.15 0.11 0.1 0.1 0.09 0.08 0.06 0.06 0.06
Rch% 68.2 68 62.7 62.2 64.2 58.8 62.1 61 49.7 54.7 54.6 53.1 54.3 46.9 53 57.1 49.5 48.6 44.4 54.9
The total number of hours viewed by this target group in this particular week is 219.12 hours for three consecutive minutes
Top programmes viewed by Arab expats Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Title/Description Channel FATMA / SEASON 2 MBC1 THE VOICE MBC1 AL AWRAQ AL MOTASAQETA/SEASON 5 MBC1 PROPHET MOHAMMED MBC1 HAREM ALSOLTAN / SEASON 2 DUBAI TV THE VOICE MBC 4 BAIT MBC 2 ALA MAR AL ZAMAN MBC 4 ACCEPTED MBC 2 RESIDENT EVIL MBC 2 BEE MOVIE MBC MAX WILD CHILD MBC 2 BABY’S DAY OUT MBC Max FISHZILLA : SNAKEHEAD INVASION National Geographic Abu Dhabi FATMA / SEASON 2 MBC 1 AL MONTAQM MBC 1 STOUHI MBC 1 TEMPLE GRANDIN MBC Max DOMINO MBC 2 EID SAEED MBC 1
Genre SERIES ENTERTAINMENT SERIES CULTURAL SERIES ENTERTAINMENT MOVIE SERIES MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE CULTURAL SERIES SERIES ENTERTAINMENT MOVIE MOVIE ENTERTAINMENT
Time 19.58 22.17 17.00 13.51 20.56 22.05 24.00 22.03 18.00 23.57 17.59 14:00 16:32 24:10 14:01 18:00 14:57 10:14 03:00 18:07
Rate 3.63 3.25 2.38 2.25 1.95 1.74 1.74 16.2 1.58 1.55 1.5 1.49 1.48 1.44 1.43 1.39 1.38 1.35 1.32 1.28
RTG (000) 74.06 66.11 48.45 45.89 39.62 35.41 34.64 32.85 31.9 31.65 30.72 30.18 29.99 29.39 29.26 28.39 28.02 27.31 26.94 25.96
Share 20.43 18.36 16.12 12.6 11.06 10.45 12.49 8.99 10.11 10.05 9.44 8.49 10.35 8.32 10.45 8.83 9.16 14.56 16.39 9.16
about stealing its bananas? The Dubai TV approach is to go head on with something equally big such as Harem Al Soltan. That certainly works – it gets them into the top 10 channels, although if you exclude that hour, Dubai TV would drop out. It is wrestling the gorilla, so it is high-risk unless you have the strength of a proven, bankable programme. The other way is perhaps characterised by channels such as Fatafeat and National Geographic Abu Dhabi. Rather than take a bananas-or-bust approach, they’ve found something else to snack on. For large parts of the day, they pick up consistent ratings. Hour after hour, they get 1 and 2% share, which adds up to consistent performance, boosted by the occasional hit programme. More importantly, from an advertising point of view, they can point to parts of the day, usually out of prime time, where they deliver certain types of audience nearly as well as the bigger channels and probably, at much lower rates. This is one of the adjustments the market needs to make based on the people meter data. The granularity of the information means that advertisers can be more effective in targeting a specific audience at welldefined times of the day. The question is just whether that target is watching the high-profile prime-time shows or something a bit less obvious. PRO Christopher O’Hearn is GM of Emirates Media Measurement Company, which has rolled out ‘tview’, the UAE’s new television ratings and audience measurement system and the first in the Middle East.
Infosys+data sample Arab Expats October 15- November 15, 2012 – Rank sort according to RTG%
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
The Summit was streamed live for viewers. A beautiful edit of the awards as well as complete records of the panel discussions are posted on www.broadcastprome.com The web site also leads you to our Facebook page, which includes pictures taken at the event. Special thanks to the ematterz team for undertaking these projects for us. Join us on Twitter @BroadcastProMe
14 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2012
he ASBU BroadcastPro Summit, which was held on November 12 at Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, was one of the most well attended broadcast events in the Middle East and North Africa with more than 230 delegates in attendance. Both delegates and participants commented on the fullhouse that remained till the close of day at 5pm – a strong testimony to the keen interest generated by the panel discussions and the quality of the professionals participating. Dr. Riyadh Najm, vice president of the Arab States Broadcasting Union and Deputy Minister of Information Affairs, Saudi MOCI, welcomed delegates to the Summit. The keynote address was delivered by Ahmed Shaikh, Advisor to the Chairman of Al Jazeera Network, who traced the tumultous journey of the Dohabased broadcaster to the big league among global broadcasters. Panel discussions followed on exploring the link between
broadcast and IT, where speakers assessed the challenges enroute to file-based operations, the convergence of technologies and the viability of cloud, among other issues. A presentation by Dr. Fares Lubbadeh of SpaceTech TV Engineering, Jordan, offered the audience an insight and some startling facts into the Arab broadcasting scene in view of the Arab Spring and other related technological advancements. Other panel discussions focused on multi-platform deliveries, the ‘love-hate’ relationship between telcos and broadcasters and establishing a sustainable business model for the broadcast industry. Dr Riyadh Najm joined CEOs from YahLive, Rotana, Sky News Arabia and Dubai Media Inc. to offer a candid view of the challenges in the region towards building sustainable business models for the broadcasters. Detailed reviews of the panel discussions follow in the subsequent pages.
Ahmed Shaikh, Advisor to the Chairman of Al Jazeera Network.
Dr. Fares Lubbadeh, SpaceTech TV Engineering, Jordan.
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
Broadcast and IT — Exploring the Link
Frank Kerrin, Director of Tech Support & Projects, OSN.
Steve Halis, CTO, Salam Media Cast.
Omran Abdallah, Head of Engineering, twofour54.
Hassan Ghoul, MD Middle East, Grass Valley.
Moderator: Hasan Sayed Hasan, MD, Media Master.
he panel had a good mix of representatives from key broadcasters, manufacturers, systems integrators as well as service providers. The session began with panelists being asked about the key challenges faced by broadcasters today in an environment where technology and business models were continuously evolving. Depending on the state of each broadcaster, each had a different response. Each broadcaster is set in a different environment and, therefore, each has a different set of issues to address. Sky News Arabia, for instance, had no legacy issues to battle with. What it required was stateof-the-art technology that rivaled systems across the world and Dominic Baillie, CTO of Sky News Arabia, seemed to suggest that products from manufacturers were just not up to the mark. The key challenge is getting vendors to appreciate “that technology has moved forward from video to IP, and content-agnostic/ formatagnostic systems in delivery”. “We are trying to build systems from technology hat is old and outdated and the new technology just isn’t available,” he stated. Hassan Ghoul, managing director of Grass Valley agreed that manufacturers need to stay ahead of the game. “The challenge for a manufacturer is to anticipate what the next requirement of the broadcaster is and try to empower them with the tools and facilities to go forward with their plans. It is important for manufacturers to look into all the processes that the file-based workflows introduce, and anticipate how these processes are going to evolve in the new era,” he added. For MBCXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and DMI that are dealing with legacy systems and attempting to migrate to a tapeless workflow, often the scale of migration and the volume of change can be mind boggling not just for the heads but also for staff. Group Technical Director Andy Palmer says his biggest challenge has been “disengaging people from the idea that they have to carry a tape” and encouraging them to trust their content to a computer. For Afzal Lakdawala, who heads
16 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2012
the technology planning and projects department at Dubai Media Inc, commented that moving away from legacy systems is a Herculean task as the state broadcaster is so massive. “We have an aggressive three-year plan to move to a tapeless file-based workflow, which also supports the shift to HD broadcasting. These plans cannot be achieved overnight. We have recently revamped DMI’s news centre to a completely file-based operation end-to-end, and broadcast the Olympics in a completely tapeless environment but there are so many different chunks left to deal with,” he stated. Pay TV network, which has just launched OSN Play for different platforms, has a different set of issues. Unlike state broadcasters, its biggest mandate is increasing its subscriber base and it has left no stone unturned to make this happen. Frank Kerrin says the delivery to additional screens, for instance, was primarily intended to retain existing subscribers although it will hopefully generate additional revenue in the future. He added that OSN plans to increase its HD channels portfolio. “Our plan is to have the entire OSN XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX platform in HD-only by 2014.” Speaking on behalf of the systems integrators (SI), was Steve Halis, CTO of Salam Media Cast. He stated that an SI needs to respond quickly to the evolving requirements of clients and build future-proof systems. He stated that every client has their own issues, challenges and business models. While some seem content to invest in the newest technologies and
Dominic Baillie, CTO, Sky News Arabia.
More than 230 people attended the 2012 ASBU BroadcastPro Summit in Dubai.
deliver content across various platforms with no thought about revenue, others have revenue as their top priority. “We have a wide gamut of technologies and choices that we can now put in front of our clients. We are chasing new media wherever it is, and need to deliver to the platform that people choose.” Grass Valley’s Ghoul also pointed out that as most of the multi-screen content is now repurposed from linear content, one should look “at the processes from the start to the finish to have a complete integrated workflow”. David Sallak of Isilon pointed out that in a very complex world, where we have almost 100 deliverable formats, there is a dire need for simpler infrastructure. “Traditional linear broadcasts still constitute the main revenue generating source for broadcasters, but the new delivery platforms create opportunities. The manufacturers can play a role in helping broadcasters deliver to different places, to the complexity of the new platforms, but do it in a simple way,” he stated. Sallak explained that this can be achieved by leveraging the infrastructure and making the delivery simpler, and doing it in an “open” way. “The broadcasters are asking manufacturers to support the flexibility so they can be more efficient. When broadcasters have to deliver to 100 linear and non-linear formats, flexibility becomes key.” Omran Abdallah, Engineering Director at twofour54, called for broadcasters to sit together and agree on certain standards. “New challenges include working
with a number of formats and the extra costs associated with adding plugins to various systems such as post-production or archiving [so all these systems can talk to each other],” he pointed out. The discussion led the panelists to question if sticking to one “house format” at the highest possible quality from which various versions could be created for delivery to multiple screens would be the way forward. MBC’s Palmer said there was a need for more flexible systems that would enable broadcasters to easily change their workflows as and when business requirements dictated this change without having to revert to vendors. Sallak added that “big data” can be beneficial to the broadcasting industry. By applying analytics and face recognition tools to a broadcaster’s archive, for example, he explained that there could be greater wins and added value to the stored content that is usually saved in deep archives but often wasted and never used again. Cloud computing was debated with varying opinions from the panelists. The issue of security was raised and whether content owners would be comfortable in storing their valuable content in an environment outside their control. The cost of connectivity in the region was identified as a barrier against adoption of cloud services. What services could be accepted to be cloudbased, such as content repurposing or deep archiving, was also discussed. - Moderator Hasan Sayed Hasan, Managing Director of Master Media, summed up this panel discussion.
Andy Palmer, Group Technology Director, MBC
David Sallak, Chief Strategist for Media, EMC/Isilon.
Afzal Lakdawala, Head of Technology, DMI.
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
Exploring Multi-platform Delivery
his panel brought together a number of multiplatform players from varied fields including representatives from Intigral, MBC, ONE CONNXT, Newtec, iMediaCo, The Apex Group and Minerva. Interestingly, all of them work within different parts of the chain and were, therefore, able to shed light on various elements of the multiplatform experience. The discussion was moderated by Dolby’s regional director for the Middle East, Tarif Sayed. Some of the key elements of this discussion centered around what standards to adopt, the cost element in delivering content across multiple platforms, the importance of content, the need to monetise it and more importantly, making the right content available on the right device. To a query on what standards dominated the scene today, Juan Jose of Intigral began by stating that the market has witnessed the emergence of three dominant platforms – the Apple world, the Microsoft world and the Android world. However, he stated that the user experience will be fulfilling only if they can move between different platforms and devices seamlessly. He called MPEG Dash a “strong and bold movement” that seemed to be moving towards this goal. Alan Constant, who helped launch a hybrid set top box for ART in Jordan three years ago, and who has advocated the use of one platform by all broadcasters for several years, expressed scepticism about ever seeing one definititive standard in the region but agreed that MPEGDash was a step in the right direction. Simon Pryor of Newtec stated that the use of new technologies did not see the death of linear TV as many had predicted. Instead, increasingly we see the co-existence of several different models and as a result, he foresees HbbTV as the
driving standard on the delivery side. The cost factor seemed to rule the discussion, whether it dealt with costs associated with delivering content to mulitple platforms; generating revenue from delivering content to a second screen or monetising content. Paul Dingwitz, CTO of ONE CONNXT, a US-based media solutions provider said the aim is invariably to “achieve a cost-effective delivery solution while maintaining quality and deliverability to all of the different platforms”. Marco Bonomi of Minerva Networks agreed that cost was the “number one variable”. “When it comes to multiple standards and the way of delivering video, that usually has an impact on cost especially on the headend side. We often suggest lowering the different number of standards that you are using to deliver video at least at the beginning of the deployment and from our side, we try to embed a player into any application that we deliver to multiple devices in order to support that specific standard. We see that vis-à-vis traditional TV and IPTV markets, the impact of cost on OTT is really huge. He said there was “a need for more hosted models to deliver services in more cost effective ways”. Alex Giannikoulis, CEO of The Apex Group at this point chipped in that Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) offered one of the easiest ways to deliver the content to multiple platforms. The debate went on to content and which content was the perfect fit for different platforms. Juan Jose pointed out that some devices were ideal for gaming content, while news could be consumed on all types of generic devices. He called for a segmented approach on the content side, the packaging side as well as the delivery side.
Marco Bonomi, MEA Director of Sales, Minerva Networks.
Juan Jose de la Torre, VP of Corporate Strategy, Intigral.
Alex Giannikoulis, CEO, The Apex Group.
Simon Pryor, Strategic Marketing Director, Newtec.
Moderator: Tarif Sayed, MD, Dolby ME.
Alan Constant, CTO, imediaCo.
Paul Dingwitz, CTO, ONE CONNXT.
Nick Barratt, Senior Broadcast Manager, MBC.
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
PROSUMMIT Nick Barratt pointed out that MBC’s Shahid.net was a very successful platform and served as a “catch-up service” during Ramadan. However, he pointed out that there was an increasing need to monetise the content that was running on other platforms. “I’d like to be able create a true second screen experience from which I can make money. An Ipsos study done in the US said 24% people were surfing on the iPad when watching TV. I want to take that 24% and make money out of them.” He went on to add that rather than offer the same content on both the TV and the iPad, broadcasters should be able to extend the user experience on the second screen. Extended interactivity was one value-add he proposed. Dingwitz agreed that “the second screen should be able to embed the user in that experience”. Pryor from Newtec added that eventually, a “combination of services including providing the interactivity, locking in the linear channels and providing the multiplatform environment” will ring in the dollars. Another important topic centered around the availability of analytics with the move to a digital environment. Alex Giannikoulis said this meant producing content based on demand. The panellists were asked what additional services they would offer if they could. Suggestions included more interactive services and auto learning applications that pick up the preferences of the viewer and make recommendations. The panel drew to a close with a question that the next discussion was ready to answer – the relation between telcos and broadcasters.
“The second screen should be able to embed the user in that experience” Paul Dingwitz, CTO, ONE CONNXT
Telcos and Broadcasters - To bond or not to bond
re telcos and broadcasters competing in the area of multi-screen video services? This was the main question posed to the panelists, who represented a good spread: an operator (Du), a national broadcaster (DMI), a consultant for a private broadcaster (MBC), a manufacturer (Harris), a broadcast consultant (SAWA Media), and last, but not the least, a leading pay TV operator (OSN). du’s Gurewan said the operator were not competing but rather, enabling and complementing the broadcaster’s own multi-screen offering. This opinion was shared by Heba AlSamt of DMI, who stated that the broadcaster had recently availed of the services offered by the operator. However, the view was challenged by Mohammed Windawee of MBC and Bas Wijne of OSN who expressed difficulties in working with the operator, especially when it came to connectivity
20 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2012
and the costs associated with it. The subject of connectivity costs in the region is a sensitive one and would generate some heated debates as the panel session continued. Switching gears, the operator was put back in the driving seat to explain how they were helping to improve the connectivity options, specifically when it comes to delivering content in and out of the region. Du revealed it had launched a new initiative, titled Datamena that greatly reduces the cost of delivering content-based services within the region by providing a centralised peering point between operators. The understanding was that if an entity hosted their services within Datamena, they would benefit from greatly reduced connectivity prices and the direct links to operators serving customers in the region. This approach would also enable non-regional content providers to do the same, thereby increasing competition within the region. The broadcasters on the panel conceded that this was a welcome shift in the right direction, whilst previously they viewed the operator as an obstacle in their path to a sustainable multi-screen business model. OSN was then asked to describe its ability to harmonise the user experience between the subscribers on its satellite-
PROSUMMIT hybrid service and the subscribers on the various operator platforms. OSN admitted to a difference in user experience across platforms but said it was working with its operator partners in the region to share subscriber information so end users could benefit from features not available on their operator-run pay TV platforms. This is easier said than done, as operators are not used to sharing information with potential competitors. This behaviour as Robin Gould of Harris pointed out presents the advancement of advertising revenue, and consequently, the improvement of the business case for many of the regional players. Ali Ajouz from SAWA Media added that as operators own the customer relationship, they have access to information crucial to online advertising in the region taking off. This information subsequently needs to be verified and published, typically by a research company, as is the case in other markets. At that point, the discussion grew more heated as fingers were pointed at the operator, viewed as blocking the success of broadcasters deploying profitable multi-screen services in the region. The overwhelming response when it came to costs in their business case was connectivity or delivery charges, second only to content costs. While this was not a major concern in the case of the public broadcaster, the private entities were clearly unhappy as MBC quoted connectivity prices from regional operators to be several magnitudes higher than global pricing. The feedback was broadcasters
in the region were being held hostage and taken advantage of by the operators for several years. Just as emotions flared up, it was time to wrap up. Despite not having covered all of the parts of the multi-screen business case, we were left with a few key takeaways: The multi-screen services space is riddled with broadcasters and operators with clear examples of competition and in other cases, co-operation. The challenge for operators will be to align internally on how they manage the divisions that are enabling broadcasters to improve their services while not cannibalising their own pay TV offerings. Broadcasters will continue to seek ways to ensure their users have a consistent experience with their brand offering no matter who the network or service provider is. However, given the pace of advancement in service offerings by broadcasters, this may lead to subscribers adopting direct offerings as opposed to the operator-driven pay TV services. When it comes to online advertising revenue, all players, broadcasters or operators need to reach an agreement to share user information so they can all improve their advertising revenues and the overall business case. â€” Jamal Bnari, who moderated this discussion, is an Emirati national, who has worked for years in the cable and new media business, and works closely with telcos and broadcasters in the region to promote multiplatform initiatives in the region. Bnari summed up this panel discussion.
Oomadevi Gurewan, CDN Business Manager, Du.
Mohammed Windawee, Distribution Consultant, MBC.
Robin Gould, Advance Advertising Specialist, Harris.
Heba AlSamt, Head of New Media, Dubai Media Inc.
Moderator, Jamal Bnari, New Media Consultant.
Ali Ajouz, MD of Sawa Media.
Bas Wijne, Director of Information Services & IT, OSN.
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
his year’s CEO panel had the distinction that all the panellists, despite coming from very different organisations and perspectives, seemed to agree not only on the factors undermining sustainable business models for television in the Middle East, but also on how these issues should be addressed.
Transparency and Industry Cooperation Dr. Riyadh Najm, Deputy Minister of Information Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Information, Saudi Arabia.
Nart Bouran, Head of Sky News Arabia.
Mohammed Saeed Al Shahi, CEO of Strategy, Technology & Executive Affairs, DMI.
People meters have been the hot topic of 2012, and as expected, audience measurement received top billing on the panel. As Peter Einstein, Deputy CEO of Rotana Media Group put it: “we have been operating like we were in the grand souq … the market has lacked a proper basis for a cost per thousand … and advertisers have been getting the best deal on the planet”. “Now the industry needs to come together and pay a fair price for what is actually being delivered.” Mohamed Al Shahi, CEO of Strategy, Technology and Executive Affairs at DMI called for “proper” audience measurement. He pointed out that not only would this increase the advertising pie, it would also give broadcasters a better understanding of what their audiences want, and would help them make their programming more relevant and attractive. Chris O’Hearn, CEO of tView, the UAE’s new audience measurement service, asked the panel why there are still no television industry bodies in the region managing regulation and cooperation within the industry, and where will the impetus for this come from? Dr Riyadh Najm, Deputy Minister of Information Affairs at Saudi Ministry of Culture & Information, believes that government intervention is essential
Mohamed Youssif, CEO, YahLive.
Moderator Nick Grande, MD, ChannelSculptor.
Peter Einstein, Deputy CEO, Rotana.
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to start this process. He observed that currently “some parts of the industry are benefitting at the expense of others….the middle people are able to bring different pictures to different players, capitalising on this and making healthy margins”. “The only entity that would be able to correct this would be [government through] the introduction of regulations”. He hinted that the government of Saudi Arabia could be announcing its own audience measurement initiative as early as December 2012.” All of the panellists highlighted the need for industry bodies that can aid cooperation and transparency in a market that has been starved of trustworthy audience data. DMI’s Mohamed Al Shahi received a round of applause from the panel and the audience when he said “Advertising Agencies should buy in and trust the people meters”. With so much harmony between broadcasters and regulators, it seems inevitable that transparent audience measurement tools will be commonplace in the region before too long.
Localisation of Channels and Content Considering the panel consisted almost entirely of CEOs working in pan-regional broadcasting, it may come as a surprise that all of them highlighted the importance of localisation of channels and content, and the development of domestic markets. Dr Riyadh blamed the inaction of governments and regulators during the development of digital television services for the demise of local terrestrial television in the region, and the rise to dominance of a “one size fits all” pan regional TV. He spoke passionately about the commercial and cultural opportunity that local broadcasting represents. If a television channel focuses on a single country, or even just a single city, it can be far more tailored to its audience. This, in turn, makes it more relevant and attractive for advertisers seeking to reach that audience. Finally, since the audience is small and geographically contained, the cost of premium content rights to the channel can be far lower, because the same rights can be sold to other local broadcasters covering different audiences. Nart Bouran, Head of Sky News Arabia,
Jean-Pierre MACE (right), MD of Harmonic International AG, Dubai gave away two iPads at the Summit. Above left: Winners Abdelrahim Suleiman, Director of Engineering, ASBU and below, Dennis Lehtinen, Head of Pay TV Operations, Abu Dhabi Media.
noted that this evolution is already taking place naturally within the market. Advertising sales in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria may be suffering in the short term, but these are becoming far more localised TV markets. New broadcasters coming into the market “have to be positive … look at this long term, and anticipate the changes that are going to happen over the next few years”.
Making Pay-TV work
Alex Giannikoulis (right) of The Apex Group sponsored two Google Nexus phones. Above left, Laurent Roussel, MD of Newtec MENA and below right, Frank Kerrin of OSN walked away with the prizes.
Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive, said he sees pay-TV as fundamental to the satellite platform his company has launched. He called for a reinvention of pay-TV in the region, pointing out that the real opportunity is in much lower value transactions. With an audience of 50 million TV households to reach, transaction values as low as 10 cents can turn into significant revenue streams. Nart Bouran echoed this view, highlighting the huge level of piracy in the region as a great indication of demand for premium content. All that is required is the right (low) price point. There was some debate over the willingness of Middle East consumers to pay for TV, but as Peter Einstein noted, all TV is pay-TV in the sense that the consumer must buy a dish and a set top
24 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2012
box. Content can be a small increment to that cost, and could be an impulse purchase decision rather than a monthly commitment. Television can learn from the mistakes made by the music industry during the 10 years it took for it to embrace low-value online transactions. Youssif also highlighted the importance of genuine differentiation of premium content. High Definition TV is his personal passion: HD channels are carried in 10 MB or more in every mainstream television market around the world, and yet, in the MENA region, channels routinely limit their bandwidth to 6 MB.
The Long View The most uplifting thing for me about this year’s CEO panel was the optimism and desire for cooperation shared by the panellists. As Nart Bouran put it “the system is fixing itself” – we just have to be patient to see the results of these changes. As we walked off the stage, I had the feeling that the conversation would continue, and that we might see the fruits of this spirit of collaboration before next year’s BroadcastPro ME summit. — Nick Grande, Managing Director of ChannelSculptor, who moderated this panel discussion, summed it up for BroadcastPro ME. PRO
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W N O AT ER US ST EE I G S R E TO
The annual ASBU BroadcastPro Middle East awards ceremony brought together some of the whoâ€™s who of the industry. The nominations this year were remarkably diverse in terms of the companies and the regions indicating the increasing reach of the magazine and the sheer appetite of the broadcast industry for innovation. The MENA region is demonstrating a potent combination of money and the will to innovate that made our selections interesting, but tough, at times. The ASBU Broadcast Awards is about the innovations today that shine a light on the future of our industry. A special thank you to our panel of judges: Dr. Fares Lubbadeh, owner, SpaceTech TV Engineering, Jordan; Khalid Abuali, Broadcast Technology Consultant, Sudan; Khadija Nooman, Senior Broadcast Engineer and member of ASBU HDTV/3DTV Group; Ahmed Brahim Mohammed, Journalist and Broadcast Specialist, Algeria and Paul Baboudjian, Editor, Cinematographer and Producer, Dubai/Lebanon.
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BEST of 2012 December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
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Thank you From the BroadcastPro ME team
Two years ago, when BroadcastPro Middle East was launched, we approached the Arab States Broadcasting Union to partner with us on a mission â€” to bring training to the regional broadcast industry and celebrate innovation on a pan Arab level. The Arab States Broadcasting Union is the only body on a pan Arab level that is committed to encouraging the adoption of region-wide standards for broadcast. BroadcastPro ME designed a special memento for ASBU to show our appreciation for their support while also lauding their efforts in the region. One company that has unquestioningly supported BroadcastPro ME magazine and its annual Summit and Awards event is Saudi-based systems integrator First Gulf Company. When many companies questioned the viability of launching a magazine during the global recession, they stood by us. Thank you FGC. A special thank you to each company that partnered with us and supported the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards. We thank all of the panelists and delegates who attended the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards.
From left: Dr. Riyadh Najm, VP of ASBU and Deputy Minister of Information Affairs, Saudi MOCI; Abdelrahim Suleiman, ASBU Technical Director; and Salaheddine Maaoui, Director General of ASBU.
THANKS TO ALL OUR SPONSORS
Walid AlBakoush, GM of First Gulf Company flanked by Naim Saidi, CEO (right) and Marketing Officer Habib Kazan (left).
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
SATELLITEPRO MIDDLE EAST AWARDS 2012
LEADING MENA SATELLITE OPERATOR ARABSAT
Arabsat recently began the first tests for HbbTV in the MENA region. From its initiatives with regional organisations for the telecast of the 2012 Olympics, to the latest inclusion of the Mauritania bouquet, Arabsat has consistently maintained a leadership role. It has balanced its commercial and social mandate to ensure access to information for the larger Arab population across the MENA. Most importantly, it has actively worked towards educating the region and addressing satellite interference issues and the implementation of carrier IDs.
These three awards were given by our sister publication, SatellitePro Khalid Ahmed Balkheyour President & CEO, ARABSAT.
that have contributed to the progress of the
SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS PLAYER OF THE YEAR Thuraya
More than 52 journalists have been killed this year while working in war zones. As viewers demand to watch news as it unfolds, journalists and camera crew are increasingly putting their lives at risk. Thuraya has been at the forefront of this technology by ensuring the security of its network, thereby, protecting the end users. Veteran journalists will vouch for its system when the situation in Libya or Syria left them with no wireless networks.
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MENA satellite industry.
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OUTSTANDING HDTV ACHIEVER YahLive & SES
They began with a mandate to fundamentally drive the regional broadcast industry in a bold, new, high definition direction. Since the launch of the satellite in late 2011, they have around 50 premium HD channels in their bouquet under the new regional arm. Their high-powered satellite allows the end-user to deploy a small 45-60cm easy-to-install dish to receive the latest movies, programmes and live events in HD. The three satellite beams cover the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and South West Asia regions. More details are available in our sister title SatellitePro Middle East.
The team from YahLive (Mohamed Youssif, CEO, far right in pic) and SES (Edgar Milic, General Manager Business Development MENA, far left in pic).
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
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PROAWARDS TELCO BROADCAST PROJECT OF THE YEAR Du-Datamena
TELCO BROADCAST PROJECT OF THE YEAR DU-DATAMENA
Du, although a relative newcomer to the telco market, has been leading from the front in terms of aggressively moving forward with new ventures especially within broadcast. Du has implemented three projects to put the infrastructure and ecosystem in place to host and distribute digital content in the Middle East. Its most recent launch is a carrier-neutral transit and content hub called datamena to provide data centre facilities, high-speed connectivity and support services to content providers, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), carriers and operators. Mahesh Jaishankar, VP of Strategy & Investments, Du received the award.
BEST SPORTS COVERAGE OSN
OSN raised the bar for sport way back in 2007 when it first acquired the rights to the English Premier League. Since then, it has changed the way sport has been presented in the region right from producing sport all the way to its delivery on screen. In just the last year, it has broadcast more than 11,000 hours of live sport including the 2012 London Olympics. The most impressive, however, was its coverage of International Rugby and the HD studio programmes it developed around International Rugby. Andy Warkman (l), Head of Sport at OSN receives the award from Walid AlBakoush, GM of First Gulf Company. BEST SPORTS COVERAGE OSN
34 | www.broadcastprome.com | December 2012
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PROAWARDS MENA BROADCAST TRENDSETTER Sky News Arabia
The judges were unanimous in their decision for this category. Sky News Arabia is the first “news” channel to broadcast in High Definition from the ground up. It has integrated multi-media into its operation so its reporters are fully equipped and skilled to work across and move between different platforms including internet, mobile and traditional broadcast. Unlike most networks that have a separate platform and workflow for each content delivery system, this one uses the same workflow and the same system to “produce content for every platform”. Pictured is the Sky News Arabia team with the award.
MENA BROADCAST TRENDSETTER SKY NEWS ARABIA
BEST HD PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR The Turtle: FQC Media,Big Features and Filmworks
The Turtle was chosen for the quality of the final video in terms of both the story line as well as the sophistication in terms of picture quality. This video was shot for the National Media Council to air at the UAE pavilion at the World Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea. It tells the story of a young Emirati that witnesses the death of a turtle because it ingested a plastic bag. Assistant Director David Murphy (l) and Producer Jax DyerDonaldson (r) receive the award from Said Bacho (centre), VP of Harris Broadcast Middle East & South Asia. BEST HD PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR THE TURTLE: FQC MEDIA, BIG FEATURES AND FILMWORKS
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
PROAWARDS BEST STUDIO OF THE YEAR Dubai Media Inc.
BEST STUDIO OF THE YEAR DUBAI MEDIA INC.
DMI moved aggressively towards a full HD tapeless environment this year and spearheaded this move by upgrading one of its studios to 3G infrastructure. This studio is capable of producing live as well as recorded content and can output the media in SD, HD as well as 3G formats as it works seamlessly across formats and aspect ratios. Whether it’s the video walls, redundancy for video and audio processes or working in a tapeless environment, this studio has been created preempting several future elements. Mohammed Saeed Al Shahi (l), CEO of Strategy, Technology & Executive Affairs, DMI receives the award from Simon Pryor, Strategic Marketing Director, Newtec.
ASBU ME 2012 TECHNICAL ACHIEVER Mark Billinge, VP of Broadcast Operations and Technology – OSN Mark Billinge managed a team of more than 100 people across various departments at OSN to enable the development and successful rollout of the region’s first online TV viewing platform (OSN Play) and more recently, the region’s first internet-enabled satellite receiver and recorder with full 3D and HD capabilities. Mark Billinge (l) receives the award from Naresh Subherwal, President of Asia Pacific & Middle East, Snell Group. ASBU ME 2012 TECHNICAL ACHIEVER MARK BILLINGE
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PROAWARDS MENA SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD TVSDC/ Qatar TV
MENA SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD TVSDC/QATAR TV
The multi-million dollar investment undertaken across the board by Qatarâ€™s Television Support Development Committee (TVSDC) to build new facilities at Qatar TV deserves recognition. It built a new newsroom studio and broadcasting complex at its headquarters. Besides a complete Avid setup, it recently invested in two world-class OB vans, and has revamped its entire news and studio facilities while investing in young talent to encourage the production of local programmes. Samer Younes, Technical Consultant, TVSDC receives the award from David Sallak of EMC/Isilon.
MENA SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR OF THE YEAR Tek Signals
MENA SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR OF THE YEAR TEK SIGNALS
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This systems integrator is one of the few that has managed to secure several Middle East telco and broadcast projects this year despite business being a bit sluggish. A few worth mentioning include a 16-channel playout station for Du-Samacom; five 3G-HD studios for Al Jazeera; a file-based, fully automated newsroom environment for media training at Qatar Foundation as well as projects for Intigral, MBC, Irdeto, Etisalat, Yahsat and Qtel. The Tek Signals team receives the award from Paul Dingwitz, CTO of ONE CONNXT.
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PROAWARDS MOST DYNAMIC MENA SI IN AFRICA Sony Professional Solutions MEA
Sony has undertaken several projects in Africa with Tigrai and ERTA in Ethiopia; Uganda Broadcast Corporation (UBC); Addis Ababa City Government and several others in Ghana. What makes Sonyâ€™s contribution unique is the fact that it has undertaken projects of varying sizes and budgets catering to the very high-profile requirements of several Middle East customers while also providing more budget solutions to some in Africa. Shuji Okada (l) and Nigel Thompson (r) from Sony receive the award from Richard Judd (centre), MD of CPI.
MOST DYNAMIC MENA SI IN AFRICA SONY PROFESSIONAL SOLUTIONS MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
BEST DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION IN ARABIC Abdallah El Binni, Al Jazeera Network
Abdallah El Binni is an investigative journalist who has produced and directed several documentaries for Al Jazeera and other Arab television channels. He recently used a mix of 2D and 3D scenes in an investigative film titled The Imam and the Colonel. The documentary investigates the disappearance of Lebanese cleric Imam Musa al-Sadr and its possible connection to ex-Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. This documentary compelled the Lebanese and Libyan governments to create a committee to reinvestigate the case. Abdallah El Binni (l), receives the award from Christian Unterseer of Cataneo.
BEST DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION IN ARABIC ABDALLAH EL BINNI, AL JAZEERA NETWORK
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
PROAWARDS ASBU BROADCASTPRO ME 2012 INNOVATIVE PROJECT AWARD ATYAF, Bahrain This was a tough category because all of the nominations brought something extraordinary to the table and were innovators in their own right. However, the judges agreed that ATYAF brought a very unique service to the region that is still quite new. This private entity offers multiplay services across both regional and international markets and is based in Bahrain. It offers services related to IPTV, voice and internet-converged Service as a Platform (SaaP) in the region. Imran Abu Khalid, content and sales manager for ATYAF poses with the award.
ASBU BROADCASTPRO ME 2012 INNOVATIVE PROJECT AWARD ATYAF, BAHRAIN
PIONEERING CONTRIBUTION TO BROADCAST TECHNOLOGY Fadi Kahhaleh Fadi Kahhaleh (right) is a young Jordanian who works for US media solutions provider ONE MEDIA. Fadi Kahhaleh was Chief Developer on the ONE CONNXT project, which he spent the past two years developing along with a team. ONE CONNXT was created when ONE Media Corp. needed a more cost effective solution to bring programming from Asia to the US for ONE World Sports. Traditional broadcast methods, satellite and fiber, were too costly. Existing IP alternatives sacrificed quality and reliability. The solution was to create a better broadcast delivery system. Kahhaleh was hired. ONE CONNXT was born. Arab Radio and Television (ART) recently deployed this solution and saved 40% costs it would have incurred on satellite. For years, the role of Arabs in the broadcast industry has been limited to users, or resellers of technology. Kahhaleh represents a new generation of Arabs who are actually developing, building and creating technology.
PIONEERING CONTRIBUTION TO BROADCAST TECHNOLOGY FADI KAHHALEH
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BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Eng. SALEH AL MEGHAILEETH DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENGINEERING AFFAIRS, MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND INFORMATION, SAUDI ARABIA This is an Editor’s Choice award and is designed to recognise a lifetime of work in broadcast. Saleh Al Meghaileeth began his career as a humble Electrical Engineer at Saudi Radio in 1979 and has worked his way up the ranks to the position he holds today. Al Meghaileeth may have kept a low profile thus far in the media but he has influenced, initiated and brought to fruition several high-profile broadcast projects in Saudi Arabia. He was the head of the technical team at ASBU when the MENOS project was undertaken. He is responsible for the massive TV expansion progamme at the holy site of Makkah. He has worked behind the scenes to launch several channels including the Holy Quran channel, Sunnah Nabawiyah channel, Ajial – a children’s channel, Thakafia – a cultural channel and Equtisadiah – a business channel among others. He also played a key role in several other projects including Saudi TV’s national digital archiving centre, the country-wide DVB-T project, the upgrade of all the studios from SD to HD as well as the building of many TV and radio production studios and broadcast facilities within
the Kingdom. Al Meghaileeth has held several different technical roles at Saudi Radio and TV as Technical Supervisor, Director of Engineering Affairs and Chief of Engineering before moving on to high-profile posts such as Assistant Undersecretary for Engineering Affairs, Undersecretary for International Cultural Relations and Assistant Undersecretary for Television Affairs. He has also held positions as Consultant Engineer for Saudi Council of Engineering and Chairman of the Engineering Committee at ASBU. Al Meghaileeth receives the award from Mohammed Saeed Al Shahi, CEO of DMI.
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
Arab cinema: Impact of the Dubai Film Market From strategic outreach programmes across the region to partnering with global film institutions, the DIFF team has played a significant part in putting Arab cinema on the global map
On training programmes, cash awards and outreach towards the larger Arab market for filmmakers “We have been organising ‘Interchange’ since 2010. This is a programme of training initiatives and partnerships designed to increase co-productions between Arab and European film professionals. Interchange is a partnership between DIFF, TorinoFilmLab and EAVE. “Every year, we take six projects from Europe and six from the Arab world. We run two workshops – one in Torino and the other, in Dubai. Each project is developed with the help of an international team that offers advice on script development and finance. These projects are then presented to potential buyers at the festival. “We have similar partnerships to enable documentary filmmaking in the region. Apart from the Copenhagen DOX:LAB training programme and DIFF prize, filmmakers from the region can
access DFC documentary opportunities including a USD 15,000 award offered by Screen Institute Beirut and the Beirut DC documentary collective in Lebanon. “The Dubai Film connection has now been running for the sixth year. We select 15 projects from the Arab region each year and the directors are of Arab nationality. They are eligible to be considered for a no-strings attached prize of USD 100,000 in addition to the shortlisted director/ producer teams being offered industry connections, including matchmaking with specialists in film production, sales, distribution and funding. “In six years, 30 of the films have been completed and another 13 are in post production. These are interesting figures if you compare them to similar festivals around the world. We are turning our films around in a period of two years whereas the global average is around four years. That is an indication of the quality of projects we are selecting and the kind of regional and international interest in the projects.” On being the only festival in the Arab region with a market
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“We are the only festival that has a market in the Arab region. Others have initiatives and funds, but we have created a platform. When we invest USD 25,000 in a project, it creates interest and, thereby, attracts more money. Additionally, we help at various stages. Among the many projects we have supported is Wadjda by Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour. She attended our script writing session in 2008 and received support from Enjaz to complete her film. Her film Wadjda was screened at the 69th Venice Film Festival and scooped the prestigious CICAE Award. “Jordanian-born documentary filmmaker Mahmoud Al Massad was awarded USD 25,000 for developing the project This is my Picture when I was Dead. This film was selected for screening at IDFA in Amsterdam – one of the leading documentary events in the world. He received help from Enjaz for screening at IDFA. These are some case-studies to demonstrate the support we can provide at different stages. “Over the years, the quality of applications has grown stronger. There is a growing confidence among the regional filmmakers with their films being showcased as the central feature in a festival such as DIFF and not as a sidebar. We are also beginning to see interesting co-productions between Arab countries such as Egypt and Lebanon, for instance.” Jane Williams, Director - Film Connection & Film Forum
PROFILM On Enjaz and post-production initiatives “Our motto is supporting films from script to screen. Typically, a lot of films do not come to fruition because they lack money in the postproduction phase. “We established this fund three years ago. Our success rate is around 75%, which is huge when you look at similar initiatives globally. We have two cycles in a year when we invite applicants. We choose the films and support the films up to USD 100,000 depending on how much money is needed in each project. In all, we have supported 146 projects and that does not include Enjaz 2012. “Regarding Dubai Filmmart – the digital acquisition platform for agents, distributors and filmmakers to conduct the business of buying and selling films — we started this four years ago. This is our fifth year. Each year, we ensure that there is an improvement in the quality of people attending. Last year, we had 1,500 delegates in Dubai Filmmart and
more than 241 companies attended. “This year, we have increased the number of films from 200 to around 350 so that sales agents have the opportunity to increase the number of films in their portfolio. We have a partnership with the Venice Film Festival where 10 works by Arab filmmakers, participated in the Venice Film Market at the 69th Venice Film Festival. “We will have seven consultants this year to help with distribution advice for filmmakers. For the first time this year, we also have 180 exhibitors’ stands, where national and international entities can showcase their support for the film industry.” Samr Al Marzooqi, Dubai Film Market Manager:
On Dubai being a business destination for films “Eurimages, the fund that supports European film co-productions, will hold its 129th meeting in the UAE, during the 9th Dubai International
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Film Festival. This is the first time that this consortium of 36 countries will meet outside Europe and this is part of their study group to assess the value of establishing links with non-European countries. “We have helped put Arab films on the map. While we have not solely been responsible, we have played a significant part. We are seeing evidence of this in other festivals. Toronto, for instance, would barely have one or two Arab films. In 2011, there were 13 Arab films. This is testament, in part, to the platform we have created here where people are coming on their own to pick up films from the region. So behind the glamour and the red carpet events – there is a great bit of achievement that we are proud of. “We are aiming for commercial success. The challenges of funding and distribution in this part of the world are typically faced globally. While the pavilions during the festival are packed, we are aiming for festival-type films to be curated throughout the year and we are working with local companies such as Reel Cinemas in this regard.” PRO Shivani Pandya - Managing Director, DIFF Pic available
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December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
In Brief Client: Addis Ababa City Government Mass Media Agency Systems Integrator: Sony Professional Solutions Middle East and Africa
The Road to Africa Last month, a custommade outside broadcast (OB) van was shipped from Dubai to Ethiopia. In the course of an exclusive tour, Vijaya Cherian discovers why this OB van is more than just another production unit and what it signifies for the Ethiopian broadcast landscape
The production crew at Ethiopia’s stateowned Addis Ababa City Government Mass Media Agency are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first OB van. For them, this vehicle signifies a strong change that is sweeping across the African broadcast landscape. Nigel Thompson, Sales Manager, Sony Professional Solutions MEA gives an overview of the market. “Africa is lagging behind most other regions in the world in terms of broadcast development. They still use a lot of tape. I would say they are still probably 80% tape based and 90% still operating in Standard Definition (SD). There are only a few areas in Africa that have made the migration to HD, one of which is South Africa, of course. Then, you have places on the West coast like Morocco but that’s mainly for production. Still, 90% of Africa
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is still operating in Standard Definition.” That environment, however, is undergoing a gradual change and the first sign of that shift is the fact that most broadcasters are now replacing their existing SD cameras with multi-format systems that can operate both SD and HD. This van is, therefore, designed to handle any production from SD all the way to progressive scanning for HD. Equipped with four Sony cameras and wired to immediately accommodate another four, this van compelled the systems integrator to think out of the box and provide solutions that would keep in mind the cold and dusty clime of the country while also keeping a tight rein on the budget. “They had such a tight budget,” explains Thompson. “We really had to push the envelope in terms of working with the end user and
PROOB coming up with some crazy designs and solutions to some unique problems we had never faced before. Facing a tight budget is not unique but you need to keep in mind the multi-purpose nature of the van. We are proud to have revisited the designs on the table and come up with a unique solution,” he says. “In several ways, this van is a first,” chips in Project Manager Giovanni Ramilo. “For example, this van is equipped with LED lighting instead of halogen lamps. It consumes less power, which means we could add other equipment that they required. The client is planning on adding another four cameras as soon as they receive the van so we have already incorporated a lot more power into the design to accommodate this,” he adds. The end user was also keen to incorporate a Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) unit on top of the van. However, somewhere along the way, both the end user and the systems integrator agreed it would be better to incorporate the DSNG on a separate mobile. “This trailer served several purposes,” explains Ramilo. “Already, we knew the end user was going to increase the number of camera systems because this was their first OB van. They wanted to maximise the potential of the space inside the van. So we decided to keep the DSNG on a separate mobile unit.” Thompson adds that the trailer took “great volume out of the van”.
“This trailer now houses the power generator, which creates a lot of noise. The cable drums which take a lot of space are also now on the trailer. We have added storage shelves on the trailer to accommodate tripods and other electrical parts that would normally be inside the OB van. By moving some of the key components into the trailer, we have managed to create additional space for the operational functionality that the end user wanted to achieve. It also means that where you could previously squeeze in only two people, you can now easily fit four. That’s the clever part.” Normally, the Mercedes coaches are popular for OB purposes. However, Sony went with an Iveco vehicle this time and Thompson says it was interesting to see how the systems integrator had the design altered to accommodate the needs of the end user. “There are not many vehicle manufacturers that can provide these
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“We really had to push the envelope in terms of working with the end user and coming up with some crazy designs and solutions to some unique problems we had never faced before” Nigel Thompson, Sales Manager, Sony PSMEA
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
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specs. Here, we gave the customer a choice between Iveco and Mercedes. In terms of price, there was negligible difference so it didn’t matter. The key thing was that they wanted to fit in eight cameras and all of the electrical equipment, so the trailer became a clever add-on. There is also slightly more space in the rear side of the Iveco as well as more height to the van and that makes a world of difference.” Besides this, there is the political element that immediately makes Iveco, an Italian brand more appealing than the Mercedes to an Ethiopian client, explains Thompson. “Historically, the whole of Africa and Italy have had good relations, which means there’s good support for Iveco in Ethiopia. So if they need servicing which they are going to need every now and then, there’s good representation from Iveco and this immediately turned to their advantage,” adds Thompson. Every element of this OB van has been designed to take into consideration the Ethiopian terrain, its narrow roads and its dusty environment, explains Thompson. “The roads in Ethopia cannot accommodate a massive OB truck. So we went high instead of going broad. In addition, we designed a platform on the top of the van to mount a tripod if the end user required the facility.” In addition, Sony had to keep in mind the cold climate and the dry dust when designing the van.
“We spent a lot of time considering the altitude factor and, therefore, we over specified by about 30% the capabilities of the generator which is now, on board the trailer. Again, the trailer is considered clever because it can accommodate a much bigger generator, which is heavier and requires more space. With just an OB van, you could not have managed that,” he explains. Besides the fact that Sony had to revisit traditional OB designs and draw up a new plan for a unique environment, where budget and terrain requirements demanded something new, this van connotes the change that is coming to Africa’s broadcast landscape. The shift to multi-format cameras will eventually demand changes across the chain, explains Thompson. “Most of these cameras incorporate tapeless technology such as memory cards. This, in turn, is pushing the rest of the chain to also adopt a tapeless format. If you are coming in with a memory card as opposed to a tape, then invariably you are going to put that memory card into a computer as opposed to a Video Tape Recorder (VTR) to do the digitisation. This then follows through in terms of editing, central storage, playout, and then, eventually the archives, all of which will be attached to a network.” African clients are in no doubt that they want to implement these new technologies. Their main concern is how to implement them and whom
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
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to work with for the implementation to ensure they do not repeat the mistakes of the early early adopters in Europe, America and the other parts of the world, says Thompson. “They want to make sure that when they do the implementation, they merely have to flip a switch for everything to work seamlessly.” Perhaps, the biggest challenge for African customers at the moment is learning to operate and manage the systems, Thompson adds. “Operators and broadcasters in European, American, Japanese, Korean and Chinese markets are a lot more fortunate because they have a lot of manufacturers and suppliers at their door step. In downtown Kampala, that simply does not exist. You have to get on the phone and try and get assistance remotely. Those are the prime challenges in Africa. The solutions are there. They are willing to make the migration but it’s making sure that they have the training to operate it and maintain it. That’s a big challenge for both suppliers and customers alike.” Several years ago, the Middle East stood at a similar point in history. The only difference is that most broadcasters here had the capital to invest in the most state-of-the-art equipment. Africa is a huge market waiting to be discovered but systems integrators and manufacturers who enter the region will have to revisit traditional designs to provide unique solutions within a tight budget. PRO
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
Richard Quest is the face of the American Quest series.
CNN tracks US elections on rail From the towering skyscrapers and the Golden Gate to the heart of the Rockies and the snow-capped mountains of Sierra Nevada, this beautiful North American train route was used by CNN to cover the recent US presidential elections. CNN producer Ryan Cooper revisits the journey with Shamika Andrade
“When presidential candidates wanted to travel across the country with speed, they flew; but when they wanted to make a statement … and create a symbol of being in touch with America’s roots, they took Amtrak.” This quote from an annual report by Amtrak trains captures the essence of the US presidential campaign routes. This year, American Quest, a series by CNN, which covered the US presidential elections in 2004 and 2008, also decided to take to the rail. The series attempts to give a British journalist’s point-of-view on the American presidential elections, in this case correspondent Richard Quest’s. Armed with Go-Pro cameras and an iPad, the American Quest team,
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comprising Quest, photographer Christian Streib, PR representative Jonathan Hawkins and producer Ryan Cooper, set out to speak to voters “against the backdrop of an interesting story”. CNN’s chosen route called California Zephyr covers the entire stretch from Chicago to San Francisco. The journey takes 51 hours and 20 minutes and transformed the Amtrak train into a mobile newsroom for the team. “During the 1800s, no election campaign would be complete without a rail tour,” Quest writes in his blog. “Presidential candidates would charter trains to speak and connect with the voters. An iconic picture in American political history is a victorious Harry Truman standing on the back of a train, holding an early edition newspaper reporting his defeat. The 1996 election saw Bill Clinton campaigning his way across America by rail.” What makes this journey special is the key role played by technology, says Ryan Cooper, producer of American Quest. “The train became a mobile newsroom with technology allowing us to shoot
PRONEWSGATHERING footage on an iPad. We could then email the file to producers in London using a 3G connection or in some places, 4G. The producers, in turn, were able to put them up on the show within an hour before the actual episodes were telecast,” explains Cooper. Social media was an integral part of this campaign with Quest blogging and the team tweeting regularly and interacting with their audience in real time. Besides standard camera equipment, the team also used the Go-Pro cameras with suction cups “for some really creative and unusual camera views”, according to Cooper. “With Amtrak’s support, the team placed some Go-Pros on the railway tracks about an hour out of Chicago as the trains were heading out. The small, portable cameras were placed on the side of the train to capture sweeping vistas and the curves of the train on the tracks as it wound through the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada mountains. “This particular series was planned with every single shoot, interview, and storyline carefully mapped out in advance unlike the previous times,” explains Cooper.
Christian Streib, one of the network’s senior cameramen, is based in CNN’s Beirut bureau. He edited all of the pieces and the half-hour weekend special for the series.
“The train became a mobile newsroom with technology allowing us to shoot footage on an iPad” Ryan Cooper, Producer, American Quest, CNN
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
“Staying organised and focused, maintaining a sense of humour, and being prepared for obstacles helped...” Ryan Cooper, Producer, American Quest, CNN
Above, Go-Pro cameras were placed on the railway tracks to take unusual camera views. Below, social media was an integral part of this campaign with Quest blogging and the team interacting with their audience in real time on Twitter.
“During the 1800s, no election campaign would be complete without a rail tour” Richard Quest, correspondent, CNN
“I think this planning paid off. Of all the projects I’ve ever worked on, I believe this was perhaps the most successful in terms of how easily everything came together.” Coursing from Chicago to San Francisco, through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco, the train route was the best way to connect with voters, according to the team. “It provided a colourful background and a cool thread that the team could then weave into each segment of the five-part series. But most importantly, the route was ideal because it started in Chicago, Obama’s hometown. That’s where some of his supporters are. It then proceeds to go through three battleground states — Iowa, Colorado and Nevada before winding through Utah, home to one of the country’s biggest Republican-leaning states. Utah has a large Mormon population, and Mitt Romney, belongs to this sect.” Beginning in a major city like Chicago, the journey comes to a stop in San Francisco, which in Cooper’s view is “one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in America”. The shoot was not without its challenges. “We were in Iowa preparing to shoot a Civil War re-enactment. We were in this one-horse town in the middle of
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nowhere and it began pouring. The organisers of the re-enactment were contemplating cancelling the event due to the weather. For a few hours, we were worried we were going to lose our most colourful story (in terms of pictures). Fortunately, the rain subsided by about 10 a.m. Once we arrived at the event, the organisers went ahead with everything as per plan. In the hours prior to that, we had formulated a backup plan, but I’m really glad we didn’t have to do it. I think the Civil War re-enactment piece came together beautifully,” explains Cooper. Another challenge was working in trains that were more than thirty years old. “These trains have only one power outlet in each room. That’s a challenge if you have multiple electronic devices to operate but we brought on board a surge protector,” explains Cooper. “Besides that, staying organised and focused, maintaining a sense of humour, and being prepared for obstacles helped,” the producer adds. Having worked on the previous two series of American Quest, Cooper recalls how much technology has changed. “I can’t imagine what the future holds in terms of portable devices. We have four more years until the next series. But we’ll have to use our imagination to find yet another new and exciting format.” PRO
Sleepless in Dubai 49 teams battled it out last month to secure top spot at the second edition of the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) in Dubai. In an exclusive interview with Shamika Andrade, director George Max Trummler talks about the making of the winning entry The Pillow Case
48 hours! 49 teams! One winner! That’s what the second edition of the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) in Dubai saw this year. 48 hours to create a story, choose the cast, finalise the location, shoot the film, edit it and add the music is no easy task but it’s ideal for those who want to get away from the routine for a weekend and have a blast while making a short film in the process. 48HFP comes with a mandate that changes every year. Every participating team picks the genre that they must shoot from a hat. Besides that, those participating in 48HFP in Dubai 2012 had to include a character named Nutritionist Hani or Hind Khalaf, a pillow as a prop and the line ‘I can’t believe you bought that one’. This is a key element of the project and sadly, the team that was initially declared the winner was later disqualified for not using the line in their film Attached. The runner up entry, The Pillow Case
Winner George Max Trummler hopes to direct a feature film one day.
by Guerrilla Film Crew, a loosely-knit group of freelance filmmakers with varied skills in directing, lighting, filming, makeup and so on, was later declared the winner of the project in Dubai. The film will now represent Dubai at Filmapalooza in Hollywood, where it will compete with 120 other global entries for the Best of 48HFP in the world. It also has the potential to enter the Cannes short film category. Recreating the chaos behind the making of The Pillow Case, George Max Trummler, the frontman of Guerrilla Film Crew and director of the project, says: “The theme we received was family/PG. It must have been around at 7 p.m. I quickly got the actors, the writers, the Art Director, and the DOP together to brainstorm. I took on the role of Director. After many crumpled papers, we landed the basic concept for The Pillow Case. From there, it was just a creative thought process to outline the scenes and the dialogue.” The team was on location at 6 a.m. “We were shooting at a friend’s place in Jumeirah,” explains Trummler. “The camera was rolling at 7.15 a.m. We did take a one-hour lunch break. That
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In brief * The 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) began in the US. Over the last 11 years, it has spread to 29 European cities, 18 Asian cities, three African Cities, five cities in the Americas, three in Australia/Oceania cities and one in the virtual world of Machinima.
night, we completed filming at about 11 p.m. The next day I was at my editor’s home at 8 a.m. Despite the tight schedule, all of us had a good night’s rest,” he adds. The team shot with an ARRI Alexa camera and with other equipment provided by Filmquip Media. “One of our team members was continuously editing on the DaVinci Resolve while we were shooting. As a result, the editing was sort of done by the time we wrapped up the shoot. We had the edited takes of what we were using. And of course, it was a pleasure to work with the Alexa. It went hand in hand with the Fisher Dolly.” It’s no wonder then that the Guerrilla Film Crew delivered their film to the organisers 20 minutes before the deadline.
In total, there were 20 team members including four actors. Trummler who has worked with each member of the team in the past on some film or TV commercial says the project was a big gamble. “It was a gamble for us as some of our team members could get booked on a paid job. Luckily, we were all available and a few of us actually turned down work to do this project.” The team at Guerrilla Film
Crew, is ecstatic with the win. As for Trummler, this is his first job as a Director although he works as assistant director wirh Guerilla Film. “I started in still photography after High School and have since, focused on fashion and advertising. I later worked in film as a Personal Assistant and have had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, New York, London and Germany. Since coming to Dubai, I have been working in the film industry but this has been my first opportunity to direct my own movie. This is just the beginning,” says Trummler. Speaking about Guerrilla Film Crew’s immediate plans, he says: “After this team effort with the 48-hour film project, we want to keep the buzz going and do another short film before Jan 2013. We are presently reviewing scripts. But for now, it’s business as usual as we are working on various commercials. Perhaps some day, I will direct a feature film too.” PRO
Left: Producer Mo Rida hopes to ecnourage one new city from the region to participate in 48HFP ever year. Below: The second edition of the 48-hour film project in Dubai was held at The Fridge, Dubai. The event was sponsored by a number of companies including local distributor Advanced Media LLC and Canon Middle East.
“I’m usually on call the entire weekend to help filmmakers with their problems and I try to visit as many sets as possible to check up on them” Mo Rida, Producer of 48HFP, brought the competition to the Middle East
VSN is proud to present the ultimate media concept, Tapeless 2.0, a new generation of software tools for broadcast that will make the difference. VSN’s Spider Platform is a cutting-edge framework featuring the latest cloud-friendly solutions for Media & Broadcast.
December 2012 | www.broadcastprome.com |
HAIVISION LAUNCHES MAKITO X ENCODERS Haivision has launched its Makito X Series H.264 video encoding platform. Addressing the growth in the use of live IP video within the enterprise and across the Internet, the Makito X Series delivers high quality HD video using half of the bandwidth of comparable encoders. The Makito X2, a dual channel low-latency HDSDI H.264 encoder, is the first Haivision product to incorporate the new X Series technology. It can encode up to 12 HD sources (up to 1080p60) to H.264 within a single 1RU of rack space. Supporting High Profile H.264 video compression, the Makito X2 delivers efficient video encoding, yielding up to twice the picture quality while maintaining the Makito’s legendary 55-millisecond encoding latency. The picture quality of the Makito X2 streams are on par with broadcast-quality encoders at higher bitrates and deliver pristine quality at bitrates lower than 2 Mbps, ideal for Internet or satellite transport of HD video. Delivering video to multiple platforms and
across a variety of networks simultaneously, the Makito X2 supports multiple bitrate (MBR) streaming with up to four renditions of each input from 32 Kbps to 25 Mbps at full 1080p60. The Makito X2 encoder can also output a variety of stream types such as TS and RTMP over unicast and multicast. With its support for MBR, the Makito X2 concurrently services desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes, signage players, recorders, and streaming servers. For remote installations or headends, the Makito X2 offers flexible configurations and is available as an ultra-compact appliance for dual channel requirements, or within a 1RU (6 blades) or 4RU (21 blades) chassis for high-density encoding/ decoding challenges. For delivering exceptional video quality at high bandwidth and within bandwidth constrained designs, the Makito X2 is ideal for video headends, IPTV, distribution, and communications within the enterprise, education, medical, military, and broadcast markets.
AJA OFFERS ENHANCEMENTS TO KI PRO SERIES AJA Video Systems has introduced new storage and dock accessories for its Ki Pro family of tapeless video recording devices available in both portable and rack-mountable form factors. The new line consists of USB3-enabled KiStor drives for Ki Pro and Ki Pro Rack, along with a new KiStor Dock with Thunderbolt and USB3 connectivity. In place of the previous FireWire connection, the KiStor drives use a built-in USB3 connection that allows for faster throughput to the host computer and dramatically reduces transfer times. The AJA Ki Pro family of products enables fast and efficient workflows that interface traditional analog and digital acquisition formats into simple edit-ready files.
DOREMI IN 3D Doremi has released its 3D High Frame Rate (HFR) software and firmware updates. The updates will allow all existing IMBs (Integrated Media Block) in the field to be easily and remotely updated
to support 3D HFR content. Higher frame rates offer creative possibilities for filmmakers and an experience for consumers that can’t be replicated in the home. “HFR and Doremi Cinema’s IMB technology delivers the leap in quality necessary to invigorate and drive customers back into the theaters. HFR movies on the big screen can deliver an experience that consumers can’t get at home,” said Michael Archer, Vice President of Doremi Cinema.
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BLACKMAGIC DESIGN UPDATES HYPERDECK SHUTTLE 2 Blackmagic Design has announced the immediate availability of HyperDeck software update 3.6, a new update to its solid state disk (SSD) recorder which adds support for Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) into HyperDeck Shuttle 2, plus new closed caption support for all HyperDeck models. The HyperDeck Shuttle 2 with the new ProRes compression feature significantly reduces the size of uncompressed HD video files while preserving full frame 10-bit 4:2:2 quality, allowing customers to record up to six times longer. “Adding ProRes 422 (HQ) recording and playback to HyperDeck Shuttle 2 shows our continuing commitment to open systems and gives users the freedom to work in either compressed or uncompressed formats,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Recording ProRes 422 (HQ) straight to disk now costs less per minute than recording to professional tape, plus it’s the most efficient workflow possible. A 64GB SSD is less than $70 and will record 50 minutes of the highest quality ProRes video. That’s broadcast quality recording for less than $2 a minute.” ProRes 422 (HQ) offers the highest quality for 4:2:2 with minimal generation loss as well as fast export and is one of the most popular video formats for high end post production and broadcast. HyperDeck Shuttle turns low cost cameras into high end broadcast cameras because it allows video file recording to bypass the camera’s compression by recording from SDI and HDMI directly to either 10-bit uncompressed QuickTime, Avid DNxHD MXF and now Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) formats. SSDs are cheap and fast, and can be plugged into an eSATA dock for instant access to the media files, so are the most flexible recording medium available. This new update also includes full closed caption support for all HyperDeck models. Closed caption support works in 1080HD video formats and allows closed caption data to be read from the SDI input when recording and saved into .mcc type files, which are compatible with popular closed caption authoring software such as Maccaption. With the addition of the new ProRes recording and playback, as well as full closed caption support, the HyperDeck Shuttle 2 also provides customers with a small, affordable and battery powered solution that is the perfect field recorder.
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Online radio measurement gains momentum in UAE
Over the last five years, terrestrial radio has received almost USD 5 billion less in aggregate revenue; it has dropped from USD 21+ billion to just over 17 billion
The exponential growth of online audio has changed consumption as we know it. Consumers now access audio content on their terms – where they want it, when they want it, and on the device of their choice. As a result, marketers within the terrestrial and online radio space have become less concerned with reach and more concerned with the value of their audience. To assess value, stations, publishers, and advertisers alike require credible, accountable audience data that is easily understood. The basic measurements needed to attribute value to audiences are simple: one must know how many people are listening, how long they’re listening for, and when they’re listening. Audience measurement can also include geolocation and user information, both of which further one’s understanding of terrestrial and online radio audiences and improve one’s ability to quantify and monetise those audiences. Terrestrial radio listenership (and consequently ad revenue) continues to decline as online radio listenership increases
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month after month. With the help of audience measurement, media buyers are increasingly seeing the value in online radio and allocating more and more of their budgets to this growing medium as opposed to terrestrial. In fact, over the past five years, terrestrial radio has received almost USD 5 billion less in aggregate revenue; it has dropped from USD 21+ billion to just over 17 billion. However, that 5 billion hasn’t evaporated; it is being spent on digital mediums such as display, search and of course, email. In the UAE and Middle East, online audio is growing rapidly by the day. Specialised channels such as Hayat FM (Arabic), Radio Shoma (Farsi) and Hit 96.7 (Malayalam) are being created to cater to the many languages, cultures, demographics, and varying consumption platforms such as mobile phones, smart TVs and tablets) within the market. In the last year, radio accounted for roughly 3.5% of UAE’s estimated USD 1.4 billion ad spend, which will only grow in the coming years. With millions of users tuning into 45+ UAE radio stations
every day, publishers and advertisers would benefit from an online audience measurement solution as it would enable them to understand who their audience is, how and when they are listening, and from where, in turn allowing them to reach their target audience and maximise the return on advertising investments. Census-based measurement methodology is absolutely vital to the online radio market. Media agencies and advertisers need to be provided with an accurate, accountable means to evaluate audiences with more depth and precision, enabling them to make informed decisions when purchasing ad space. At the same time, broadcasters need to know in real-time what the audience is and isn’t reacting to, allowing them to manage their assets — from staffing to inventory — accordingly. PRO Michel Zeidan is Director of Sales, MEA for Triton digital, which recently launched Webcast Metrics, an online radio measurement solution in the Middle East.
GY-HM600 Series | HD ENG camcorders
BREAKING NEWS BE FIRST TO TELL THE STORY
Exceptional low light performance with the new GY-HM600 Series, with fast file transfer to get your message home. JVC is ushering in a new era of mobile newsgathering with a line of ProHD hand-held camcorders that shoot and deliver news footage faster and better than ever. The GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 camcorders are each equipped with three full-HD sensors and a fixed wide angle 23x autofocus zoom lens, along with exceptional light sensitivity of F12 at 2000 lux. Additionally, the GY-HM650 features built-in FTP and USB network connectivity for WiFi, 3G/4G and LAN functionality, allowing footage to be transferred back to the station without a microwave or satellite connection. Equipped with dual codecs, it records .MOV and XDCAM EXTM compatible MP4 or MXF files with rich, descriptive metadata on one memory card, while simultaneously creating smaller, web-friendly files on a second card.
For further information on the new camcorders, please visit our website at www.jvcpro.co.uk or email Cdarnley@jvcgulf.com (00971 48165200)
Published on Dec 5, 2012
Broadcast Pro Middle East is a monthly publication covering television and radio broadcasting technology as well as filmmaking trends in the...