BroadcastPro Middle East

Page 1

issue 37 | July 2013

Technology inTelligence for TV, film and radio


* In Somaliland * Integrating TVC News in Nigeria

APP'S THE wOrd Sebastien Marteau on the power of apps

Ad brEAk

With filmmaker Pegah GhaemI


GOING PLACES Emirati brothers take MENA broadcast to new level with social travel series

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in this issue



June 2013


28 Connecting Somaliland 32 Integrating TVC News in Nigeria


14 TV viewing in Ramadan


16 UAE warms up to surround sound 39 The cost of multi-platform delivery


55 Sebastien Marteau on Intigral’s big break in the region



46 Grass Valley’s discovery sessions 50 PSS in Dubai


64 Tristan Ferne, Exec Producer, BBC R&D


42 Filmmaker Pegah Ghaemi



stop press * harris broadcast appoints alain Pecot as vP for Middle east and africa * al jazeera Director general ahmed al thani steps down

twofour54 to DeveLoP bahraini MeDia taLent

ses announces new ceo xxxxxxx

Satellite operator SES has announced that Romain Bausch is to step down as President and CEO from April 2014. Karim Michel Sabbagh has been appointed as Bausch’s successor and will join the company as CEO Designate from September 1, 2013. He will officially take over as President and CEO from April 3, 2014.

twofour54’s Noura Al Kaabi (third from left) with the Tamkeen team.

icfLix signs content DeaLs icflix, a VoD platform from the Middle East, has secured major content deals with Turner Broadcasting, Italy’s Mondo TV and Canada’s DHX Media. The icflix platform went live early this month across the Middle East and North Africa as the Middle East’s first dedicated streamed programming platform. As part of the deal, Turner Broadcasting System Arabia will provide icflix programmes from pay-TV network Cartoon Network Arabia. iclfix also has a deal in place with Canuck Kids’ TV distributor DHX, which gives it exclusive local rights to the animated Super Mario series, and children’s series such as Calilou and Arthur. All three shows will be available in Arabic, English and French. Financial terms of the deals were not revealed.

oasis PPD to have new engineering anD oPerations Manager Oasis PPD has appointed David Gold to the position of Engineering and Operations Manager. Gold will focus on engineering and operational activities of PPD, to ensure the best operating quality and efficiency of projects implementation. With more than eight years of experience in the UAE, Gold previously worked for Omnix Media Networks followed by ALMO AV Systems as Service Manager and Service & Project Manager, respectively. “His experience and knowledge of the region will be an asset to the company. We are happy to welcome David to our team”, said Basel Al Aref, General Manager of Oasis PPD.

twofour54 has signed a two-year agreement with Tamkeen Bahrain to help Bahraini media professionals and entrepreneurs find employment in the private sector. The programme will develop and boost the skills of young Bahraini professionals by offering training courses in Public Relations and Communications and Graphic Design. The internship will be offered to 100 young Bahrainis. The courses, developed and executed by twofour54’s tadreeb, will be rolled out over the next two years. The academy has plans to offer advanced media courses in the future.

YahLive boss joins abs Mohamed Youssif has joined Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) as the COO and President/MD of a newly formed Middle East division. Youssif previously served as the CEO of YahLive and as the Chief Commercial Officer responsible for sales for Arabsat. He has also held executive positions at ICO Global Communications, Hughes and is the founder of MESAT Consultancy in Beirut. A press statement from ABS said that Youssif will be Mohamed Youssif. Sami Boustany. responsible “for global sales and revenue for the company as well as directly managing business development for the Middle East region”. The satellite operator recently appointed Felix Damba as its MD for Africa. Meanwhile, Sami Boustany has been appointed as the acting CEO of Yahlive. Boustany is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of Yahsat. With 15 years of experience in the satellite industry, Boustany has been involved with Yahlive since its inception. In his new role, he will be overseeing the day-to-day operations while focusing on Yahlive’s growth objectives.

venuetech Partners with barco LiveDots Barco LiveDots, a Barco company, has entered into a strategic partnership with Dubai-based audiovisual expert Venuetech. Venuetech will be the exclusive distributor of LiveDots’ full LED portfolio in Saudi Arabia and a non-exclusive reseller for the GCC (Kingdom of Bahrain, Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates). The company provides both system integrators and local channels with a wide range of products and services - from consultation, design, supply, and training through to after-sales services. “Distribution partners can help us increase the number of customer touch points and improve our

customer services, thus growing our market reach. We are glad to rely on the know-how, expertise and services of Venuetech to distribute our solutions and, hence, spread the Barco LiveDots products

across the Middle East,” said Carl Rijsbrack, CMO of Barco LiveDots. The partnership will ensure ready access to LiveDots’ LED portfolio, thus offering exciting opportunities for growth.

July 2013 | |


PRONEWS ARGOSY AND TSL SIGN PARTNERSHIP Argosy Broadcast Asia Sdn Bhd (ABA), and TSL Products have announced that they will join forces to provide local customer support and stock availability as well as a distribution capability that will strengthen the companies’ presence across the Asia Pacific region. This partnership signals the significance of the Asia Pacific market to TSL Products’ overall business and will solidify the company’s broadcast presence in the territory. As part of the agreement, TSL Products will provide ABA with a comprehensive range of its surround sound microphones, audio processing, broadcast control systems and power management products to stock at Argosy’s recently expanded facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This local distribution centre will provide TSL Products with an excellent route to market and the regional expertise needed to meet the growing needs of broadcasters across the region. “The agreement with Argosy will provide TSL Products with a regional principle supplier who has the breadth and depth of expertise needed to meet the growing customer demand for our solutions in Asia Pacific,” said Chris Exelby, managing director, TSL Professional Products Ltd. ABA will keep stock of the main products for warranty exchange and emergency spare substitutions and will provide local support for any first level technical support issues.

du restructures at the top

UAE telco du has promoted Farid Faraidooni to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Fahad Al Hassawi to the role of Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Prior to this new role, Faraidooni held the position of Chief Commercial Officer and Al Hassawi served as Chief Human Resources & Shared Services Officer at du. Ahmad Bin Byat, Chairman of du stated that the two executives will “drive our company through this exciting new phase of growth and into the future”. “This year, we will focus on maximising shareholder returns and share equity while meeting stakeholder expectations, improving productivity and profitability. As both Farid and Fahad demonstrate, we are proud of our Emiratisation programmes and are keen to nurture and reward UAE national talent, by providing them with stimulating, challenging opportunities to work in the private sector. I wish them all the best in their new roles.”

Farid Faraidooni.

Fahad Al Hassawi.

Osman Sultan, CEO of du added that the telco is entering the next phase of its business. Other key appointments include Hatem Bamatraf as Executive VP, Enterprise; Saleem Albalooshi as Executive VP, Customer Operations, and Acting VP, Network Development and Operations, Walid Kamal as Senior VP, IT and Marwan Bin Dalmook as VP, Technology Security, Risk and Fraud Management.

KASSAb MEDIA AND SKY NEwS ARAbIA TIE Kassab Media and Sky News Arabia have signed a strategic advertising concession partnership agreement that provides their existing and potential clients with an extensive, competitively priced advertising network. “Our strategic partnership with Kassab Media reflects our aspiration to collaborate with companies that share our vision. We trust that this affiliation will provide Sky News Arabia with the ability to reach the business goals and targets that we have set for the channel,” said Nart Bouran, Head of Sky News Arabia. “Kassab Media is known for its specialisation in media services and solutions in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East region. Our new strategic partnership with Sky News Arabia is an important step for the company and this partnership reflects our confidence in Sky News Arabia’s distinctive news coverage and technology, as well as our confidence in the media sector and the economy,” explained Ghassan Nadeem Adra, CEO of Kassab Media.

HARRIS bROADcAST LAuNcHES MESA AcADEMY Harris Broadcast launched its new demo and training academy in the Middle East, as an extension to its existing Dubai office. The academy offers specialist courses for engineers and operators. Each course comes with a full certification pack. The academy, which includes a demo room for equipment as well as a fully equipped training centre, has been created to allow Harris Broadcast’s customers to experience the latest broadcast tools and technologies, and provide an opportunity to conduct comprehensive demos and training sessions in the Middle East.

INfOcOMM MEA TO Stuart Wood. RETuRN IN OcTObER 2013 Exhibitors are returning to InfoComm MEA 2013 in a show of continued support for the region’s dedicated pro-AV communications technology event in the Middle East. Arthur Holm, LG, NMK, Theatro and Venuetech have doubled their booth size from last year. Other companies that have confirmed their participation include Extron Eletcronics, Jupiter Systems, Crestron, DaLite Screen, DAS Audio, Mitsubishi Electric, RGB Spectrum, Sharp Middle East, Sonic Foundry, Taiden, Wavetec and WolfVision. Several manufacturers such as Blackmagic Design, Exterity, Primascreen, Matrox, MMD Monitors and Display, R&M International, Shanghai Pallas, Shenzhen Leyard, Shenzhen Retop LED, Tyans and Techrobotix, will also be making their debut in the Middle Eastern market at InfoComm MEA 2013.

Focusrite debuts redNet to Middle east studios Melody House, distributor of Focusrite has recently launched the New RedNet system. The system is now available in the Middle East, after being officially announced in the US earlier last year. Rednet is Focusrite’s new flagship range of Ethernetnetworked studio interfaces based around the tried and tested Dante Ethernet audio networking system from Australian company Audinate. Focusrite’s RedNet is the first to offer IP network audio interfaces for the recording studio – or any application that requires moving high-quality audio around with ultra-low latency. RedNet forms a scalable system that comprises high-quality, versatile interfaces to deliver traditional Focusrite quality sound and performance, with exceptional value for money. Fundamentally, RedNet

6 | | July 2013

is a near zero-latency audio distribution system. It is highly expandable; Audinate’s Dante technology enables a single link on the network to handle up to 512 channels (I/O) at 48kHz.

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PRONEWS AViD HiRES NEw TERRiToRy ACCoUNT MANAGER foR MiDDlE EAST Avid has announced the appointment of Ammar Fawzy to the position of Territory Account Manager Middle East. As Avid’s Territory Account Manager Middle East, Ammar Fawzy will focus on exploring new areas of growth for Avid in the Middle East and assume responsibility for developing and maintaining the company’s customer relationships in those areas. With more than ten years of experience in the media and entertainment industry, Fawzy will help build relationships with the company’s partners and customers across the region. Prior to joining Avid, Fawzy was the Regional Sales Manager MEA for TELEX and RTS at The Bosch Group, as in-charge of sales for broadcast and critical communication line of products. He also worked with MediaCast, Avid’s regional distributor for pro video and audio equipment. Fawzy holds Engineering degree and an MBA.

The SMC team with KBS crew.

ETHiopiAN BRoADCASTER opTS foR GRASS VAllEy Ethiopia’s state-owned Amhara TV has selected Grass Valley to provide several solutions to build the country’s first HD terrestrial TV broadcast station. Grass Valley solutions will be used to outfit two HD studios and a master control room (MCR). Amhara TV is an important part of the developing media landscape in Ethiopia, and will be available both terrestrially and via the Nilesat free-toair satellite service. “This project with Grass Valley holds real importance for Ethiopia because it will offer our 50 million television viewers their first ever HD experience,” commented Leykun Mekonnen, Vice General Manager and Media Technology Head of Amhara TV. “With this in mind, it was crucial for us to select a partner we could trust and that could offer us the best HD solutions. Grass Valley’s reputationw precedes it as a provider of high quality, flexible, and cost-efficient solutions which enable broadcasters to give their customers premium services.” Amhara TV selected six HD LDK 3000+ cameras for their flexibility and high picture quality, and a Kayak HD video production switcher for its advanced HD capabilities. The master control room will be based around a Grass Valley Maestro SD/HD branding and master control system for multichannel control. At the heart of the HD infrastructure will be a Concerto series routing switcher with Prelude router control. A GeckoFlex signal processing system will provide the necessary modular platform for signal control, complete with an integrated browser-based control system.

SMC ExpANDS To ASiA THRoUGH KBS AND ARiRANG Sharjah Media Centre, the media and communications arm of the Government of Sharjah, visited the Korean Broadcasting System’s headquarters and the Arirang Network based in Seoul, South Korea, to participate in the third UAE-Korea Economic Partnership Forum 2013, held in Seoul. During the visit to KBS World and worldwide television network Arirang, His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, and Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, met with Lee Jeong-Ok, Managing Director of the Global Strategy Centre KBS; Kim Kyung-Hee, Executive Director of International Relations KBS, Kim Hyuk-ong, Executive Producer at KBS World. Collaborating on further initiatives, Lee Jeong-Ok (KBS) and Richard WP Shim (Arirang) mentioned the Global News Forum, which will be hosted by KBS in association with the Asian Pacific Broadcasting Union News Group (ABU) in Seoul. KBS and Arirang extended an invitation to HE Al Qassimi, Osama Samra and Sharjah Media Centre to attend the Forum as their honoured guests on September 5, 2013. The Forum is an international meeting point for the region’s newsroom decision makers to examine issues regarding the digital media’s evolution and the changing role of journalism. It welcomes global and regional broadcasters, in addition to key media organisations such as BBC World, Arirang Network (Korean Network) and Al Jazeera.



CNN has closed its news bureau in Baghdad. The network will, however, continue to maintain an editorial presence in Iraq through a dedicated team of CNN stringers and correspondent assignments as and when news warrants. Other networks have also pared down operations in Baghdad. The decision to close down comes more than a year and a half after President Obama announced a withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in Iraq during the war. The cable news channel has had a bureau in Iraq since 1990, before the first Gulf War. The scaling back in Baghdad also illustrates a broader scaling back among TV news organisations when it comes to foreign bureaux. Networks also increasingly rely on content partners from across the globe, who can supply raw footage while reporters are en route.

Nilesat has taken off the air two satellite TV channels for allegedly broadcasting pirated content. Egypt-based Panorama Comedy and Panorama Action are no longer broadcasting via the Nilesat satellite. Industry figures allege that both channels, which are believed to be based in Egypt, are involved in illegal broadcasting of films to which they do not own the rights. “The channels were clearly illegitimately inspired. There was no attempt to get rights,” said Sam Barnett, Chief Executive of MBC Group. Meanwhile, regional broadcasters such as MBC Group, OSN and Rotana continue to campaign for better copyright enforcement in the region to counter piracy.

ADM AND DMi ExTEND UAE pRo lEAGUE TV pARTNERSHip Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) and Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) have extended their partnership for the coverage of UAE Pro League for another three seasons. Under the agreement, AD Sports and Dubai Sports channels have been broadcasting the league matches live for the last five seasons. The television rights deal, which begins in September, covers the rebranded Arabian Gulf League, Reserves League, Super Cup and League Cup. Both channels will be able to show every match live, with their own commentary by studio-based experts. “This proposed partnership showcases the solid ongoing relationship between Abu Dhabi Media and Dubai Media Incorporated over the past five years. We are committed to maximising the reach and quality of the PLC coverage, providing viewers with a highly innovative HD experience. We look forward to working with DMI on these tournaments,” said Mohammad Najeeb, Head of Abu Dhabi Sports. “The decision of both the sports channels to have a unified offer for TV rights of the UAE Pro League is another example of the successful cooperation of both channels for the benefit of UAE viewers. “It is also a step forward for the future of the UAE league as it promotes the UAE league matches worldwide,” added Rashid Al Amiri, General Manager of Dubai Sports channel.

fiRST DolBy ATMoS iN UAE Cine Royal Cinema LLC has launched the UAE’s first Dolby Atmos equipped theatre in Abu Dhabi at the Cine Royal Cinema, Khalidiyah Mall. Dolby Atmos introduces a hybrid approach to mixing and directs sound as dynamic objects that envelop the listener, in combination with channels for playback. It enables adaptive rendering to ensure that the playback experience is as close as possible to the creator’s original vision in any given environment.

July 2013 | |



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PRONEWS ADVANCED MEDIA HOSTS AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP Advanced Media hosted an open house workshop of aerial photography demonstrations using DJI products to enhance both the artistic and technical understanding of aerial photography and DJI products. The workshops were led by Emirates Airlines pilot Captain Jürgen Weidig and Advanced Media’s Sales Engineer Pejman Ghorbani. The demonstrated products were first exhibited at CABSAT 2013 at the Advanced Media booth. The sessions touched upon the concepts of aerial photography and introduced the latest products from DJI such as drones and gimbals. The experts also assembled and flew the spreading wings S800 and Phantom to demonstrate its capabilities to a wide audience of industry professionals.

Cliff Nelson and Khalid Balkheyour.

DIFF tIes wIth FestIval BIarrItz amerIque latIne

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has announced a partnership with Festival Biarritz Amerique Latine, a Latin American film festival held annually in Biarritz, France. The partnership is the first of its kind for DIFF and takes the form of an exchange with Shivani Pandya (L) with Marc Bonduel. each festival offering exhibition space to select films. Biarritz Film Festival is the most attractive After French event dedicated to Latin American a second successful cinematographies. event celebrating popular culture in Shivani Pandya, Managing Director of DIFF, the region, the Middle East Film and Comic said: “With this mutually beneficial partnership, Con has teamed up with the Dubai International Arab cinema will continue to travel outside of Film Festival and Attitude Enterprises to give sci-fi and the region to Europe and on to Latin America. superhero film fans in the Middle East a chance to have Conversely, the Latin American films that are their genre themed concept produced into a short film. The selected in Biarritz will gain exposure to the competition, which is open to talent across the region, will see Middle Eastern and South Asian markets the winning treatment have a script written locally and refined that are on DIFF’s doorstep. DIFF has always by Max Landis of the Chronicle fame. The script will then be sought to leverage Dubai’s position as a directed and produced by Attitude Enterprises, a media crossroads, and this bridge to Europe and production group in the UAE. It will be supported and guided Latin American is another welcome pathway by key people from the regional and international film for Arab cinema to reach the world.” industry including DOP, Mike Allen and popular Marc Bonduel, Managing Director of Festival Emirati Director Ali Mostafa (City of Life). Biarritz Amerique Latine added: “We are thrilled to The competition is officially taking be collaborating with the Dubai International Film entries until August 31. Festival, the leading festival in the Middle East. This partnership will offer Latin American films selected in Biarritz a new world visibility beyond the French and other European markets.”

MY-HD AND ARABSAT CELEBRATE THE SUCCESS OF THEIR ALLIANCE My-HD, a satellite pay-TV platform in the MENA region and Arabsat, a prominent satellite operator and service provider in the Arab world, celebrated the success of their strategic partnership by announcing the official launch of the full bouquet of 39 channels including 31 high definition (HD) channels. Cliff Nelson, CEO, My-HD and Khalid Balkheyour, President and CEO, Arabsat hosted the celebration for achieving this milestone on May 30 in Dubai. Speaking during the occasion, Cliff Nelson, CEO of My-HD said, “My-HD and Arabsat’s arabsat was partnership is set to awarded the “Best satellite shape the future Operator of the year” at satCOm of HDTV in the africa 2013 in Johannesburg, south MENA region. africa. the award came as a recognition Ever since our for the company’s contribution to the tie-up in March satellite industry, especially in developing 2013 we have satellite services in africa. the satellite been working operator had also won the award hard to secure in 2010. premium HD content for the region”.

SAUDI STATE TV TO LEASE ARABSAT TRANSPONDER Saudi Arabia is to lease a transponder from the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat) to broadcast state satellite television channels. The announcement was made by Saudi culture and information minister Abdul Aziz Khoja. The decision authorises the Audio Visual Media Authority to establish the satellite platform for the transmission of TV programmes and to coordinate with Arabsat and other relevant agencies to carry out the project. Along with Saudi TV, the country’s television market is currently dominated by free-to-air satellite networks MBC, Rotana, and Dubai TV — with pay-TV operators OSN and Al Jazeera Sport also beginning to make significant inroads. Private television stations are not allowed to operate from within the Kingdom, however Saudi investors are behind the Dubai-based MBC and OSN networks, while Rotana – which broadcasts pan-Arab free-to-air TV channels including Cinema, Khalijiah, Masryiah, Clip, Musica, Aflam, Classic and LBC – is owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal.

VIEWSAT CHOOSES IS20 SATELLITE FOR SERVICE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA ViewSat, a global broadcasting company for television and radio channels, has chosen IS20 to support growth in subSaharan Africa. From its origin serving only sub-Saharan Africa in 2006, ViewSat has grown to become a global satellite provider, extending its reach to additional areas, including the Middle East, Europe and North America. “We have chosen to extend our partnership with Intelsat in response to our growth aims in 2013,” said Awaes Jaswal, CEO, ViewSat. “We are proud to build on a strong start to the year, in terms of growth and attendance at a range of worldwide exhibitions from the beginning of 2013, with this new agreement.”

July 2013 | |



Servers continue global growth The maturing broadcast server market continues to see healthy growth in an otherwise difficult global environment for many other products, as it advances in its Third Wave. The new broadcast server report, Broadcast Servers World 2013, published by D.I.S. Consulting Corporation, reveals continued growth and health in the worldwide server market, despite obvious softness in the European region. On a global basis, the server product genre continues to see enthusiastic purchasing, as broadcast and cable operations, production and post production operations and institutional venues all find greater use for servers. This health has continued to attract not only customers but also suppliers, with more than 60 server brands now competing for shares. That being said, a handful of major international brands still account for most of the channels purchased. There appears to have emerged two fairly distinctive types of suppliers in what we have termed servers’ Third Wave; the highly reliable and higher priced brands and the less expensive but potentially less reliable brands. Clearly, there is a supplier to meet virtually every need and budget. Technologically solid state solutions based on Flash have been offered for close to a decade and were somewhat slower to be adopted primarily due to chip cost. However, a demand has begun to build on the part of customers seeking more assured reliability offered by those system makers. Channel expansion means server growth The new report, fielded last year, and answered by 1,440 broadcasters and industry professionals, worldwide, highlights continued purchasing while defining what is motivating buyers the most. Amongst the numerous market drivers for continued broadcast server buying are: • A massive build-out of storage


FIgURE 1 input channels compared to 2012


129 100







16 0

• • •

• •



infrastructure, where servers act as headends A continuing retirement of analogue and early digital recorders The growth of archival system building The growth of deployed channels (some of which belong to the ‘channelin-a-box’ territory, but many do not) Continued interest in further automation of operations in which servers play a key role Changes in workflows and expansion of where servers can be deployed and A build-out of high resolution applications, as a result of the adoption of HDTV, which is still seeing considerable take up and which we see having substantial head room for additional growth.

Middle East and Africa optimistic about server channel growth Of the five regions studied, regarding whether input channels would increase, decrease or remain the same in 2013, compared with 2012, the 257 survey respondents in the Middle East and Africa were fairly optimistic in their prognostications. Of those respondents, 129 expected to see the number of input

12 | | July 2013

Remain the same

Don’t Know/No answer

channels increasing, 76 to see them decreasing, 36 thought they would remain the same and only 16 stated don’t know or gave no answer. Compared to 2012, do you anticipate your number of INPUT Channels in 2013 to increase, decrease or remain the same? In the minds of professional end users the future of broadcast-oriented media servers may be seen as mixed in with channel-ina-box and its feature-combining strategies and with playout automation system uses. But at least, most certainly, missionspecific servers continue to be a healthy territory for suppliers to go after and a healthy investment that broadcasters, cable operators, producers and institutions will make as they build workflows or update and modernise their existing structural capabilities. With no end in sight for the massive capacity build out for storage, even factoring in cloud technology servers regardless of where they are deployed, represent important basic building blocks of workflow functionality. PRO Douglas I. Sheer is CEO and Chief Analyst of D.I.S. Consulting.

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Learning from History Most broadcasters believe that viewers spend hours watching TV during Ramadan. Figures, however, tell us a different story Ramadan is upon us. It may even have started by the time you read this article, written some weeks before the actual event.

I am, therefore, going to make some brave predictions about what is likely to happen, based on what we’ve seen over the last year through the people meter data. As the saying goes, ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and there is a familiarity about Ramadan television which could benefit from less repetition.

with a clear message and undivided attention, X Factor is available on three channels, Rotana Khaleejiah, MTV Lebanon and CBC. I can’t tell what happened in their ‘home’ markets, and maybe, whatever viewing and advertising they got there justified whatever price was paid. But, as far as the UAE market went (arguably a microcosm of the region) the sum of parts FIGURE 1: TV Viewing during ramadan

Single source is best The best coffee comes from a single origin, doesn’t it? And the same applies to content. We’ve seen two very different approaches between X Factor and Arab Idol, so far, this year. While Idol is available only on MBC,

14 | | July 2013

was not greater than the whole. The lesson here is what we have been preaching since data first started flowing from our boxes. People follow content, not channels. If you have the show that people want to watch then they will come – it might even be the only thing they watch on your channel, appearing at showtime and disappearing the moment the closing titles run. Of course, the viewers need to know about the content, and that requires marketing and promotion. Viewers can be persuaded and a single big hit will bump up the whole channel’s average.

TaRgeT auDIence

avg DaIly HRS RamaDan 2012

avg DaIly HRS maR-may 2013




It’s not as big as we think

arab expaTS



all HouSeHoldS



If you speak to people in television or advertising there seems to be a belief that Ramadan is when people spend hours

PROtRends FIGURe 2: tOtal tV VIewInG



30 25 20 15 10

Biggest is not best Alternatively, this could be titled ‘Pick Your Fights’.

00 -2


30 25





00 24





30 22





00 0 .0 21






Last year, MBC Drama started off slowly but by the end of the month, it had started to eclipse its big sister MBC 1 with all the big series. Overall, Drama was just one hundredth of a percentage point behind MBC 1 in audience share among Emiratis and expat Arabs. How did that happen? Some people may be familiar with the management concept of Blue Water and Red Water, representing areas where there is relatively little competition (blue) against areas which are hotly contested (red). MBC 1 plays in red space, competing fiercely for the prime-time post-Iftar family viewing. The top programmes on MBC Drama were:





00 .0 18




30 .3 16




00 .0 15




30 .3 13

0 .0 12

.3 10



00 -1



and hours in front of the television, like shoppers at a discount sale, grabbing every item they can lay their hands on, regardless of whether they really want it or not. Not surprisingly, the public reacts to this perception when they are asked in surveys about their viewing habits. But, when the viewing is actually measured, the picture is quite different or to put it in another way, it’s the same. Figure 2 shows total television viewing among Emiratis, Arab expats and all households during Ramadan last year, compared to the last three full months (March-April-May) in 2013. So, we’re actually looking at less viewing among Emirati individuals, less than half an hour of extra viewing among Arab expats and around an extra 40 minutes at household level. I’ll qualify that by saying that the tview panel was not fully established last Ramadan, but I’m fairly confident the results would have been along the same lines. What is clear, though, is where there is more viewing, it concentrates in the evenings and lasts longer into the night, dipping below normal viewing during the day. The table also shows Arab expat viewing across 24 hours, and the patterns are similar in Emiratis and All Households (categories).




00 09





30 0 .3 07






00 5. -0 0

.3 04








Conclusion Having said that, clearly some things will not change. Family viewing is still massive in Ramadan among Emiratis and Arab expats, and the early evening cartoon series will no doubt dominate the programme viewing. However, by the time I write next month’s column we should also have had the final of Arab Idol and I will make another prediction, that the top programme of the year will be either Arab Idol or the Gulf Cup football from earlier in 2013 – not a Ramadan programme. On that note, Ramadan Kareem, and I look forward to seeing how it goes for all of us in television.

Banat Al Aayla at 6pm Saher Al Layl at 5pm Hebr Al Ayoun at 4pm

Did you spot the trend? In fact, they all rated more highly across the period than MBC 1’s big setpiece Omar. They didn’t start off that way, though. In the first week of Ramadan 2012, the big shows were on top: Omar, Tesh Ayal and Wi-Fi. They trended down over the next few weeks to be overtaken by shows that, perhaps, had less publicity on a channel with lower viewership, but picked up by word of mouth and loyalty, over time.

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.

July 2013 | |



Sound entertainment Dubai Media Incorporated used surround sound capture for the first time with TSL PPL SoundField DSF-B Digital Broadcast Surround Microphone package to broadcast the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship this year. A report

When preparing to broadcast the Dubai Duty Free 2013 Tennis Championships earlier this year, state broadcaster Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) looked to recreate the intense atmosphere of the ATP World Tour 500 series men’s tennis for viewers across the globe through surround sound. The event took place at the Aviation Club Tennis Court, a hard surface outdoor stadium that seats 5,000 guests. The state broadcaster chose the SoundField DSF-B Surround Sound Microphone package from TSL Professional Products Limited (TSL PPL) for this

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project. The system offers the surround capturing technology as the bed for the effect and announcer microphones. As this production was the first venture into surround production for DMI, putting the correct equipment in place, along with a surround-aware workflow, was perceived as challenging. In the past, an array of effect microphones capturing the hits, player exclamations and referee comments, mixed in with announcer’s commentary and overall ambience, provided the audio experience for the event as it was sent to two OB trucks for mixing and processing. TSL claims that its PPL SoundField

PROAUDIO “The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is the first time we made an attempt to go into surround sound production. The surround test was part of a product evaluation that went very well” Saleh Lootah, Chief Technology Officer of DMI

DSF-B Digital Broadcast Surround Microphone package helped bring DMI sports broadcasting into the HD surround age. Made up of a DSF-2 Microphone System (DSF-2 microphone and DSF-2 microphone controller) and the DSF-3 Digital Surround Processor, the system provided engineers that were new to producing surround content with a comprehensive 5.1 audio tool that was straightforward to install and easy to use. The single DFS-2 microphone feed was suitable for producing the entire programme with commentary, and some heightened effect microphone feeds added to the taste. The engineering team only had to deal with blending in the extra feeds, not constantly synthesising an ambient field from multiple microphones, thereby streamlining the engineering process. The DSF-2 Microphone system is based on the SoundField B-Format design principle that all acoustic events can be represented by four basic elements: X – the front/back or depth information Y – the left/right or width information Z – the up/down or height information W – the central point from which the other three elements are referenced. The microphone itself is made up of four high-quality, precision-aligned condenser elements to capture a 360-degree sonic panorama. The DSF-2 Controller manages the microphone and outputs the four-channel B-Format. The DSF-3 Digital Surround Processor will take the B-Format signals and output a 5.1 ambience bed, which can be completely customised from the comfort of the mixing position. The resulting 5.1 is phase coherent and is, therefore, completely downmix compatible. “We have employed two HD OB trucks for sports and event production for the last few years,” says Saleh Lootah, Chief Technology Officer at DMI. “The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is the first time we made

Saleh Lootah, CTO, Dubai Media Incorporated.

an attempt to go into surround sound production. The surround test was part of a product evaluation that went very well. While in some instances we felt the need to add traditional effect microphones to sonically emphasise certain elements, for the most part we simply used the SoundField signal mixed with commentary. We had no phase issues whatsoever upon metering.” When the SoundField stereo signal was compared against an actual dedicated stereo recording of the event, the former was deemed suitable for non-surround transmission as well. “To be able to capture the entire event and output — both surround and stereo — from one source is a remarkable efficiency for the engineering staff,” explains Lootah. Because of the success of the 5.1 production using the SoundField DSF-B system, further systems are slated for installation in the future. The system was ideal because the DSF-2 microphone can be situated up to a distance of 1.25km from the truck without any signal degradation. Also, the stereo signal may be output directly in both analogue and digital to accommodate any broadcasting situation. PRO

“As this production was the first venture into surround production for DMI, putting the correct equipment in place, along with a surround aware workflow, was perceived as challenging” Saleh Lootah, Chief Technology Officer of DMI

DSF-2 microphone system.

July 2013 | |



Going places

A first-of-its-kind travel show that takes an Emirati idea to the world, Peeta Planet has been drawing a constant following right from the day it launched on Dubai One. BroadcastPro ME caught up with the men behind the social media travel show to learn more When Peeta Planet first aired on Dubai One in April this year, it immediately made headlines. It was attention well deserved for a TV series claimed to be the first of its kind. The series is targeted at the social media generation. Although not quite breaking away from traditional TV, it offers a rather different viewing experience, with several dimensions of social media added to it. A brainchild of Mohamed and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, it is anything but another travel show that features exotic locales and tourist attractions. For starters, it is presented by kandoura-clad Emirati brothers looking for the lesser known treasures a place has to offer. It is also an Emirati idea that goes out to the rest of the world. The idea took root as early as 2009 when social media was not so popular; it was before the smartphone and tablet revolution.

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PROCOVER “We were big on social media and used it extensively back then, when very few people had taken to it. We had just opened our restaurant Wild Peeta. To take a break we happened to crowdsource a three day vacation to Sri Lanka through Twitter and Facebook. It turned out to be quite an interesting trip as we were constantly tweeting about the places we visited, posting photos and comments,” says Mohamed, the older of the two brothers. This sort of unusual vacation opened a whole new virtual world of friends and followers for the brothers, who decided to take the idea further and came up with the concept of a social media travel show on TV. Mohamed says, “It was almost like we had all the ingredients but couldn’t figure out the recipe.” They approached twofour54 ibtikar, which embraced the concept and offered to fund a pilot. After several sessions of discussions and brainstorming, Mohamed and Peyman set up their production company Qabeela New Media in 2010. The newly minted company, which is based out of Abu Dhabi Media Freezone produced the pilot episode to demonstrate the concept. The pilot was shot in Tokyo with support from Ibtikar development fund. The 22-minute pilot was then pitched to Dubai Media Incorporated, which commissioned twelve 21-minute episodes to Qabeela New Media. The title of the show was an offshoot of the brothers’ restaurant’s name. In fact, Peeta Planet is the first Ibtikar project to go on air and a financially viable one at that.

Photo credit: James Daniel.

Production crew filming Locos X El Asados in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“When we show a city, we don’t film the usual tourist spots but try to capture the texture of

a place by filming the lesser known places that give viewers the true essence of the city” Mohamed Al Awadhi Photo credit: James Daniel.

Snapshot First media project with Abu Dhabi and Dubai working together and it is also the first travel show to be supported by Google * 12 episodes of 22-25 min per episode, produced in 1920x1080 HD, down converted to 4:3 Letterbox SD with stereo audio for broadcast * Show format: Social media reality travel show 24x5 minute webisodes and a broad range of activities and content for social networks G+, Facebook and Twitter to support the series * Producer: Qabeela New Media * Development and support: twofour54 * Partners: Google, InterContinental Hotels * Channel: Dubai One

Production crew filming musical band Urruka in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A documentary on social travel Peeta Planet is a social media driven show, which means the destinations covered on the show have been suggested by the brothers’ social media following. Even the places to visit and the people to interview come from the same lot. There is no dearth of travel shows but the control the viewer has over this particular format is what makes it different. Mohamed says: “The style that you see in our show is not the standard reality show style. When we show a city we

don’t film the usual tourist spots but try to capture the texture of the place by filming the lesser known places that give viewers the true essence of the city.” “It’s a completely new way of filming, the viewers are all directors of the show,” explains Peyman. Everything from the show goes online, and the viewers are involved at every step of the show in true social media style, there is not a moment missed. However, the team admits that there was a degree of ambiguity involved in

July 2013 | |



(Left to right) Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, Tony Ruthnam, Stefan McDad, Martin Roberts and Mohammed Parham Al Awadhi.

The crew Presenters: Mohamed and Peyman Al Awadhi Jared Levy and Justin Hamilton: Directors, Producers and Cinematographers Steven French: Cinematographer for the Singapore, Istanbul and Dublin episodes Tom Savage: On-location sound recordist for the Singapore, Istanbul, Dublin and UAE episodes Cary Daniels: On-location Sound Recordist for Seoul, Tokyo, Bangkok, Melbourne, Austin, Buenos Aires, Nairobi and Beirut episodes Craig Ormiston: Supervising Producer and all-round problem solver Andrew Smith: Social Media Director James Daniel: On-location DIT traveling to each of the countries as well as performing narrative offline editing duties Simon Holmes, Stefan McDad and Tony Ruthnam: Based out of twofour54 Abu Dhabi. Holmes handles narrative offline editing and McDad handles the audio post. Ruthnam handles the structuring of the show and the online editing, which consists of the grading, finishing and output

some segments of the show, the crew learnt as they filmed and only got a firm grasp of the format by the time they were in the third country. Having said that, it is this ambiguity that brings a thrill of unravelling something new every time. Tony Ruthnam, Senior Supervising Editor at twofour54 and Lead Editor and Co-Producer of Peeta Planet, handled the pilot of the series. He has also worked on the post production of the subsequent episodes. Ruthnam describes the show as organic; although it doesn’t follow a definitive script, everything falls in place because everyone in the team shares a common vision. He explains, “We don’t have a script but about three hours of rushes for an

interview that are sent to us. Given the nature of the show, you film for two hours and get two minutes.” A multi-cultural crew adds yet another dimension to the multilayered show. No one in the team except for the presenters is Arab. The team on location puts together a plan and the brief is sent out to the crew at the editing desk. One member of the post collates all the information. As soon as the information is picked up it’s on Google handle instantly, discussing how things are going to playout. The editors receive up to two terrabites of footage for each episode to work on in post. The colour grading is done on ProTools10 and Final Cut Pro suites. “The footage that comes back is

“It’s a completely new way of filming, where the viewers are all directors of the show” Peyman Al Awadhi

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PROCOVER stunning; colours, levels, everything is already there. We balance it out at the editing desk, making sure it comes out crystal clear, and therefore, our task in grading is fairly minimal. We are often pleasantly surprised by what comes out,” adds Ruthnam. For season one, two editors worked for three months each and spent six months in all to edit the footage; which makes it about two and half to three days on each episode. The show was in pre-production for four weeks with 20-hour daily work schedules. The editing to shooting ratios are very high and finding the correct balance can make or break an episode, explains Ruthnam. The editors work five days offline and three days online – adding the social media elements and all the graphic overlays. The audio requires some amount of work too. Grading, by far, is the toughest, because unlike in a creative grade you cannot cover up much as most of it goes in the original format. Mohamed says, “Our social media director passes over all the material that is posted online

“It is a fairly organic show. Given the nature of the

show, you film for two hours and get two minutes” Tony Ruthnam, Lead Editor and Co-Producer of Peeta Planet

July 2013 | |



The Peeta Planet production crew filming Emily Wolfe and her band in Austin, Texas.

Photo credit: James Daniel.

Key Kit Prodution: * 2x Sony FS700U with RedRock shoulder mount kit with a variety of Canon L lenses including 24-70mm, 16-35mm * GoPro Hero3 for additional stunts/underwater camera work Audio: * Tascam DR 680 8 track recorder * Seinheiser Lav Mics and receivers * Rode NTG1 Shotgun mic * Audio Technica 8035 Social Media: * Canon 5D Mark II * All footage was shot in 1080p 25fps, recorder to internal card media with reference sound * All audio media recorded separately (double-system) and synced later in post Post Kit List & Workflow: * Final Cut Pro 7 * CS6 * BCC flicker fixer filter * Avid Protools

* Alchemist Ph.C * Card media is ingested and transcoded within FCP * Log and edit are performed on 1080p 25fps ProRes HQ video and 48Khz 24bit poly-track audio WAVs * XML files are emailed between team on the ground and at twofour54 * Each episode is locked at twofour54 and prepped for audio (OMF) * Each episode is finished whilst audio post is happening * Problematic shots are sent to Adobe After Effects using XML and Pro-Import for stabilisation, flicker removal on slow mo shots * Grade is performed within FCP using the built-in filters (three way colour corrector) * Each episode is finalised with graphical elements * Each episode output is given to digibeta using Alchemist Ph.C doing the down conversion * Each episode output then goes to digital file for online

26 | | July 2013

including all the behind-the-scenes pictures and clips. “We ensure that we incorporate the same clips in the show as well.” As for the musical score, the show features local musicians and the lesser known bands from a particular city. According to the team, music is a good vehicle to highlight the true flavour of a city, hence a lot of emphasis is laid upon street music and local bands on the show. They help unravel the weft and waft of a place, and give the show its unique streak. The show doesn’t feature the stereotypical musicians but slightly off-beat bands and street artists that truly define a place. Each of the crew members wears different hats, as the roles are not clearly demarcated. For instance, the producers and directors are also the shows’s cinematographers – everything they plan, they shoot at the same time. Peeta Planet is a labour of love for all those involved. The spontaneity of the show sets it apart from a regualr scripted show, which is probably the reason for its popularity as well. PRO

“The footage that comes back is stunning; colours, levels, everything

is already there. We balance it out at the editing desk making sure it comes out crystal clear, therefore, our task in grading is fairly minimal” Tony Ruthnam, Lead Editor and Co-Producer of Peeta Planet



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Connecting Africa Somaliland is a sparsely populated and predominantly rural, independent region of Northern Somalia that has virtually no broadband infrastructure. Last year, three entities closely collaborated to enable Somcable, Somaliland’s largest integrated communications solutions provider, to give the region with tripleplay connectivity, offering infrastructure to wirelessly deliver data, voice and video access

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Easy broadband access has been shown to have a massive impact on global economies, stimulating markets, improving the daily lives of millions of inhabitants, and paving the way to sustained growth. While this is widely accepted, implementing this connectivity is fraught with challenges and complexity — from new infrastructure requirements to deployment investment and operating costs. These challenges are not limited to Africa. Across the globe, service and content providers must spend vast amounts of money to upgrade legacy systems, transforming existing infrastructure and maximising existing investment. Africa and other emerging economies have the unique opportunity to learn from the strategies and experiences of those who have already invested time and resources in technology upgrades. In many cases, these markets have the

PROAFRICA opportunity to start anew, designing and implementing networks to deliver voice, data and video connectivity that make the most of new technologies. Regions starting “from scratch” can deploy future-proof networks that leverage today’s IT-based communications landscape. By embracing and deploying advanced new technologies, they can leapfrog developed nations in terms of capabilities and efficiencies. In fact, the continent has recently overtaken Latin America as the second largest mobile market in the world — after Asia — with more than 620 million mobile connections recorded in September 2013. Over the past decade, mobile connections in Africa have increased 30% per year on average, with future growth forecast to grow exponentially, more rapidly. The next phase of Africa’s information and communications evolution will undoubtedly involve creating far more widespread broadband access, establishing the backbone networks that underpin economic and social development. Satellite communications technology and new terrestrial fibre networks have the potential to radically enhance broadband services across the continent. African operators have been hindered by the operational costs of deploying broadband in hard-to-reach areas. Physical geography, including rocky terrain, hills, valleys and atmospheric conditions, can all pose problems. Low density rural areas also pose a challenge, as they do not justify a sufficient and rapid return on investment, because, unfortunately, internet access, PCs and mobile devices remain out of reach for many who live in these remote areas. In the meantime, the proliferation of new submarine cables around the African coastline has been fundamental to enabling large-scale investment into the development of overland fibre infrastructures. This new international internet bandwidth has stimulated crossborder terrestrial networks, connecting landlocked countries to international networks as well as to domestic backbone networks and regional internet exchange points (IXPs). In order for this international internet bandwidth to become accessible, however, these terrestrial networks must be capable of generating sufficient traffic through the take-up of next-generation applications. Otherwise, this source of bandwidth will remain largely untapped.

A creative solution to common challenges Somaliland, a sparsely populated and predominantly rural, independent region of Northern Somalia, is an example of a region with virtually no broadband infrastructure. In late 2011, three entities closely collaborated to enable Somcable, Somaliland’s largest integrated communications solutions provider, to give the region with triple-play connectivity, offering infrastructure to wirelessly deliver data, voice and video access. To help design and implement a solution that would meet the requirements of creating an easily deployable, low cost, but highly accessible solution, Somcable turned to Globecomm, an integrated communications provider based in USA. As a provider of communication systems across all network types — satellite, wireless, IP and hybrid — Globecomm approached the project with an open mind, carefully considering the physical and economic environment, Somcable’s existing operations in region, and deployment and operating costs. After reviewing several FROM TOP: Shared use of resources enables costeffective, highly accessible voice, data and video access in Somaliland; Somcable’s mobile access kiosk provides pay-per-use broadband access. LEFT: Map of Somalia.

technology options, Globecomm and Somcable chose Bluwan SA, a wireless technology company headquartered in Paris, to provide the underlying technology. Their innovative fibrethrough-the-air (FTTA) solution known as Broadfusion proved to be superior in terms of capital and operating expenses, the ability to rollout across the harsh terrain, high bandwidth, and scalability to grow with increasing customer adoption and network needs. Once deployed, it was also easily accessible to Somaliland’s population. As Somcable CEO Michael Cothill explains: “I had worked with Globecomm before and knew they had the know-how and the ability

“African operators have been hindered by the operational costs of deploying broadband in hard-to-reach areas. Physical geography, including rocky terrain, hills, valleys and atmospheric conditions, can all pose problems” July 2013 | |


PROAFRICA African operators have been hindered by the operational costs of deploying broadband in hard-to-reach areas.

to think creatively about challenges and opportunities. We were looking at a range of solutions, including Wimax, that might have worked, but nothing really fit the bill. When we learned of Bluwan’s solution, we knew we had found our answer.” Bluwan’s fibre-through-the-air Broadfusion solution provides very rapid and cost-effective fibre optic broadband access at speeds up to 100 Mbps to any site. This fast, ultra-high bandwidth delivery enables network operators to offer other valuable services, from content delivered through over-the-top applications as well as newer HD broadcast systems such as HDTV. Most importantly, the content is delivered reliably. While Bluwan provided the terrestrial, line-ofsight wireless transmission, Globecomm delivered the LTE (long term evolution) wireless components, core networking capabilities and complete integration. Fibre-through-the-air: How does it work? The solution comprises small outdoor antennas that receive wireless broadband transmissions from a central transmission hub. Each hub is able to provide eight Gbps

capacity in a 360-degree, five-kilometre radius, thereby delivering uncontended two Mbps — minimum bandwidth for advanced broadband applications such as HDTV — and up to 100 Mbps peak performance to thousands of customers. The solution provides easy rollout in “slowspot” areas, allowing operators to extend fibre reach while avoiding expensive trenching, while meeting customer demand and enabling a fast return on investment. This is especially pertinent for areas where geographical landscape poses a significant obstacle. Rocky terrain, hills and valleys, and atmospheric conditions, all play a part in how broadband is deployed. Final connectivity to the consumer is provided with compact indoor customer premises equipment, known as a “Broadfusion Box.” The return path is integrated using Bluwan software for seamless IP connectivity, regardless of existing infrastructure and on-premise hardware. A standard satellite set-topbox can be used to receive native satellite signals terrestrially sent from the central transmission hub for SD and HD television content. This maximises the efficient use

“Through resource sharing and making access available on a broad scale, we’ve shown what’s possible even in areas that are remote, sparsely populated and economically disadvantaged” Shayan Sanyal, Chief Commercial Officer, Bluwan

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of IP bandwidth for other types of services, such as VoIP, OTT services, video on demand, and broadband connectivity at 100 Mbps. For Globecomm, the installation is a prime example of applying ingenuity and smart use of resources. “In Somcable, we were fortunate to have a customer that was truly a partner,” says Steve Yablonksi, Sr. Vice President and CTO at Globecomm. “They were completely open, and we had the freedom to thoroughly explore the best possible option to achieve their goals. And when we worked with Bluwan, they were an instant collaborator, willing and able to do whatever it took to tailor their solution to our needs.” The system enables service and network providers to deliver service bundles over and above basic broadband access with minimal deployment costs, thereby attracting more customers, cementing loyalty, and increasing revenues. For Somcable, the solution also paved the way for reduced operational, connection and deployment costs, including per megabyte carriage fees associated with submarine cable connectivity, fibre network trenching costs, and last mile connectivity to businesses and consumers. As data consumption increases, the system will scale for profitable business models and reduced operational costs. In time, the network is expected to expand across the border to Djibouti, which is connected to the sub-sea fibreoptic cables, and then throughout Somalia. From there it’s possible that the network will extend to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the region,” says Shayan Sanyal, Bluwan’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Through resource sharing and making access available on a broad scale, we’ve shown what’s possible even in areas that are remote, sparsely populated and economically disadvantaged.” The goal is one million subscribers by 2015. How quickly services are adopted and exactly how the network will affect the lives of those in Somaliland remains to be known. But advanced technologies such as FTTA and a creative approach to best serving service and network providers and the people who use their services, are real benefits that can change lives. PRO

TVC News went on air early this year giving viewers an African perspective on news from the continent.


The first pan-African news channel goes live TVC News launched early this year with the tagline ‘Through African Eyes’ giving viewers an African perspective on news from the continent. Media services company MediaGuru delivered the multi-million dollar, 24/7 HD-ready news channel project in less than two years. Vibhuti Arora delves deeper into the intricacies of establishing the channel it began two years ago when Nigerian broadcaster Continental Broadcasting Service (CBS) expressed a desire to launch a news channel that would be pan-African in nature and reflect the continent in the right prespective. To translate this vision into reality, CBS sought the services of New Delhi-based media services company MediaGuru, which undertook a turnkey project to establish the channel. MediaGuru was hired to deliver end-toend solutions to launch the first 24/7 fully automated news channel representative of all of Africa with the long-term objective to make the continent’s voice heard.

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Snapshot Client: CBS Systems integrator: MediaGuru Objective: To design and build an end-toend, 24/7, fully automated pan-African news channel and undertake all aspects of hiring local teams and training them until the channel would move on its own Location: Lagos, Nigeria Key Vendors: Octopus, Harris, VizRt, Apple, Snell, Ikegami, suppliers, networking experts, electrical, HVAC and interior contractors were identified and selected, to work at the site

The contract for the multi-million dollar project was awarded in the second half of 2011. The TV channel went on air in February 2013, on a satellite named CONSAT, which is equally owned by CBS. Engaged in media consulting, technology and digital archiving solutions, with expertise across television, film, radio, new media and print, MediaGuru provided a turnkey solution that took care of every aspect of the project, right from detailed business planning, to distribution, marketing and branding aspects as well as the construction of the facility and its systems integration. The project was executed by MediaGuru in close

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PROAfRicA “Our aim is to be the leading broadcaster when it comes to African affairs. We want people to make TVC News their first point of reference for all things African. It’s a gradual and organic process, and we have a long way to go. “More often than not, Africa is seen only from a foreign viewpoint by broadcasters who paint a negative image of the continent. TVC News covers not just news, but also celebrates the culture of Africa and the many positives we have here.” On the technology front, the selection, acquisition, implementation, integration, commissioning, and technical training was also conducted by MediaGuru to create a fully automated and efficient news station that delivered world-class service.

The main set at TVC News studio.

Master control room of TVC News.

consultation with TVC management. “The groundwork on the project began in 2011 when the project was first awarded to MediaGuru. We sat together planning the broadcast vision with a road map for the future for a channel that will represent Africa in the global media marketplace,” says Lemi Olalemi, Deputy CEO of TVC News. “Our business plan spanned a fiveyear period. Being a new, standalone project, we started from the very beginning with a broadcast specific building. We conceptualised the look and feel, designed the sets and newsrooms keeping the channel’s goals in mind. We worked on our editorial and programming needs and a broad plan for the timely execution of the project.” TVC News is the first real, panAfrican news broadcaster, covering the continent from an African perspective, says Nigel Parsons, CEO of TVC News.

Production control room.

“Our expertise in working on large projects, implementation

of global best practices, matched by best solutions and turnkey processes, helped CBS to take the call in our favour” Sanjay Salil, MD, MediaGuru

34 | | July 2013

The TV station The TVC headquarters in Lagos is spread across an area of 32,439 sq ft over two floors. With 50 workstations on the ground floor and 36 on the first floor, the facility has 14 high resolution, nonlinear editing stations with high-end machines and 27-inch LED displays. The facility also includes an eight-person make-up room and a graphics room with three studios. The project comprises three production control rooms (PCRs) equipped with 2ME switchers. The monitor wall in each PCR has three 65-inch displays with one of them being driven by HD output multiviewers. The integrated newsroom features playout, graphics and teleprompter and a 32-channel audio mixer, dual-channel telephone hybrid, audio replay units and a DVD player. The 40-seater newsroom features an automated NRCS with browsing, scripting and rundown scheduling alongside a computer system integrated with graphics, playout and teleprompter scripting. There are LCDs in the backdrop with live video distribution for viewing different news channels. The master control room uses a fully automated and redundant frame-accurate playout system with a 16-automation controlled master switcher with logo, bugs, external graphics and a ticker key. It also has a standby switching router and waveform monitoring for analysing video signals. The 50-inch display is driven by HD output multiviewers and offers an online graphics system. The ingest/link room has line racks

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“We have incorporated a state-of-the-art tapeless

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Left: Central equipment room. Right: Ingest room.

Central equipment room * HD video server setup catering to ingest and playout for PCR and MCR * 38TB video storage in mirroring * Automation servers in redundancy for 40-seat newsroom * Online graphics servers for controlling PCR and MCR graphics render and playout engines * GPS locked sync pulse generation system * 128x128 sources HD station routers with control panel located in every room, HD digital glues * 48-ports programmable intercom system with WAN connection to connect to 24-ports remote bureau’s intercom system * 32-key panels wireless beltpacks to enable users to communicate via live production * Off air compliance login; KVM network and KVM switches to monitor the servers; patch panels and HQ monitoring

Lemi Olalemi, Deputy CEO of TVC News.

for ingesting feeds from news agencies, DSNGs and flyways downlink via portable 3G backpack units. It also features frame synchronisers, RF cable modulator distribution and a live 3G portable video unit receiving server. There is a provision for both tape and tapeless card based VTRs, hard disk based record and playout devices, IRDs and decoders. “All of these solutions have been provided by in-house experts of MediaGuru. We chose the vendors in consultation with the TVC management, with overall responsibility owned by MediaGuru,” points out Sanjay Salil, Managing Director of MediaGuru. No doubt, it was a challenge for the

36 | | July 2013

company to operate in Africa. “Working in Africa was challenging. For one, the distance between our base, in India and the project site in Lagos in Nigeria posed a challenge. Secondly, the project was done from scratch, starting from the infrastructure, going on to HVAC, workflow, manpower, training, integration, and commissioning. All of these tasks required a large number of domain expert manpower throughout. “Thirdly, it required a thorough recruitment process and training of local manpower as there wasn’t experienced manpower available, this being the first of-its-kind project in the country.” It’s an HD ready channel that consists of multi-format studios, EFP and ENG camera. Sushil Khanna, Director of Operations at MediaGuru, explains: “We have incorporated a state-of-the-art tapeless workflow that expands support for MOS-compliant newsroom computer system with unique integration benefits, such as the ability to preview both video clips and updating Vizrt graphics templates from within the newsroom client video asset proxies that are stored on the online storage and DIVA tape archive. It also offers cross-platform Mac and Windows client support, and has a cost-effective licensing structure.” The station format was DVCPRO25 but its facility is designed to support various file formats. The existing data was migrated and transcoded from different formats to a native house format. The station uses multi-level metadata. The TVC News facility is fully scalable with room for expansion. This facility is designed to incorporate future studios and playout facility. The cost of add-on channels will be reduced in the future because a provision for expansion has been made


The TV station’s news studio.

Key kit

Stuart Young, Director of News and Programmes at TVC News.

in the project right from the start. Further expansion is underway to add bureaux and representative setups for news gathering in a number of countries strategic to Africa in terms of news. Stuart Young, Director of News and Programmes at TVC News says: “Our future plans are under review but we do intend to take many of our programmes ‘on the road’, being produced and presented from around Africa, with local input from personalities and ordinary people from their own locale. “Eventually, we would hope to establish mini broadcast centres at our major bureaux, such as Johannesburg, Nairobi and Cairo, allowing our own reporters as well as invited guests to take part in live interaction with Lagos.” PRO

* Production: Snell vision mixer * News: Octopus newsroom with Harris news force solution * Cameras: Ikegami multi-format studio cameras with control panel and accessories * Pedestals and tripod with dollies - Sachtler * Switcher: Snell Kahuna 2ME * Soundcraft 32Faders audio mixers * Automatic pan/tilt/zoom tripod power plus and Shotoku jib * Panasonic plasma displays * Telos telphone hybrids * Radar touchscreen * Barco video wall * Trackable virtual chroma setup with studio lighting controllable by dimmer panels * MACPRO machines with Apple FCP for high resolution, nonlinear editing

* Central apparatus room with Harris station router, clean switch backup routers, multivewer displays, Waveform technical monitoring, digital glues and peripherals, TSL, Wohler and Kroma for high quality video and audio monitoring, * Port studio and facility talkback system - Kroma 96 * Ingest room with Harris frame synchronisers * Card-based and tape VTR’s - Panasonic * Hard disk recorders - Grass Valley * IR decoders - Harmonic * Harris Nexio ingest automation clients with hardware control panels, multiviewer with plasma monitoring * KU band OB/DSNG vans with two-camera production setup using Sony switchers, Vislink antenna, HPA and encoder system * KuBand Swedish Rockwell flyway kits

“Our aim is to be the leading broadcaster when it comes to

African affairs. We want people to make TVC News their first point of reference for all things African” Nigel Parsons, CEO of TVC News

July 2013 | |



The economics of multi-platform delivery It is vital to know the cost of delivering content on multiple platforms in order to develop a monetisation strategy. Tony Taylor discusses the challenges facing broadcasters today and recommends solutions to counter them There is no doubt that one of the most important challenges facing broadcasters and content owners these days is the need to make programming available across multiple platforms. Increasingly, audiences expect to be able to watch the content they want online and on mobile devices as well as via catch-up and video on demand through traditional distribution. This is being seen as a potential new revenue opportunity. If at present broadcasters and content owners are being pushed into providing these services simply because consumers expect them, they should certainly have the eye on realising revenues from them in the future. So much of the debate focuses on monetising strategies. Will transactional,

subscription or advertising models – or a combination of the three – provide the revenues? Are micropayments something the broadcaster can readily collect, or is there a need to work in partnership with an organisation used to collecting large numbers of small payments? Can advertisers be persuaded to pay incremental fees to be seen on mobile and online versions of the programmes they are already funding through broadcast advertising? Will they bear the cost of reversioning commercials for different platforms? Can they use the detailed demographics available from online and mobile users to target commercials, and will consumers accept this? Do broadcasters maintain the direct relationship with the consumer? Can

content owners build a direct distribution business? Will new entrants to the market cause a significant shift? Netflix spent a reported USD100 million on two series of House of Cards, available only through its online service. These questions and many more are extremely vital and dominate the debate today. But, according to me, the other side of the business equation is being overlooked. You can only define revenue targets – however those revenues are to be raised – by knowing the cost of delivering the service. Costs Clearly, delivering to multiple platforms involves additional costs for the broadcaster or content owner. There is more hardware

July 2013 | |


PROTRends “Today, a well-designed asset management system will incorporate a significant degree of intelligence. It will not only be capable of a very flexible metadata schema, which can be extended as necessary, it will be able to make decisions based on that metadata and on responses from external devices and systems” Tony Taylor, Chairman and CEO, TMD

involved, in creating new versions of content, transcoding and transwrapping it for each device, and storing multiple copies. In turn, these processes involve more workflows, more paths through the content chain. So there is likely to be the need to extend the infrastructure, to provide more bandwidth to move content around and have more concurrent workflows. More information needs to be stored, so the metadata schemes will also need to be extended. If the current asset management system is inflexible this can be a major issue, calling for a large capital redevelopment just to make it practical. Adding a new service calls for the design of a new workflow. Adding a delivery route or device needs another set of instructions, along the lines of: • identify the content • determine the resolution and frame rate, and if necessary for the target device modify it • encode it using the appropriate codec and bitrate (or, in the case of mobile devices, bitrates for adaptive delivery) • perform quality control checks on the content • select or set the required metadata and reformat for the target delivery platform • perform quality control checks on the metadata • deliver the content to the buffer store or to the content delivery network. Each step requires the content to be routed to a specialist device, which might be a piece of dedicated hardware or it might be software running on a standard server or processor farm. It might even be a cloud service. Consideration has to be given to whether each of those devices has capacity for the additional tasks. If there is congestion in any part of the workflow, which services will be given priority? How long can a task be allowed to

take before consumers’ patience runs out because the content they want is not available online? For catch-up services, consumers are increasingly expecting content to be available virtually immediately after transmission: certainly within a few minutes. Does the system have the capacity to deliver this? Managing assets Asset management systems have developed rapidly over the past 20 years or so since the term was first coined. At first they were simply the necessary database to find content stored on servers or in digital archives. Today, a well-designed asset management system will incorporate a significant degree of intelligence. It will not only be capable of a very flexible metadata schema, which can be extended as necessary, it will be able to make decisions based on that metadata and on responses from external devices and systems. In short, it is the “workflow engine”. Better still, it is an intelligent workflow engine, with the potential to put branches at each decision point. To take one simple example, in the outline above, the fourth step is to perform quality control checks on the content. So the decision point is, first, does it pass or fail the QC. If it passes, obviously it moves on to the next step. What happens if it fails? You could develop quite sophisticated decision making at this point. Some delivery platforms will be tolerant of a small number of quality errors: you might accept audio clipping if it does not last more than 5ms, for example. So the workflow engine could ask the automated QC device for details of the failures and, if they are within the stated tolerance for this specific delivery, it could make a further decision on pass or fail. If it still fails, the workflow engine could make another decision, on whether

40 | | July 2013

to simply retry the encoding, or refer the problem to a human operator for rectification. If a re-encode creates good content then it is passed on down the line. And here is yet another advantage. Simply trying again to see if it works better, might get the content through but it is not a very scientific approach. So the workflow engine might be set to collect extra data here. If the content failed when encoded with device A but passed when encoded with device B, then there might be a problem on device A, which perhaps is only revealed on certain types of content. The immediate issue is resolved – the content is passed down the pipeline – but the chief engineer will be alerted. If a number of similar instances occur, then the continuing audit trail will show what the problem is. Similarly, the workflow engine will be tracking each piece of content through the system. If there are large delays then it will know where those delays are occurring. In a manufacturing business, you can see where the bottlenecks in production lie, and so you can consider investing in those areas to make the line move more evenly. In developing the capital plan to make that investment, you will calculate the effect of the additional machinery on your ability to make products better and faster, what effect that will have on revenue, and therefore, if there is a positive commercial benefit in spending the money. What we are now looking at in multiplatform delivery is a content factory and, through asset management, good metadata and intelligent workflows, we can treat it in the same way. We can see where the bottlenecks lie, and we can see where we are over-provisioned. If, to continue the example, we only refer quality issues to operators once or twice a day, then having four on each shift is clearly an unnecessary expense. Ultimately, that is the goal: not just to be able to optimise the human and technology resources but to know how much of each we are consuming in each process. From the audit trail we can simply calculate how much it costs to deliver a piece of content to a given platform. Only when we know that, can we develop a monetisation strategy. PRO Tony Taylor is Chairman and CEO of TMD

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The crew filming inside the office; the shoot involved office shots as well as outdoor and factory shots.

Pegah Ghamei Ghaemi has shot three films in Iran and five shorts in Australia. The filmmaker is currently working on a documentary, which is a sociological anthropological thesis of sorts on Kurds in Iraq. She joined the UAE film circuit with the introduction of her film Members of the Resistance at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

All in a day’s work

In an exclusive interview with Vibhuti Arora, AustralianIranian director Pegah Ghaemi talks about the pleasures and challenges of shooting in ‘real’ locations

42 | | July 2013

PROPROductiOn Kaxxxxxxxxxx

Filming taking place inside the factory.

Stills from The Man Inside

Steadicam operator filming the opening scene.

Filmmaker Pegah Ghaemi doesn’t watch a lot of films. the reason – she does not want to colour her vision with other people’s ideas. For Ghaemi, filmmaking is a very personal art. Having studied filmmaking in university gave her a better grasp of the craft but in no way did it shape her filmmaking ethos, which she insists is an intrinsic quality. While constantly updating herself on the technological front, Ghaemi doesn’t like to adopt other people’s style in directing. “Filmmaking is very individual, almost personal to me. I see it as a way to express myself and I’d rather do it my way than being influenced by others’ styles,” she explains. Combining an artistic touch and her knowledge of filmmaking gives an edge to her commercial shoots, each one of which has a soul, according to her, and is not churned out mechanically from a marketing machinery. So when she was approached by Conares Steel to do a corporate film, she came up with the idea of weaving a story around the film that would connect better with the audience. “In a commercial, you have to say a lot in very little time and all of it has to make sense. It was an exciting concept for me and the storyline immediately popped up

in my mind. I was ready with a script in the next few days. For the story and the commercial to flow together, we had to shoot it very cleverly to pack in as much information as possible. We decided to cover the entire workspace including the factory as well as the office area. We also shot some footage outdoors.” Ghaemi and her team managed to shoot for 12-15 hours daily over three days. The resulting footage was then worked on in post to produce the final two-and-a-halfminute film and a 30-second teaser. The story revolved around the factory and was to be shot at night in artificial lighting. However, a night shoot was not allowed at the premises so the production team went ahead with a day shoot, which was to be flipped at the editing table to get the required effect. “Sometimes, what you plan doesn’t necessarily materialise due to various constraints. As a filmmaker, one has to take these challenges in one’s stride. Thanks to technology, it’s possible to bring the film as close to your vision as possible. We decided to go ahead with a day shoot and used DaVinci Resolve to flip it and make it look like a night shoot. Colour grading gave it the effect we wanted.” The other challenge was to shoot inside

the factory, which obviously did not offer a very conducive environment for a camera shoot. To begin with, lighting was a big challenge because it was not uniform. The script involved a lot of movement over a significant stretch of the factory, strewn with iron rebars, pulleys and other machinery serving as the backdrop. The best way to capture the desired effect was to use a steadicam. Except for the leads, none of the other characters were professional actors. About 70 personnel from the factory and office were involved in the shoot. “It was almost like shooting a fictional documentary within a real factory with real people,” says Ghaemi. “We did not have the luxury of time to do too many retakes or hire and train any extras. The entire shoot was done within a very tight time frame.” Another challenge was the noise in the factory. Ghaemi says, “Communicating with people sharing camera space was extremely difficult because of the noise. “We had to make do with whatever resources were available. Safety was a major concern as we were shooting with potentially hazardous machinery. Although we had special permission to shoot in the factory, we had to be

July 2013 | |




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PROPRODUCTION extra cautious to avoid accidents.” Adhering to the budget and logistical constraints, the script had to be pared down to achieve everything in three days. “I would have liked it to be at least six days. In order to reduce the shoot to three days, we altered the night scenes in the script to day so that we could shoot day for day. In doing so, we also had to drop a lot of equipment – lights for one, extra lenses and a host of shooting paraphernalia,” points out Ghaemi. However, a steadicam could fit it all in within the given time frame. DoP Shahram Aderangui from Amaranthine Trading, the distributors for ARRI in the Middle East, involved well-known steadicam operator Hosein Jalili, who was called in especially from Iran to handle the three-day shoot. The film was shot on ARRI Alexa in full

HD to have different layers of shooting and to allow for different grades of lighting. Aderangui chose the Alexa to capture the depth and crispness of the milieu. It was the best choice for accommodating the gradation in lighting as the light varied from dark interiors to very bright sunlight outside with the shoot spanning both. The post production was done using Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Maya 3D and DaVinci Resolve colour correction. There was no need for dubs or voice overs, and sync sound was out of the question because of the excessive noise in the factory. Audio was added in post. Ghaemi comments: “Barring some of the challenges, realistic imagery is easy to shoot if you have a grasp of what you want. It also cuts down on your work in post as not many special effects are needed. What you shoot is what you get.” PRO

“We had to make do with whatever resources we had. Safety was a major concern...even with special permission to shoot in the factory, we had to be extra cautious to avoid accidents” Pegah Ghaemi, filmmaker

Steadicam operator Hosein Jalili on location.

Jalili being helped with the equipment by crew.

July 2013 | |



Didier Gault, Solutions Sales Consultant at Grass Valley addresses the seminar.

Didier Gault, Solutions Sales Consultant at Grass Valley, South Europe, Middle East and Africa.

From left: Hassan Chahine from Glocom, Hassan Ghoul from Grass Valley and Ahmed Gamal from Systems Design.

Grass Valley reaches out Grass Valley held a series of roadshows in the EMEA region to introduce its new products to the local market. BroadcastPro ME brings back comments from the Dubai leg of the event

Visitors to the ‘discovery sessions’ had the opportunity to discuss the latest innovations in Grass Valley’s product portfolio and talk to spokespeople first-hand about the company’s vision and strategy for the future. Some of its recent NAB solutions that were reintroduced at the event included: GV Stratus, an application environment for nonlinear production; K2 Dyno ShareFlex, an easy resource and content sharing; GV Director, a new, award-winning approach to integrated production; Ignite, which empowers creative resources and automates studios; LDX e-Licensing, which is a new economic model for software upgradeable cameras. Beginning with Kuwait, the roadshows were held in Madrid, Riyadh, Dubai, Doha, Milan, Rome, Paris and Cairo.

46 | | July 2013

SAID BAChO, Senior Vice President, EMEA, Grass Valley The EMEA roadshow is the first official event in my new role in Grass Valley. The last few weeks have been very exciting, with a lot going on. I have been busy travelling and visiting all the offices in the region. Our plan is to have a decentralised organisation, where each region and subregion is important. While we continue to innovate and update on the technology front, we are also developing our marketing side quite aggressively. Engaging the customer through such events is part of our strategy to make the brand better known and create more product awareness. I would also like to add here that we are very focused on the region with big expansion plans underway. We will be doubling the staff for the region, which goes to show how committed we are to expanding the business here. The Middle East is a growth region for Grass Valley and we are very well positioned to take on the leadership. We will be expanding all the departments in the regional office here, be it pre-sales, sales, after sales service or marketing.


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PROEVENT HassaN GHOul managing director, Grass Valley, middle East The roadshows are to recapitulate what we introduced at NAB this year. These are especially aimed at customers who could not attend the exhibition, and those who did are being reintroduced to the technologies. Through such events, we try to engage with our customers in order to understand them better. All of the products that we are talking about in the roadshows are already there in the market, ready to be shipped. Our experts are on hand to discuss at length any queries or concerns that the customers might have. Interactive sessions such as these further improve the communication channel between us as a manufacturer and the end user. What better way to know and understand the market and its demands and expectations from us than being in direct touch with the end users. We have seen a surge in news-based channels in the region. Sports is another area that is catching up very fast. We are, obviously, focusing on products that especially cater to those needs. There is a continuous transformation of the broadcast platform in the region, which makes it highly lucrative to do business here.

FRaNcOisE sEmiN, Vice President, south Europe, middle East and africa, Grass Valley We are growing the team of our Middle East office by recruiting more people. Strengthening the team would also mean we can attend to our customers’ needs better and focus more on the region. We look forward to a robust development of our services in the region through aggressive marketing. The region is abuzz with activity with several big projects underway. Al Arab in Bahrain and the Al Jazeera workplace transformation have been some of the big projects that Grass Valley has executed. We are coming back very strongly in Saudi Arabia, where we expect more business. Egypt is picking up too, where we recently closed a deal to supply the latest LDX camera series to Dream TV. This is the first big step in the market that has opened many doors for us and it helped us establish a foothold in the country. We have also got a breakthrough in Ethiopia with the Amhara TV project. Innovation has always been our focus and it will continue to be so. These roadshows further reiterate our focus on innovation and technology. We are now moving away from transitional products and promoting more of IT- based products including K2 servers and Stratus workflow framework. The Stratus workflow framework hosts a lot of tools of ingest, transcoding, editing and we are also progressively integrating all our products into the backbone to share the media and the metadata across the studio as well as broadcast to speed up the distribution of content. We are in the process of closing some big deals in the region, which is indicative of our strong presence here and our desire to build it further.

48 | | July 2013

HassaN cHaHiNE cEO, Glocom I notice that the company has adopted an aggressive marketing strategy, which is a good way to go forward. The presentation explains the workflow, which is very useful for customers to understand what would best cater to their needs. Many a time, the end-user tends to buy the highest model of a product available, which they may or may not need. The LDX e-licence enables you to make a conscious decision based on your individual needs and resources. The GV Mixer and GV Director have a fairly good market presence having made a mark in the industry for their superior performance. As a systems integrator now and having been an end user before, I am well-versed with Grass Valley equipment and have been using it. On the technology front, the company has always been quite strong. However, in the past, management changes took a toll on the company’s customer service. Now, with the new management, they are back on track. The product range and the software offered enables us to handle the entire workflow in the same chain, from production to post. aHmEd Hadi al Kaya Executive sales manager, Qvest media Adopting a new technology is always a challenge. It involves unlearning the old techniques and learning new ones, which in turn is time-consuming. Yet it is critical to the growth of a company especially now when so many tools are available to improve workflows and manage your data properly. Roadshows and customer engagement programmes go a long way in educating and informing the customer about new developments. At times, just to reinforce a technology, the manufacturer brings them here to the customer to explain the relevance specific to the region. The LDX and GV Director hold huge potential. Grass Valley is an established brand name and events such as these roadshows reiterate its position in the market.

Zaid Wattar Managing director, aV Solutions Events such as this one, are a good way to educate customers to introduce the latest innovations and technologies adopted by the manufacturer. I think it’s very useful to familiarise ourselves with the new technology. Grass Valley’s product range offers a wide range of products that take care of every aspect of a broadcast workflow. Also, the fact that these can be upgraded in time adds to the product’s asset value for the end user. Informing and engaging the customers is an essential Grass Valley’s discovery part of introducing new session in progress. technologies. There was a time when Grass Valley’s technical support was not up to the mark but things are changing for the better now. With such initiatives, it will only improve. As the products have already been introduced at NAB, I had a basic understanding of them, but being reintroduced Said Bacho and Didier to them at a local event Gault at the seminar. is very helpful. At exhibitions, there are too many people and too little time to get hold of a particular technology. We can ask questions more freely as the event is dedicated to these technologies and experts are at hand to clarify our doubts. Local events are always welcome.

tariq raja Managing Partner, tek Signals I am here today to support the event and to brush up on my knowledge of the products. We have worked very closely with Grass Valley as its distributors and have remained loyal to the brand despite the ups and downs the company has seen in the past. It is reassuring to know that the company’s top management is reaching out to the end user to keep them informed about the latest products and innovations. As the company is moving ahead, it is taking its customers along. The local office in Dubai is a huge support for us as Grass Valley distributors because it opens a two-way communication channel between the customer and the manufacturer. It was announced that the company will be adding broadcast and IT staff alongside sales personnel. We see this decision as a big impetus for our association with the brand. It also goes to show the company’s commitment to the region. I would like to add here that with Said Bacho and Tim Thorssteinson at the helm of Grass Valley, the company is in good hands as they are both very effective leaders with proven track records.

GhaSSan alaSad Managing Partner, Creative Media Solutions Our association with Grass Valley goes back many years. The LDX cameras are the Rolls Royce of cameras. I would like more such initiatives where the customer and manufacture come together to discuss on an open platform. Their announcement to add more personnel to their presales and sales departments shows that they are interested in the region. As a customer, it is reassuring to know that the manufacturer is trying and reaching out to build the relationship. It is a welcome move. Local events are better focused on local requirements and the manufacturer can give solutions that are most suited to the region’s demand. In any business, building relationships is as important as providing a good product or solution. Their announcement to expand the Middle East operations reiterates their commitment to the region.

July 2013 | |



PSS Dubai Professional Seminar Series, held in Doha and Dubai last month, saw a good turnout of technical experts from the region. BroadcastPro ME attended the Dubai segment to bring you the details This year’s edition of the annual Professional Seminar Series (PSS) concluded in Dubai last month with a good turnout of broadcast professionals. The all-day seminar was conducted in collaborative partnership by Axon, Dolby, Ericsson, Soundfield and Tektronix. The speakers addressed issues and challenges faced in broadcast and content distribution and discussed the evolution of television broadcasting. The interactive session saw a convergence of more than 75 professionals representing the UAE’s leading broadcasters, system integrators and telcos including Etisalat, du, MBC, BFE, Tek Signals, Dubai TV, twofour54, ADM, LIVE and Media Group International. Pieter Schillebeeckx from Soundfield spoke Mark about surround Barkey. sound capture and delivery, and how it is relevant to the region and beyond. Antoni Caceres of Tektronix discussed the launch of IPTV services and the challenges facing quality of experience.

Ericsson’s Luke Williams spoke about 4K TV with special reference to sports. Marc Derks of Axon shed light on the latest AVB technology and the end of SDI while Dolby’s Jacob Smith spoke about loudness. Mark Barkey, Regional Sales Manager at Axon, who has been associated with the seminar since its inception three years ago, said: “The event is growing with every edition and now it needs to venture out to more locations. It warrants to go to Abu Dhabi and other regions such as Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. “These seminars provide a platform for professionals to interact with like-minded people and to hear from the experts. Where Dolby stops Soundfield picks up followed by Ericsson and Tektronics and Axon is somewhere in between. “The five companies represented here complement each other perfectly to complete the broadcast chain and the topics discussed give an overview of the entire broadcast ecosystem. “Next year, we hope to collaborate with more manufacturers to make it even more comprehensive.” He added that the event will see more players from the cloud domain and, perhaps, cabling too next year.

50 | | July 2013

PIETER SchIllEbEEckx, Product Manager, Soundfield The idea of PSS is to share our knowledge with the market, it is not about products but focuses purely on the technology. I have been conducting talks from Soundfield for over 12 years now and see a palpable difference on how the technology has progressed in the past decade. When I first joined Soundfield, it was in a very rudimentary state. Broadcasters nowhere in the world were ready for it. The scenario is quite different now and there is growing interest in the technology. The interest in surround sound has picked up in this region as well and the Middle East seems ready for it now. We began with music recording but now focus more on live broadcast capture, and I believe that’s where the future of surround sound capture lies. Sports drives any technology in broadcast and surround sound is one of them. It is still very early days for this region but we see it coming very soon. Sports and live shows is where the future and growth of surround sound lies. We are now more proactive in the region. For broadcasters who want to produce using this technology we help them with the set-up to show it is not complicated. Our installation for DMI’s coverage of Dubai Tennis was a big breakthrough. Al Kass trial with Emir Cup has been completed and we are refocussing on looking at doing some cricket with Ten Sports. Bahrain and Oman are the other territories in the region, which are of big interest to us. We are seeding the market at the moment and hope to see results in the coming years.










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MARc DERkS Regional Sales Director, Axon We do these seminars in many places to educate the market about our technology. Our previous one in Moscow was a huge success and then in Doha, which also saw a great turnout. Through PSS, we give companies a platform to communicate with the engineers and technical experts on the ground about new technologies. We bring the experts deploying solutions to those using it at the same platform to discuss what’s on offer and how it can be employed to suit their requirements. Last year, we discussed aspect ratio and conversion and the problems associated with that. Axon’s focus at this year’s PSS was AVB technology and how video over IP networks works. The technology is still new to the region, nevertheless it is relevant because that’s where the future is leading to. Our topics may or may not be region specific but give an overview of what’s happening globally on the technology front, because the idea of this platform is to share knowledge and prepare the market for the future.

BRuNO SchMEtz Regional Sales Director, Solution Area Media, Ericsson We at Ericsson talked about how the industry will move forward in terms of strategy and major choices for ultra HD and HEVC new compression systems and 4K. PSS has grown in the last three years as a major technology event in the region as it provides an excellent platform for exchanging ideas and learning from the very best in the industry. We skipped the commercial aspect and concentrated on technologies that are shaping the broadcast industry today. The global trend is now increasingly focused on 4K, which is the next big thing to come. We expect this technology to gain traction. The beginning of the workflow in 4K is ready but there are missing links, which will be fixed in time. The upcoming World Cup and Olympics 2016 will see more of 4K broadcast.

ANtONI cAcERES, Applications Engineer, tektronix The amount of content to check is growing, hence theEhenderi importance volenim quia of quality control instruments andet, nessit et lis eum, techniques. With growing interest in multiscreen delivery and content being made available on Android, iPhones, tablet, Amazon, YouTube and so on, the amount that needs to be checked is growing too. For every transmission in multiscreen, we need to check different versions of it. Our main topics of discussion at PSS were IPTV and encoding quality. When IPTV operators receive channels, and send them on IP networks, there are specific challenges like network jitter and packet loss that need to be altered. There is a lot of focus on HEVC as it is the technology of the future with the potential to unleash tremendous opportunities and revolutionising the way we view TV today.

JAcOB SMIth, Broadcast Systems Engineer, Dolby Dolby is an ingredient brand, we don’t sell anything here but support our partners – telcos and broadcasters who use our technology. The PSS is a platform to share the knowledge we have. At the seminar we work with the entire ecosystem and address the issues at every step of the chain. The issues each broadcaster faces are different and a platform like this gives us an opportunity to discuss the problems and brainstorm solutions to counter them. Adoption of Dolby Digital Plus, our current codec is on the cards. It is expected to become a standard in the region. Things are moving in the right direction and we have seen some success in that area. Dolby is a brand neutral company and PSS gives us that neutrality.

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PROSeMiNaR Steve HaliS, independent Broadcast Consultant There’s multiscreen on everyone’s mind. I don’t see 4K becoming mainstream any time soon, rather there is a proliferation of multiscreens and manufacturers need to take heed of that. Manufacturers are pushing it to the bigger screens for cinemas and entertainment sports in hotels but I doubt, if we really are ready for 4K in homes. 4K for every subscriber is a long way considering the huge costs involved. The cost of delivering the bandwidth to deliver the content, satellite delivery, set-topboxes, each step of the switch involves massive costs. Overall, it was a very informative seminar with a lot of relevant information being shared. I have been attending PSS since its first edition three years ago and I find it progressing every year. It is a great networking platform.

v. Jaya KuMaR Manager, Broadcast Playout Systems technology, du du is a customer-driven company and we provide what the customer wants. Our IPTV partners were here to attend the seminar; there were a lot of relevant issues being discussed. We are supporting loudness standards through our teleport, and that’s what brings me here – to learn what’s new in the market today. Loudness control is not a defacto standard in this region yet but we have been supporting loudness control for a long time because our customers are not limited to this region. Loudness is not just about quality but also gives a competitive edge. Ericsson’s talk about 4K was quite interesting. The technology is attracting a lot of attention but we are still a long way from transmitting 4K over satellite. The procedure will involve a huge amount of investment in terms of time and of money. The region is still struggling with bandwidth availablity for HD. HD is still not widespread with10 -20% penetration in the region.

aBDul GHaNi Sales Manager, Middle east, argosy The session was extremely useful. I had a chance to attend the Doha edition also. It is a networking platform besides providing an opportunity for sharing knowledge and information. It’s a good way to keep up to date with the market trends and see where technology is progressing. The segments delivered by Tektronix and Ericsson were superb. TSL is of special interest to us as they are our partners; we have their stocks locally available at our office in Dubai to help all systems integrators for urgent needs.

DaviD CaStle, Middle east Regional Sales Manager, editShare I feel there is far too much focus on connected TV whereas the manufacturers and innovators should concentrate more on multiscreen delivery. iPads and tablets is where the future of broadcast lies. It is also important to learn what the end user has to say. Youngsters should be asked what they would like. They are the ones who use technology the most.

July 2013 | |


PROINTERVIEW “The traditional SMS services have generated so much money for the telcos but there’s been a significant shift in the way content is consumed today. They need to make that business shift” Sebastien Marteau, Vice President, Intigral

and build services. In this way, we work with multiple content providers for different services spanning news, women’s services, kids, family, games, music, entertainment and music to cover the entire spectrum of programming. What was your perception of this region when you first came here? The Middle East is a very young market and what is really encouraging is the appetite for our kind of services. With a large chunk of the population being below 30 years, the level of consumption is very high and the engagement is very interesting here. Saudi Arabia is the second biggest market for YouTube consumption per capita. One sees similar trends with the social networks as well. It’s a very unique market. What are the challenges you faced when you came here? We had to work on improving the infrastructure. Then, working with telco

operators is a challenge by itself. The operators here don’t really understand the value they can get from content. They look at the content business as a revenue generation centre. What they don’t understand is the type of differentiation you can make with content and how that can impact on consumption and customer satisfaction. They are very advanced in terms of market segmentation, nationalities, preferences and so on but they forget that content can be a big add on. For instance, we have so many expats here and they are so eager to consume content from their own countries and operators must exploit this. So for instance, if you offer the right cricket service to blue collar workers, who have access to entertainment primarily on their mobile phone that opens up a whole revenue stream for you. This would be a huge differential factor if they would see it. Tell us a bit about the SMS versus communication apps debate?

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There are two aspects here. One, we see that today more messages are exchanged on Whatsapp than on SMS. This is really one of the big challenges for the operator today. The traditional SMS services have generated so much money for the telcos but there’s been a significant shift in the way content is consumed today. They need to make that business shift. The overall mobile industry has been based on the GSM standard traditionally but users today want to share videos, pictures and music, which can only be achieved if the operators deploy solutions to cater to these. That’s why Whatsapp is turning into a global standard. The mobile industry is evolving at a speed that society has never witnessed before. So on the one hand, you see that communication apps that can offer more features such as allowing you to share videos, pictures and so on, free of charge and across the globe are gaining significance over traditional SMS. The second aspect is the social aspect. If you look at this generation of digital natives i.e. those born with an iPad or iPhone, for them, connectivity is a given and the use of social messaging tools is a part of their daily lives. This generation seems to favour the one-to-many approach of Facebook and Twitter rather than the traditional one-to-one method of SMS. The one-to-many approach seems to offer more values such as sharing one’s status, seeing friends reacting and so on. Telcos who don’t make these components part of their regular service are in serious trouble. How can telcos address the threat from apps such as Whatsapp? It is clearly a technical disruption; they need to adapt to it. In some markets, the telcos are offering zero charge for the use of SMS as part of their mobile package. They could also potentially consider a partnership with Whatsapp or Skype where the operator markets Whastapp as part of its package with zero data charges on the service. It could be part of your differentiaion factor if you partner with them and helps you to build loyalty with customers. The value of this messaging application, however, is scale and volume and this is where telcos have reason to worry. Apps like Whatsapp are universal so instantly, they become very attractive while local telcos are limited to offering services that are limited to the local market.

PROINTERVIEW What, according to you, are the three big communication apps? On the social messaging side, there is BBM, iMessenger, Whatsapp, and also, Viber and Skype. You recently built an app for the Saudi Football Championships? Yes, we did. It is called Dawri Plus and was launched about three months ago. It’s actually a live streaming service for the Saudi Premiere League games. Users can watch the games live on their mobiles and they can access older games for the season; DVD-type features; timeline of all the major events; access to real-time statistics around the players and teams such as shots on targets, passes, possession, lineups, cards, substitutions and so on; and social networking. Any service you bring today must have the social networking component in that service so this has been incorporated as well. Currently, we are in the first stage of marketing it. We have seen some very good usage. We have seen people stay for nearly 40 minutes on the website at one time. It is very interesting to see the usage both on the website and the application which shows that people are consuming long-form video content even on the smartphone. We also had about 5000 “consecutive” users on the website. Would you consider charging for your app in the future? We might go into a solution where if you want to watch Dawri Plus, you will pay some sort of fee. The app can be bundled as a co-offering to make the most of the offering. We offer a lot of applications in Arabic on our app store. I believe you are working on a new portal for STC as well? Yes, we are bringing a completely new thing called STC mode. This is the model, where you can access any type of content in a very structured and new way in terms of user experience. What we are doing on STC mode is all the type of content that you could imagine from news, women, mobile ads, from Islamic services, game services and a lot of education services. It is a completely new way to consume content. We are also bringing a sports vertical, which is very important. With this, you can

“It is very interesting to see the usage both on the website and the application which shows that people are consuming long-form video content even on the smartphone.” Sebastien Marteau, Vice President, Intigral

access the service on any device. We have reworked the design and the interface so people find it more attractive. For us, this is one of the big developments we have at the moment. What is Intigral’s vision for the mobile division? Our main work as Intigral is to develop

the ecosystem in the right way, to make it grow and to offer more capabilities to third parties. Our objective is to create ways to monetise content so innovation is happening especially where Arabic content is concerned. It is important to find new routes to make this content available to audiences through telco partners and we are doing this. PRO

July 2013 | |


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ArGoSy BrinGS HiGH DenSity connectiVity Cable and connector specialist Argosy introduced high density connectivity products at BroadcastAsia. To meet the challenge of higher equipment density, Argosy is now supplying the Amphenol HD-BNC connector, giving a 400% improvement in packing density. Modern digital and electronic design has enabled complex broadcast products to be realised in ever-smaller devices. The advantages are obvious in terms of reduced rack requirements, which leads to smaller machine rooms and less air-conditioning. The challenge is to provide secure and highly reliable connections in this reduced space. This is particularly the case for modern, high capacity compact routers. To meet this challenge, connector specialist Amphenol has taken the classic design of the 75Ω BNC and reduced it in physical size. The HD-BNC — HD for high density in this context — provides the same secure connection and maintains the exacting standards for HD-SDI return loss, but in a size which allows 8mm fixing centres, rather than the 15.9mm (.625”) centres of the original. The result is an increase in density of connectors of 400%.

more tHAn 51,000 AttenDeeS At BroADcAStASiA 2013 BroadcastAsia held in conjunction with CommunicAsia and EnterpriseIT closed after a week of fulfilling business interactions and knowledge exchange amongst industry professionals last month. The four-day event, held from 18 to 21 June at the Marina Bay Sands, saw more than 51,000 attendees from 100 countries/regions throng the exhibition halls and conference suites. “The shows have done extremely well this year. Attendees, including exhibitors, conference speakers and delegates, as well as members of the press, have expressed fulfillment with what they were able to achieve this year. For us, this is testament to the success of the

shows,” said Stephen Tan, Chief Executive of Singapore Exhibition Services, the organiser of the exhibitions. “By holding all the shows under one roof, we could leverage the increasing convergence of technologies across both sectors, and still have each show maintain its own appeal.” Ultra HD (or 4K) was the buzz word at BroadcastAsis2013, where various aspects of the entire 4K ecosystem, from cameras to production, and from post-production to content delivery technology were underlined. In addition to showcasing the latest products, the exhibition hosted talks and conferences that discussed the growth of the industry. The exhibitions will return to the Marina Bay Sands from 17 – 20 June 2014.

Pixelmetrix KonnectS Pixelmetrix, an innovator for professional video and television solutions, rolled out Konnect, its iP-based video distribution system, at BroadcastAsia. Konnect is ideal for corporate, government military and campus applications. capable of full HD resolution, Konnect enables administrators to route any video to any screen in the facility via straightforward drag-and-drop Html5 GUi. central administrators also have a choice to allow or disallow local control of each screen. Being fully iP-based effectively eliminates the expense, hassle and inflexibility of traditional patch-panel based distribution systems. Danny Wilson, President and ceo of Pixelmetrix said: “With Konnect, we now apply our considerable expertise in quality management for television distribution to the problem of distribution itself. With full HD support, it surpasses the limited quality and flexibility of cctV systems, while avoiding the expense and complexity of traditional iPtV systems. the idea is that Konnect empowers our customers to maintain both local and central control.”

triVeni DiGitAl WiDenS itS ScoPe Triveni Digital demonstrated its range of StreamScope real-time DTV transport stream monitors and analysers at BroadcastAsia. New to the show were the StreamScope Portal and StreamScope MT-40P, two portable MPEG analysis tools that ensure superior quality of service for television viewers. StreamScope MT-40 Video Quality Assurance offers complete DTV stream analysis, including support for RF, ASI, and DVB card options, as well as GigE input for PCR analysis, from a portable chassis.

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eyeHeIgHT’s log legalIser Eyeheight’s LE-2M-K logging legaliser made its South East Asia market debut at BroadcastAsia. Eyeheight demonstrated the LE-2M-K’s ability to maintain a timed log of every non-compliant video or audio event requiring correction in the course of a 24-hour transmission schedule. This enables broadcasters to archive a record of as-run conformance data in countries where government legislation or transmission authority regulations make this compulsory. Each action is logged complete with its linear timecode identifier. Video legalisation and loudness correction timelines can also be monitored on-screen. The LE-2M-K incorporates Eyeheight’s unique clobberRing automatic luma overshoot and undershoot suppression together with luma and chroma gain, black level adjustment, hue rotation, adjustable clipping levels and soft-clipping-knee levels. An ‘out-of-gamut’ indication feed displays overshoot or undershoot severity and shows the user where on the picture any signal correction is being performed.

vIsIon researcH expands pHanTom mIro Vision Research, a manufacturer of digital high speed imaging systems, is expanding its line of Phantom Miro cameras to include a ruggedised body style. The Phantom Miro R-series, the third member of the Phantom Miro family, is targeted at applications in harsh environments where the camera must survive high shock and vibration as well as a broad range of operating temperatures. The Miro R-series is offered in the same four performance levels available in the other Miro body styles—110, 310, 120 and 320S “Our new Miro R-series gives customers another choice in camera body style, expanding the number of applications for the camera family,” said Rick Robinson, Marketing Director at Vision Research. “The R-series is targeted specifically towards those that need a ruggedised camera to withstand severe environmental conditions” The Miro R-series is designed for applications such as automotive crash tests, high-speed sleds and explosives research. As with the other Miro models, the R-series has an external rechargeable battery (BP-U30 only) and the popular CineFlash non-volatile data storage system. It includes flexible tools for both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

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speedcasT gaIns wITH newTec Satellite communications specialist Newtec and Asian satellite service provider SpeedCast have announced the results of an intensive trial of Newtec’s latest S2 extensions and Clean Channel Technology. In the trial results, the combination of the two technologies boosted performance and achieved substantial efficiency gains. The technologies trialled are all incorporated in the Newtec MDM6000 satellite modem, which despite being able to handle up to 380 Mbps bi-directionally, can also operate at much lower rates as required for multi-carrier applications. Newtec’s long-term customer SpeedCast, is a global network and satellite communications service provider, offering network services in over 50 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. “We are always looking to add value for our customers – one way of achieving this is by adopting highly efficient technology to offer them the greatest value for money,” said Pierre-Jean Beylier, CEO, SpeedCast. “We are very pleased with the gains demonstrated by Newtec, especially while also transmitting at lower rates of a few megabits/ sec. We look forward to expanding the use of S2 extensions to offer significantly improved performance and efficiency for our customers.” Newtec has taken the lead and teamed up with other DVB members to define and develop the updates to the DVB-S2 standard, currently named S2 extensions. When comparing the current DVB-S2 standard against the full implementation of S2 extensions, efficiency gains of up to 37% can be achieved.

InvIew reveals THe FUTUre Inview, the over the top (OTT) solutions specialist, launched its fully functional low cost SmartTV ecosystem with OTT functionality into the Asian market at BroadcastAsia. Inview’s Liberator revealed for the first time in Asia, combines cloud delivery of OTT services with lightweight software that can be deployed on a wide range of hardware platforms. The product is completely scalable without incurring additional cost — from basic set-topbox (STB) functionality to advanced DVR. As well as a core of cloud OTT services, including VOD, social media and a ready-togo apps library, Liberator has a user interface (UI) and back office management system that can be completely customised. This allows for user profiling and recommended content functionality, which can ultimately help the operator introduce targeted advertising, bringing in an additional revenue stream. Multi-screen functionality within the solution will be demonstrated at the event, bringing a unified viewing experience for users across all platforms.

eTl sysTems’ dIsplay British-based global designer and manufacturer of RF distribution equipment, ETL Systems, showcased new technology at CommunicAsia – some of which is already being used in the region’s latest and most advanced projects. ETL is recognised internationally for superior quality and a very personal one-to-one service offering. The company’s award-winning designs benefit from a quarter of a century of experience in the RF distribution sector, with all new products and innovations being developed and built by its growing team of R&D experts in the UK.


dalet’s mam-driven solutions Dalet Digital Media Systems, a provider of media asset management (MAM) solutions, software and services for content producers, showcased Dalet Galaxy at BroadcastAsia. Dalet Galaxy is a new MAM platform with the latest versions of Dalet workflow solutions for news, programme preparation, production asset management, archiving, sports and radio. Dalet also featured several new product modules including the Dalet Onecut multimedia editor, the Dalet On-the-Go mobile app, and the Dalet Cube graphics suite. “Broadcast Asia is a very important venue for us. It’s where the regional content providers come to find cost-effective technology solutions that help streamline workflows and make it easier for users to perform their tasks more efficiently,” said Tomer Azenkot, General Manager, Asia Pacific, Dalet.

ip Consoles from axia Axia displayed its full line of broadcast consoles at Global Broadcast Supply stand. The Axia line of connected broadcast consoles consists of five different models in 16 different sizes, with features that match the needs of virtually any studio: Element, iQ, Radius, DESQ, RAQ. More than 4,500 broadcast studios are on-air using Axia Livewire technology; more than 50,000 connected devices, such as codecs, audio processors, phone systems, and digital delivery systems, are in the field.

Canon in super telephoto mode Canon Middle East has added a new category to its range of high-performance super-telephoto lenses. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM extender 1.4x features a flexible 200-400mm focal range with a fixed f/4 aperture, 4-stop optical image stabiliser and for the first time in a commercially available lens, a built-in 1.4x extender. These features combine to provide a lens for professional sports or wildlife photographers. A robust magnesium alloy design, environmental protection and specialised lens coatings also make it ideal for mobile use, combining with quality optics to deliver exceptional results, even in the harshest conditions. The reach of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM extender 1.4x is boosted by its internal 1.4x extender, which is engaged or disengaged at the flick of a lever to provide an extended focal length of 280mm to 560mm — allowing photographers to get even closer to distant action. Ensuring the highest image performance, the optical design includes both fluorite and Ultra-low dispersion (UD) lens elements, which help minimise chromatic aberration and eliminate colour blurring. Advanced anti-reflection sub-wavelength structure coating (SWC) and super spectra coating also reduce ghosting and flare. Thanks to the use of the latest optical technologies, image performance is unaffected when the integrated extender is used. Designed to answer professional demands for superior image quality and versatile zoom range, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x a boasts a premium-quality design befitting Canon’s industry-renowned L-series lenses.

digital vision’s image teChnology Digital Vision presented enhancements to the Nucoda colour grading product line, the latest version of Phoenix restoration software and the Golden Eye III archive scanner. In addition, for the first time in the Asia Pacific region, the company unveiled Thor, the forthcoming dedicated hardware product for advanced image processing. Kelvin Bolah, Managing Director, Digital Vision said: “We’re pleased to bring our latest product developments to Broadcast Asia, and to demonstrate many of our new technologies and features for the first time in the Asia Pacific region. We are particularly excited to present Thor, which garnered enthusiastic feedback at NAB.” Thor will be suitable for video and file-based sources, and will initially be able to process up to four HD video streams in real time, or one stream of 4K in real time, producing high quality images initially using Digital Vision‘s DVO tools. It can be deployed as multiple cards in a single system and will be able to switch between algorithms on the fly. It is designed to be platform independent.

integrated toolbox from hbbtv power trio Three market-dominant HbbTV technology vendors combined their knowledge and products to present a powerful new HbbTV toolbox for broadcasters at BroadcastAsia. The partnership between Screen, Icareus and has, according to Screen’s Head of Interactive Sales Daimon Hall, produced one of the most comprehensive solutions available

to broadcasters to monetise content via HbbTV platforms. “The HbbTV Toolbox, which can be hosted in the cloud or locally installed, integrates with the delivery of video feeds into an HbbTV environment to provide multiple options for how a TV programme is viewed; that includes second screen devices and the web too,” he stated. The toolbox enables broadcasters to add a

vast scope of additional services to content which consequently opens up extensive opportunities for supplementary revenue generation. In addition to extended viewing options such as providing racing data and football results, the HbbTV Toolbox facilitates the simple placement and management of services like interactive advertising, EPG banner advertising and branded or even seasonal themes.

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LiNeAr AcouStic’S iNteLLigeNt dyNAmicS

SoNy oN the ShouLder Sony announced its PMW-300 XDCAM camcorder, equipped with the 1/2-type Exmor full-HD 3CMOS sensors, capable of delivering quality images even in low-light conditions. The PMW-300 is aimed at broadcast producers and corporate event camera operators, who require a flexible semi-shoulder camcorder that can easily be adapted to suit a wide range of production environments. An evolution of Sony’s PMW-EX3, the PMW300 is able to record 50Mbps HD material in MPEG HD422, meeting broadcast standards around the world, including the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) requirements on HD broadcast acquisition for long form programme making. The high bit rate ensures excellent capture of fast moving objects, while its chroma sub-sampling feature is perfect for a wide range of video encoding areas such as VFX and green screen applications. The camcorder can also be upgraded in the future to support Sony’s XAVC codec, extending the lifecycle of the product to ensure maximum return on investment. The 1/2-type Exmor full-HD 3CMOS sensors offer highlight sensitivity and low image noise. As a consequence, it delivers clear high-resolution images even when filming in low-light conditions. The camcorder also includes Sony’s advanced signal processing technology, which suppresses noise effectively and thus creates noticeably clearer images. The PMW-300 features the same EX-mount interchangeable lens system as the PMW-EX3, making it compatible with a wide range of 1/2 inch and 2/3 inch lenses. There are two types of lens packages planned to be available for the PMW-300. One is with a 14 times zoom lens, and the other is with a 16 times zoom lens. Both lenses have a focus ring for quick switching between auto and manual focus.

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Linear Acoustic demonstrated its patented Intelligent Dynamics hybrid metadata processing at BroadcastAsia. An integral part of the company’s AERO.1000 audio/loudness platform and AERO.2000 audio/loudness manager, Intelligent Dynamics allows the content itself to determine the amount of processing needed and is non-codec dependent. Trusted, well-produced content can be left untouched, while unverified programming can still be well-controlled to ensure compliance. Broadcasters can even choose to make their processing partially or completely reversible, allowing viewers to tailor the audio to their liking. Also at the show were the recently introduced AERO.2000 audio/loudness manager. Offering AEROMAX loudness control, UPMAX II upmixing, and optional Dolby encoding/decoding, AERO.2000 supports up to 16 channels of audio in two independent instances (5.1+2+Local and 2+2+Local) providing a high degree of programme flexibility. An ITU-R BS.1770-3 loudness meter is included for all programmes.

New Avid S3L Avid has introduced the new Avid S3L, which delivers the sound quality, performance, and features of Avid live systems in an all-new modular, networked design. The open and flexible system comprises high-performance HDX-powered mix engine running VENUE software and AAX DSP plug-ins, scalable remote I/O, a compact EUCON-enabled control surface, and Pro Tools software for integrated live sound mixing and recording. For artists and musicians, S3L delivers the audio clarity and familiar studio processing they need. For engineers, having a high-performance engine at the core empowers them to create richly layered mixes quickly and champion their clients’ signature sounds, without worrying about technical limitations. The streamlined networked design simplifies system setup and configuration with drag-and-drop functionality, while direct Pro Tools recording and mixing capabilities open opportunities for live album releases.

roSS’ New viSioN Vision Tritium offers a full 3MLE modular production switcher with 48 x 32 multi-definition inputs and outputs, six real 3D DVE’s, 16 channels of internal media stores, 16 keyers, UltraChrome chroma keys, built in dual head multiviewers, and external device controls. With Vision Tritium, Ross’ customers can own a Vision series modular 3MLE panel with a choice of 24 or 32 direct access crosspoint buttons. Vision’s AuxKeys, colour correction and MultiDSK are included in Tritium’s extensive feature set and is fully compatible with standard Vision Octane options. Tritium also offers the ability to convert to a full Vision Octane 3G system as production needs change. Nigel Spratling, Switcher Business Development Manager, Ross Video said: “With Tritium there is no basic package – no options necessary, as the system is fully loaded with a powerful feature set. When we introduced Carbonite we reset expectations for cost and performance of 1 and 2MLE systems, and I am convinced Tritium will do the same thing. All the power and modularity of Vision rolled into a truly cost-effective new package.” Tritium comes with all of the Ross protocols for full integration with XPression graphics and BlackStorm playout servers. It also talks to Ross’ DashBoard control system and can provide control of entire productions, as well as build task specific control interfaces via DashBoards’ PanelBuilder application. Tritium is compatible with Ross’ OverDrive automated production control system.

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SecondS with Tristan Ferne, Executive Producer, BBC R&D

Frank Huerta

Do you think broadcasters in general have been slow on the uptake with cloud-based services? If broadcasters have been slow to fully use the cloud, it is because they are concerned about the issues of privacy, trust and security for their content and audience relationship data. Public broadcasters, particularly, need high standards of resilience and reliability. And there’s also the danger of getting locked in to a particular cloud provider. Is it always the most appropriate technology? Where do you see its current limitations? No. There are certainly circumstances where applications will require higher security, higher performance or lower latency, where cloud computing may not be appropriate. Particularly for security and privacy reasons, with personal data or valuable digital assets, for example, organisations will continue to want their own servers in certain geographical locations and completely under their control. How flexible will it be in its applications? Is there any part of the business that you think it won’t touch? ‘The cloud’ is just easily available computing power and storage. So as the

broadcasting business goes increasingly digital then all parts of the business could use the cloud. BBC R&D has an enormous number of diverse projects on the go at the moment, some of which seem quite leftfield from a casual glance. What are the ones that have surprised you? FascinatE [ projects/fascinate] This, when you see it, is amazing. It lets you, the viewer, select any viewpoint from within an ultra-high resolution panaromic view of a sporting event. Recreating the sounds of the Radiophonics Workshop: [http://webaudio.] At first it looks like a cool demo of Doctor Who sound effects. But it’s actually a testbed for the latest web standards and browser technologies for audio, which we are working with browser makers to specify. And it teaches you how to re-create the sounds in code. The World Service archive: [http://] We’re experimenting with putting 50 years of the BBC World Service’s radio archive online, using cloud computing. The sheer variety of programmes in there has surprised me – from bicycles to UFOs to Roger Bannister!

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How cloudy in general do you think the future is for broadcast? I imagine cloud computing will continue to be a cost-effective, scalable and convenient way of processing and storing media. And I believe that processing, storing and distributing media via the internet is the future of broadcast. What other technologies coming down the pipe make you excited? The combination of advances in computer science research and the mass availability of computing power via the cloud will mean more and more clever things happening – machine learning, data mining, trend spotting, object recognition, face detection, text mining. All these will become increasingly common in surprising places.

Tristan Ferne was a speaker at the New Business and Technology Opportunities session on day one of the London Technology Booster. The IBC event was held in London on June 25 and 26. This meta-session looked at how a combination of both on-premises and cloud-based media services can potentially provide innovative platforms for both existing and new markets in broadcasting.

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