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mediacaster broadband & content

September 2008

$5.00

Mont Tremblant welcomes Conference Delegates CCSA Canadian Independent Communications

S T R E A M L I N E • S E RV I C E • S AV I N G S

Rogers Sportsnet 10th Birthday Opens Up New HD Facility

Publication Mail Agreement No. PM40069240


WIDE APPEAL. IT’S LIFE OR DEATH.

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on the cover

Lee Rickwood EDITOR (416) 510-6865 lrickwood@mediacastermagazine.com James A. Cook SENIOR PUBLISHER (416) 510-6871 jcook@mediacastermagazine.com

6 - 8 Canadian Cable Systems Alliance

CCSA C

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Conference and Annual General Meeting

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Anne Miron ART DIRECTOR Gary White PRODUCTION MANAGER (416) 510-6760 Lily Malicdem CUSTOMER SERVICE (416) 442-5600 ext 3547 Cindi Holder CIRCULATION MANAGER (416) 442-5600 ext 3544 Alex Papanou VICE-PRESIDENT Bruce Creighton PRESIDENT EDITORIAL DEADLINE Five weeks before publication date mediacaster is published 4 times a year, serving Canada’s cable and related industries, by Business Information Group.

Feature Report

S1 Successful Track Record,

new HD Facilities

HEAD OFFICE: 12 Concorde Place, Ste 800, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2 Tel: (416) 442-5600; Toll Free: Canada 1-800-2687742; U.S.: 1-800-387-0273 Fax: (416) 510-5140 ISSN 0840-9153 www.mediacastermagazine.com SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Subscriptions in Canada and U.S. $45.95 for one year; foreign $59.95 (U.S. and foreign in U.S. funds). Single copy, $5.00; Directory, $46.95 each. Canadian subscribers must add GST and Provincial tax where necessary. gst registration #809751274RT0001. For reprints call: 416-510-6871 Publications Mail Agreement 40069240. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Circulation Dept. Mediacaster, 800-12 Concorde Place, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2. USPS#016-247. US office of publication: 2424 Niagara Falls Blvd. Niagara Falls, N.Y. 143040357. Periodical Postage Paid at Niagara Falls, NY, USA. 14092. Postmaster send address correction to Mediacaster, P.O. Box 1118, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304. From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: Phone: 1-800-668-2374; Fax: 416442-2191; E-Mail: privacy officer@businessinformationgroup.ca; Mail to: Privacy Officer-Business Information Group, Suite 800-12 Concorde Pl., Toronto, ON Canada M3C 4J2 Copyright © 2008 by Mediacaster® Magazine. All rights reserved. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the Publisher.

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regulars 25 27 30

bits & bytes tools of the trade Canadian Achievers: Sports Jock Here, There & Everywhere

September 2008

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CCSA

Welcome The Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA) is the voice and vision of Canada’s independent cable companies, connecting over 85 independent cable operators and their subscribers with programming and equipment. CCSA ensures clear signals from independent cable operators reach regulators and government. A strong, unified voice has become vital as communications technologies converge.

By

working co-operatively, members from Newfoundland to British Columbia to the Nunavut Territory can remain competitive in all facets of the communications industry and be effectively represented before the CRTC and government. CCSA is a not-for-profit buying group operated by members for members. The membership has grown from a dozen founding

members since CCSA was incorporated in 1993 to more than 85, thanks to the Association’s focus on providing independent operators with streamlining, service and savings.

Streamlining CCSA keeps business simple for independent cable operators at a time when the telecommunications business has never

been more complicated. As services multiply and industry giants battle for market dominance, independent cable operators have to be efficient, informed, flexible and proactive. CCSA makes sure the best programming is coming in and the right message is going out. CCSA equips its members to compete in the highly competitive, constantly evolving phone, internet and television markets.

Service The CCSA buys television programming for its members and administers supply contracts with a sophisticated and costeffective billing system. It has negotiated over 100 contracts with suppliers around the world and managed 130 televisionprogramming services. The Alliance also helps member companies launch new programs and services. As operators expand into digital and

Conference Keynotes Among the informative, engaging and entertaining activities planned for the CCSA Conference, hosted dinners and keynote speeches are often the most memorable. At this year’s event, the CCSA Board of Directors is planning and hosting a dinner evening that will top the rest! That’s because it’s at the top of Mont Tremblant — all guests will be carried up in Gondolas! Following the always sumptuous banquet, the after dinner entertainment also promises to hit new heights, as well-known Canadian performer and comedian Gerry Dee takes charge. Perhaps best known for his run on the hit show Last Comic Standing, where he placed in the top three, Dee is a well-known crowdpleaser who has wowed some major audiences in his career — including The HBO Comedy Arts Festival, and Just For Laughs. His material, delivered with an everyman’s charm, is relatable to anyone who can laugh at the sometimes ridiculous interactions of daily life, at home, with friends, or at work. A big name draw, Dee delivers clean material that, while inoffensive, is still wildly energizing and entertaining. In 2002, Dee became the first Canadian in a quarter century to win the San Francisco International Comedy Competition, the place where Robin Williams and Ellen DeGeneres got their starts. Dee has performed around the world, from Dubai to Los Angeles. As an actor, he has appeared in Trailer Park Boys: The Movie and in the movie Canada Russia 72. Off stage, Dee is a competitive amateur golfer, and was a former Triple A and Junior A hockey coach; he has trained many of Canada’s top minor and pro-

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September 2008

fessional hockey players. He is currently a celebrity reporter for The Score sports network. One of Canada’s Leading Business Writers will present the CCSA Keynote Speech this year — incisive and insightful Diane Francis An Editor-at-Large at The National Post, a bestselling author, and a broadcaster, Francis is an accessible guide through the pitfalls and opportunities facing Canadian companies both at home and on the world stage. “I don’t consider myself a journalist who covers business,” says Diane Francis, “but rather a business person who delivers insight through journalism.” This is an important distinction to make. Anyone can recite the business headlines; only those, like Francis, who possess a thorough understanding of the business world, can make sense of the headlines. She is the author of several bestselling books, including 2008’s Who Owns Canada Now?, which examines the transformation of the Canadian economy in the past generation, and profiles 75 Canadian billionaires, many of whom were not even on the radar a decade ago. Francis is also a Media Fellow with the World Economic Forum, and an advisor to several corporations. She is the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Canada’s largest business school, the Rogers School of Management at Ryerson, and was a Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She writes an article on marketing for the New York Sun, and is a contributor to The Huffington Post.


CCSA Canadian Independent Communications

SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2008

S T R E A M L I N E • S E RV I C E • S AV I N G S

CCSA Conference & Annual Meeting PROGRAM AND AGENDA* SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2008 2:00PM - 3:00PM Committee Meetings (CCSA Committee Members Only) - Contracts Review - Regulatory - Bulk Purchasing 3:00PM - 4:30PM

Best Practices / Hot Buttons (CCSA Members Only)

4:00PM - 7:00PM

Trade Show Setup

7:00PM - 9:30PM

President’s Reception

Fairmont Tent

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2008 7:00AM - 8:30AM Trade Show Setup 8:00AM - 8:50AM

AGM Meeting with buffet breakfast (CCSA Members Only)

9:00AM - 10:00AM

Board Meeting

9:00AM - 2:00PM

Bulk Purchasing Trade Show with Meeting Area and Informal Lunch

Mali I, II, III - Main Floor

2:00PM - 4:30PM

Presentations: I: Diane Francis: Who owns Canada? II: Michel Arpin, Vice Chair, Broadcasting, CRTC III: CTAM Panel - (Transition to digital - like it or not)

Kami/Sasse/Joseph - 2nd Floor

6:00PM - 7:00PM

CRTC Reception (CCSA Members Only) The Summit (Informal mixer with CRTC Chair, Commissioners and staff)

7:00PM - 11:00PM

Dinner Hosted by the Board of Directors

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2008 Golf day Le Mâitre de Mont-Tremblant 8:00AM to 5:00PM 8:00AM - 9:00AM Pre-golf Breakfast 9:00AM - 2:00PM Golf at Le Maître Golf Course 2:00PM - 5:00PM Golf Reception 4:00PM Awards

Mali IV

The Summit

Spa Day Le Scandinave Spa, Mont-Tremblant 9:00AM to 4:00PM 9:00AM Breakfast Light Lunch Selected Spa Services

*Draft program provided August 22, 2008.

FA I R M O N T T R E M L A N T 3045 C H E M I N D E L A C H A P E L L E

September 2008

M O N T T R E M B L A N T, Q C

J8E 1E1

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CCSA high-definition television, high-speed internet, video-on-demand and voiceover-internet, CCSA is there to make the bulk purchases of hardware and services. Representatives in Ottawa convey the Alliance’s message on both broadcast and telecommunications issues to the CRTC and lobby governments on key issues.

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September 2008

Counsel on copyright issues is available on demand.

Member Services CCSA leverages the collective buying power of Canada’s independent cable companies to deliver streamlining, service and savings in the following:

• Television Program Purchasing: Y Participation in the collective negotiation of signal supply agreements. Y Access to completed Master Affiliate Agreements. Y Hardware & Services Purchasing: Y Cost savings on hardware products through partnership with strategic vendors and leveraging member buying power. • Cost-Effective Billing Services: Y Ease of reporting, payment and record keeping by participating in CCSA’s Single vPoint Billing System. Members pay for purchased programming services through monthly pre-authorized payment. • Efficient Contract Administration Y CCSA manages all contract negotiations, administration and renewals on behalf of members. Y Members also receive assistance with both digital and analog launches. • Co-operative Marketing Initiatives Y Access to cost effective co-operative marketing products and services on both a national and regional basis. Y Timely Industry Representation Y CCSA makes representations to regulatory bodies on matters which commercially impact Members. • Additional Services: Y Group purchase of industry publications and resource materials. Y Members receive the “CCSA Insider” newsletter which provides regular updates on industry issues and the status of all contract negotiations. Y CCSA provides information bulletins, as required, to assist operators in dealing with current and immediate commercial issues. Y Opportunity to participate in CCSA’s Annual General Meeting and regional gatherings. The AGM is held each September and provides an opportunity for members to learn about what’s hot from industry experts and to exchange experiences with other members.


Spyder, a 25 metre wide projection screen, dominates the new Rogers facility - but Doug Beeforth is in charge.

Successful Track Record,

new HD Facilities

But Always ‘More to Come’ at Sportsnet

As

birthday presents go, this one has got to take the cake. A multi-million dollar, custom-designed, state-of-theart high definition broadcast facility, centrally located in one of North America’s most vibrant media centres. Wow! This sweet treat could be seen as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations for one of the most successful specialty channels — some might say most successful Canadian businesses — of recent memory. But the new Rogers facility — located on the Rogers Campus at One Mount Pleasant in Toronto — had many other reasons for its creation and construction beyond a great birthday party. It fulfills a long standing need at the sports specialty channel to spread its wings, having outgrown its original home, and embrace new broadcast techniques and technologies, including HD and multi-platform program delivery. It fulfills a tremendous need among viewers across Canada — who hunger for more and more high definition sports programming, both from a local and an international perspective, presented in an engaging and informative way.

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And, it opens the door for information and idea exchange among the many operating divisions within the Rogers corporate structure — cable, wireless, media among them — who visit, work, learn and play ‘on Campus’.

On October 9, 2008, the tenth anniversary of the first Sportsnet broadcast will be acknowledged, but very shortly thereafter, you can bet the current Sportsnet team will be back at work. Like the many fans they serve across the country, these folks are fanatical themselves — about sports, about broadcasting, about the new opportunities that high definition and multi-platform content delivery will present over the next ten years! The energy and enthusiasm the Sportsnet staff exudes is only heightened in the new digs. It’s one of the largest facilities of its kind, some 55,000-square-feet, designed to support Rogers Sportsnet’s regional feeds, its HD program delivery, as well as a myriad of other media formats and program delivery options. “We wanted to get [Sportsnet] out of enemy territory,” commented Rogers Media 10 YEARS


President and CEO Tony Viner, referencing the fact that, still seven years after Rogers Media acquired the channel, it was still housed in the shared facilities with former owner CTV (now CTVglobemedia), and competitor TSN. “But we also recognized we needed a new technical platform, as digital and HD are clearly the wave of the future. It made sense then, in more ways than one, to move Sportsnet to another location,” Viner explained. Sportsnet president Doug Beeforth added, “HD is what sports fans expect; this tremendous new facility will enable us to meet those needs, and we’ll be more competitive as a result. Another real benefit that we saw was to end up with a top-notch facility — not just as a broadcaster, but as a content provider — that really makes us leading edge.” What first catches one’s eye walking into this “palace of content” is the Spyder, described as the largest indoor projection screen in Canada. Of course, there are the new production studios, all in high-definition. The largest, designed as a unique, theatre-in-the-round style, that lets cameras can get new creative angles into the 360 degree stage. Catching the eye almost as quickly as the

Rogers Communications President and CEO Ted Rogers (right), with Rogers Media President Tony Viner (middle) and Rogers Sportsnet President Doug Beeforth (left), pictured during opening celebrations at the new Rogers Sportsnet facility. As Viner commented later, “Ted always wanted us to be a showpiece, a demonstration of our brand characteristics, as a leading technology provider, and the embodiment of the excitement of live broadcasting.” Beeforth added that “Ted has always been described as a visionary over the years; well, that’s been proven right again this time, as he has given us everything we need. Not just our current needs, but in this facility, we’re able to deal with undefined needs.” Rogers Vice Chair Phil Lind (not pictured) said of the facility: “Blame Ted for that! He’s a fanatic about engineering excellence, and he’s been driving us to HD more than anybody!”

Spyder are all the edit and viewing workstations, each one aglow from large LCD screens. They are all connected to the heart of the new facility’s production capabilities, the Enterprise sQ server-based production system from Quantel. As implemented at Sportsnet, it includes eight sQ servers with more than a thousand hours of HD storage. There are 84 seats of October 2008

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SPORTSNET TIMELINE Key dates and benchmark achievements in Sportsnet history: 1993 - Rogers partners with CTV, Molson and American cable company Liberty Media to pursue the concept of a regional sports channel

1994 - Application is made for regional sports channel license, working title “S3”, however it is denied

1996 - Second regional sports application is successful, channel name is changed from “S3” to “CTV Sportsnet”

1997 - CTV Sportsnet acquires national NHL cable package

1998 - CTV Sportsnet signs regional broadcast deals with Canadian NHL clubs

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sQ View, where basic cuts and only, lower res segments can be screened and assembled by journalists and on-air staff. There are 14 seats of sQ Edit, where senior editors take over the process, and there are six sQ Edit Plus systems, for the addition of graphics and special effects, as well as two sQ Records and four sQ Plays. “Quantel is a company that understands broadcasting,” said Frank Bruno, Vice President, TV Engineering for Rogers Media. “We opted for the sQ for many reasons — sQ is specifically designed for live broadcasting, with ingest, editing and playout all being achieved in the same box, it’s all HD, and we liked Quantel’s established track record.” The entire system, acquired through Quantel’s Canadian representative BSE Broadcast Systems & Equipment, is described as the second largest in North America after ESPN, and its 6,000 hours of storage. Applied Electronics was a key part of the systems integration team, providing engineering, installa-

The Vault is where Sportsnet stores the over 35,000 tapes it’s collected since 1998. It will soon begin the process of archiving that footage onto a digital server.

tion and logistical services. Among the other key partners in the buildout of the new broadcast facility were Christie Digital, SONY, Harris (Leitch), Ross Video, Calrec, UP Workstations and many more. “We took a little risk, as we wanted to be more cutting edge,” acknowledges Virginia Gibberd, Vice-President, Operations. “But I think that is going to weigh in our favour. It’s not ‘bleeding edge’, as the technology has been implemented before, but with our combination and volume of HD moving through the plant, with the amalgamation of video on desktop network, it is quite a challenge in terms of the cumulative amount of new

10 YEARS


1998 - Channel is launched as “CTV Sportsnet” - October

1999 - CTV Sportsnet airs Memorial Cup for first-time

2000 - CTV Sportsnet launches ctvsportsnet.ca

2000 - After purchase of TSN, CTV is directed to CRTC to divest its’ 40% controlling interest in CTV Sportsnet, which is put in trust for an interim period. Channel is renamed “Sportsnet”

and different technologies.” Gibberd and Bruno have both lived with Sportsnet throughout its life, so they are immersed in not only its technology, but in the business of sports broadcasting. As such, they challenged themselves in trying to create not only the most tech savvy facility around, but one that worked most appropriately for the business at hand.

That business is changing as fast as the technology that supports it. “It leaves me out of breath....” Beeforth says frankly of the changing sports broadcast landscape. “There is a much more appetite for sports. There’s more passion for sports in general, and more for specific genres of content, too. And, there are even more avenues for content distribution — not just traditional broadcast either, but many more platforms in fact. I can’t remember the last time we talked here about being a broadcaster; we are sports content provider.” Sports is a shared activity, and traditional TV has helped to foster that sense of shared experience — albeit, in days past, mostly around the

Sony of Canada would like to congratulate Rogers Sportsnet on 10 years of broadcasting.

©2008 Sony of Canada Ltd. All rights reserved. ®Sony is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation.

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water cooler or at the neighbourhood pub. Now, broadband connectivity, mobile digital devices, interactive and always-on communications have been added to the mix, so sports fan can share, connect, complain or commiserate almost instantaneously, fuelled by their passion and these new platforms, including Web 2.0 trends like social networking and blogging. Blogging is one of the new tools that on-air personalities must now master, as Sports net’s Jamie Campbell points out. He’s another one of “the lifers” who have been with the service since its inception. “I remember thinking that somewhat arrogantly I was the perfect hire when we started,” Campbell laughs now. “I had lived and done four years of anchoring in Edmonton, moved east to work in Ottawa, I understood regionality, I understood what was important to sports fans in the Prairies, in the capital region. Like the station itself, I recognized and understood the value of regional sports, and the importance of the home team.” But both his evolving work assignments, and the technology with which he did that work, was changing. “I had to learn what a blog was; I admit I did not have a clue! But we all knew the value of having a conversation with the viewer, so being able to share in the insights and experiences of the fan is great — no matter what the technology!” “Sports gives us that enhanced social sharing opportunity,” Beeforth agrees. “If it’s not the water cooler, it’s IM (instant messaging). That’s what fits into the sports fans chosen lifestyle these days. It’s forced us from being a TV broadcaster to being a content provider — and you know what, some of that content is our customers’. They have their own comments, they want to connect with our sports personalities, they want to express their passion.

Quantel sQ Edit and sQ Edit Plus suites compliment numerous cuts-only workstations. 10 YEARS


Enterprise sQ Newsbox HD

ROGERS SPORTSNET CONGRATULATIONS ON 10 YEARS AT THE TOP Congratulations to Rogers Sportsnet on its 10th Anniversary. 10 years at the top is a great achievement and we are proud to be playing a part in the future of such a success story. Quantel, BSE and Rogers Sportsnet – sharing the passion

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2001 - Rogers acquires CTV’s 40% stake and assumes management of Sportsnet; unveils new logo and visual ID (July). Renamed, re-branded “Rogers Sportsnet” in November

2002 - Doug Beeforth, an original employee of Sportsnet, is promoted to President

2002 - Rogers Sportsnet televises FIFA Women’s U-19 World Soccer Championship tournament, the final match of which establishes then record audience of 914,000

914,000

2003 - Rogers Sportsnet becomes leader in Canadian sports HD production, televising all Blue Jay home games in HD 2004 - Rogers Sportsnet acquires rights to 2006 FIFA World Cup (February)

There’s so much opportunity as a result, you never get to the point where you say, ‘Yeah, we’re here!’”

How Sportsnet got here, from there, is one of sports broadcasting’s great success stories. Prior to October 9, 1998, there was no Sportsnet in Canada — Rogers or otherwise. There was only one sports specialty channel back then — hard to believe, when today, you could say we have ten or more! But back then, some people felt another sports channel could not be financially supportable, even if it were able to get regulatory approval. “It was more than a risk,” recalls Nick Kypreos, one the many professional athletes who have migrated to sports broadcasting, and one of the Sportsnet originals. “They flat out told us it would never fly! Outside of the people directly involved in it there was a general feeling out there that this thing was going to fail, that there was no room in the country for another all sports channel. We had one already, so the feeling — very mistaken as we know — was that it would not last!” But understanding the difference between national and regional sports, and understanding the incredible passion that fans have for their own, local, team, was key to seeing the value of other, regional, outlets. As Beeforth sees it, however, “It’s very easy to say this now, but from day one I always

believed there was more than enough room for more than one sports channel in Canada. “You look south of the border, they had ESPN national, and then they had a large number of what they called regional sports channels. “It was Phil Lind, the Vice Chair at Rogers, who got the ball rolling.” Phil Lind recalls the importance of the many significant cable partnerships Rogers had in the U.S. throughout the 1990’s, and the fact that regional sports was a big factor in the success of the early FOX Sports. “Friendships and partnerships, that’s what the foundation was built upon. Our partners down there asked us, ‘Why don’t you have a regional sports channel in Canada?’ We thought, ‘It’s worth trying!’” One problem, Lind recalls, was the CRTC, and its rule limiting ownership by cable companies of TV outlets to 19%. “We wanted to own the network, so we had to put a partnership together. “We went to see John (Cassaday, President of CTV). He understood right away, and he was an outstanding performer in our applications. He was leading the charge, and without him, this thing would not have got going! “Cassaday got it right away. Molson’s needed to be convinced a bit, but we knew it was going to work, because we knew how much sports people watch. It was obvious we needed more sports in Canada. So, it wasn’t difficult to convince the investors; it certainly wasn’t

Rogers Sportsnet signs two-year deal with MLB to air playoffs and World Series (April)

Rogers Sportsnet airs 100th live-event in high definition (August)

It’s a construction site, and it’s a TV studio. Together, it is much more than sum of its parts. Virginia Gibberd, VicePresident, Operations (at left) and Frank Bruno, Vice President, TV Engineering (right) for Rogers Media helped steer the new facility’s design, construction and installation. S8

10 YEARS


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Rogers Media acquires 20 percent final stake of Sportsnet from Liberty Media Rogers Sportsnet registers first audience of over one-million with telecast of 2004 ALCS Game #7 (Boston vs. New York): 1.144 million (October)

1,144,000 2005 - The International Olympic Committee awards the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and the 2012 London Summer Games’ broadcasting rights to the CTVRogers consortium (Bell Globemedia and Rogers Media)

Rogers Sportsnet is first Sports broadcaster in North America to deploy a live- to screen SMS chat ticker, and first to deploy SMS Text Message Alerts

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difficult to convince the cable companies. But, at the CRTC, there was a challenge to show that regional sports were different than national sports. So we had to prove that there was an appetite for that kind of sports, based around home team passions and interests. The CRTC had already given a sports licence; they believed they were done, that was it. But we had another vision.” Many discussions, consultations, presentations and applications to the CRTC later, CTV was given the go-ahead for something called Sportsnet. CTV owned 40% and was the managing partner of the new network; Rogers, Molson and Fox owned 20% each. The name was chosen to match the regional “Fox Sports Net” operations across the United States, one of the inspirations for the launch here. Lind noted with some irony that the new network gained immediate credibility before it went on the air by stick handling the NHL Canadian cable package away from long-time holder TSN. “The things that got us launched was a deal with the NHL, which we worked out with Gary Bettman, but ironically that was national!” (From 1998-99 until 2001-02, Sportsnet aired Tuesday Night Hockey nationally, throughout the regular season. It covered firstround playoff series not involving Canadian teams.) “We needed something big to launch our service,” recalls Lind. “Now, we have the regional deals and TSN has the national. That’s the way it should have been from the start!” Well, it is now. In 2008-2009, Rogers Sportsnet will air regional NHL broad-

casts from five Canadian teams including 28-Toronto Maple Leaf games, 40-Ottawa Senator games, 47-Edmonton Oiler games, 46-Calgary Flame games, and 45-Vancouver Canuck games — more NHL games than any other Canadian broadcaster. But, on the day CTV Sportsnet went on the air, its first live sports event was an NHL opening-night double header — one telecast between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers from Madison Square Garden, and the Calgary Flames versus the San Jose Sharks from Japan!

“I can still remember the buzz of activity, trying to get everything done for that deadline,” remembers Rob Faulds, one of the original CTV Sportsnet on-air personalities, and still with the service today. “I was in the office, getting ready to call hockey off a tube from Tokyo; Calgary playing San Jose in our second game. Everyone was running around, doing their prep, getting ready for the 6 o’clock sign-on. The energy was building and building — you could feel it!” The original studios were something like an old hospital operating room. Small, sunken down, surrounded by a viewing level. “We’re gathered around, everyone’s on the balcony, looking down into the studio,” Faulds describes. “And, there’s Suneel (Joshi), who, following the opening animation, said calmly: ‘Welcome, everybody, to the dawn of a new sports era, with Sportsnet!’ “Well, there was a real explosion of applause after the first commercial break...and then we

10 YEARS


all had to go back to work, and do what we were doing. The next day, I left to do curling in Winnipeg!�

That early assignment both typifies the regional sports concept so critical to Sportsnet’s mandate, and even back then, it was a technological teaser of things to come. Sports: anywhere, anytime. “Making video content available to handheld mobile devices is a very fast-growing segment for us,� explains Bruno. “Highlights from a game are edited down in to a time and format that’s required by the carriers. We need to be careful about edits, selective about on screen graphics or titles, and flexible in our ability to down-converted to the right cell phone format. “When you’re looking at HD, for example, it’s 1920 X 1080i,� Bruno details. “But most cell phones are about 240 X 200, so we have to get the resolution, the format and the screen size correct, for any number of platforms, from cell phones to websites,� he notes, adding that some 13 or 14 different formats are regularly output.� Providing content to online or mobile plat-

forms means Sportsnet can extend its brand into the living room or den. It mean Sportsnet can bring value added items, like promotions, contests, coupons and other callsto-action, and build a new business there. It’s one more way the broadcaster becomes a content provider. Whatever the flavour of digital high definition video, Sportsnet has to be able to move it around the new facility quickly and easily. Accordingly, it ordered a new Evertz EQX 576 X 576 router, one that supports signals from 3Mb/s all the way up to 3Gb/s, so it is able to handle the most demanding digital video formats. Production control rooms have been outfitted with Ross Vision Switchers, Ross’ newest line of switchers. “We’ve tried to support the Canadian industry whenever possible,� says Bruno, noting strong products and competitive pricing makes that approach easier. Audio consoles from Calrec Omega bring full 5.1 surround sound capabilities to the full HD video signal. As the audio and video signals emerging from the new facility will be of the highest quality, serving four distinct regional chan-

WE ARE

Sportsnet just would not be Sportsnet without the faces and voices of three of its most well-known on-air team members: Jamie Campbell (top), Rob Faulds (middle) and Nick Kypreos (bottom) who have been with Sportsnet since the beginning.

COMMITMENT *VUNYH[\SH[PVUZ[V9VNLYZ:WVY[ZUL[ VU`V\Y[O(UUP]LYZHY` #/--)4-%.4)3 KLKPJH[PUN`V\YZLSM[V`LHYZVM IYVHKJHZ[PUNPU*HUHKH

October 2008

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2005 - During NHL work stoppage, Rogers Sportsnet registers highest ever audience for a Memorial Cup final: 827,000 viewers for Rimouski vs. London (May)

827,000 2006 - Wireless alerts from Rogers Sportsnet supplement on-air NHL trade deadline coverage (March)

World Baseball Classic airs on Rogers Sportsnet (April)

Applied Electronics and Christie congratulate Rogers Sportsnet on 10 years of dynamic broadcasting. We look forward to the future of high definition sports broadcast innovation.

P L E A S E C O N TA C T YO U R LO C A L A E L R E P R E S E N TAT I V E F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N .

VANCOUVER

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11442 Winterburn Rd. (215 St.) Edmonton, AB, T5S 2Y3

CALGARY

3, 1815-27th Ave. N.E. Calgary, AB, T2E 7E1

TORONTO

5170B Timberlea Blvd. Mississauga, ON, L4W 2S5

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7715, Boul. Henri-Bourassa Ouest St-Laurent, QC, H4S 1P7

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Fax: (604) 439-7210

Fax: (780) 462-8238

Fax: (403) 291-5188

Fax: (905) 625-4333

Fax: (514) 333-1512

www.appliedelectronics.com S12

10 YEARS


Extending the brand across multiple media platforms makes perfect sense for Rogers Sportsnet, with its cable, TV, Internet and wireless properties. But it’s important that the brand extend across physical properties, too, with the sleek and dynamic look established at the new facility.

nels with HD content, Sportsnet has also installed a Harris IconMaster SD and HD master control and branding system, adding critical master control functions with integrated branding capabilities.

Barely two years after Sportsnet’s historic sign-on, its brand was changing. CTV purchased NetStar, the parent company to TSN, and the CRTC told it to sell one or the other to avoid a conflict. CTV chose to sell Sportsnet, and Rogers acquired the channel, renaming it Rogers Sportsnet in November, 2001. Rogers would subsequently acquire the outstanding shares to become sole owner. It was huge news at the time, but in a way, it was overshadowed by news of other Rogers’ acquisitions. In September 2000, Rogers Communications had bought the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and in 2004, it acquired SkyDome, renaming it Rogers Centre. Another sports property, The FAN 590 radio station, joined Rogers Media in August 2001 along with 14 other Northern Ontario radio stations. The series of buys made perfect sports

sense, but the purchases were the result of a happy string of coincidences and opportunistic business acumen, not a careful strategic plan, Lind recalls. “Owning a team was not a part of the vision, but when considering the purchase of the team, it certainly factored in at that point,” he explains. “But no, we didn’t go into the sports channel with the view of owning a team; it was fortuitous, and a sign of the times, and perhaps, it was a sign of things to come in the sports world overall.” Certainly, being able to fill the content pipe with more and more live sports is part of the vision. By 2003, for example, Sportsnet had a huge slate of hoops games from the NBA — over 200, in fact. The channel’s programming deal with the NBA let it air games nationwide, and on its regional feeds. Sportsnet’s national average audience averaged 60,000 viewers per game, according to Neilsen Media Research figures released at the time. In 2004, facing a lack of hockey on anybody’s TV, Rogers Sportsnet was blazing trails with its other sports coverage, especially HD baseball. Sportsnet had by this point produced over 50 games in high definition since it launched Sportsnet HD in September 2003, focused on the home games of the Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors. By August 2004, Sportsnet HD hit the century mark, broadcasting its 100th HD live sports event — the Blue Jays hosting the Boston Red Sox. Having established its bona fides in the dominant North American sports — hockey, baseball, basketball, football, NASCAR — and by offering the Super Sports Pack as an attractive way of bundling them together, the world of international sports was soon being targeted, with good reason and strong precedent, explains Lind. “I always thought one of the great things about Rogers was that we were multicultural from the get go, 30 years October 2008

S13


2006 - Rogers Sportsnet partners with TSN and CTV to provide most comprehensive coverage of FIFA World Cup in history, airing all 64-games in high definition (February)

Rogers Sportsnet registers most watched live event when 1.180 million tune in to see 2006 FIFA World Cup Semi-final featuring Italy vs. Germany (July)

1,180,000 2007 - Sportsnet announces multi-year contract extensions with both Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames

MySportsnet launches; customizable online service from Sportsnet.ca (June)

Sportsnet announces eight-year agreement with Toronto Maple Leafs; becomes Official Broadcaster of Team (September)

Rogers Sportsnet and Setanta Sports announce Canadian version of international sports channel (October)

Sportsnetnews re-branded as Sportsnet Connected (November)

S14

ago with multilingual television,” he says, referencing the family tree that started as MTV/ CFMT at one point, but grew under the Rogers umbrella to become OMNI 1 and 2. “I could see in multicultural programming that, besides news or drama, our audience wanted sports. This was particularly important in our markets in southern Ontario and lower B.C. — so many viewers are not originally from Canada, and they want to see the sports from back home. “Now we get sports from all over the world,” he says with obvious pride and enthusiasm, citing the European football arrangements with Setanta and the English Premier League, as well as rubgy and other international sports. In May 2006, Rogers Communications signed a major multi-platform broadcast agreement with Infront Sports & Media, the worldwide electronic media distribution partner of FIFA and the 2006 World Cup, giving it exclusive rights to live coverage, highlights and more content across multiple platforms. Rogers Sportsnet (together with TSN and CTV), Rogers Wireless, Rogers Personal TV, Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet, and Rogers OMNI Television were involved. Later that year, Rogers Sportsnet, together with TSN and CTV, announced an agreement to jointly televise all 64 games from the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany (Sportsnet had acquired Canadian broadcast rights for the event the previous year). One of the company’s biggest international live sports event coups came in February, 2005, when the International Olympic Committee awarded broadcasting rights to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Olympics to an alliance of CTV Inc. and Rogers Communications. IOC president Jacques Rogge said at the time that the winning bid was $153 million U.S., an increase of 124 per cent on the $73 million for the 2006 and 2008 Games. The deal was significant in a number of ways, and it opened the door to new and, dynamic partnerships in the sports arena, partnerships that could make a competitor on one day, a partner on the next. “It’s a new way of thinking, undoubtedly, but in today’s world, any company that doesn’t think that way does so at their own peril,” explains Beeforth. “I think that what you see in our business is a smaller snapshot of how life in the world is these days. Both in personal life and in business, it is relationships that bring opportunities and different situations. Another interesting new partnership for Rogers, one with great potential impact, is

the Rogers/NFL deal. It brings the Buffalo Bills football team to Toronto and the Rogers Centre for a series of historical, precedent-setting football telecasts. “That’s absolutely thrilling for us,” exclaims Lind with obvious pleasure and satisfaction. “We are so happy we made this deal with Bills, I think you’re going to see that there will be more games than what we’ve heard about already, before the five-year deal is over!”

Well before the five year deal concludes, still more changes will have been realized within the new facility itself. Even now, the plant is very close to going tapeless. Thanks to its new server based, file based infrastructure, the core of the plant is digital, and ingest, editing, delivery takes place in that domain. “We’re going into Phase Two very soon,” Gibberd describes, “to integrate our asset management, archiving and storage systems. After completion of testing and training, probably at the end of September, we will be totally tapeless. So when apiece of content comes into Sportsnet — via one of nearly 75 possible spigots — it doesn’t necessarily have to touch tape in anyway shape or form.” That ability to digitally access a wealth of archived and library footage, as well as call current material, is due in part to Sportsnet’s acquisition of additional offline storage from Ardendo.

10 YEARS


“The Ardendo system is totally scalable so it really depends on how big your wallet is, but with the Ardendo system we’ll probably go for another 5,000 hours of offline or near-line storage,” explained Bruno. Likewise, he says, Sportsnet’s move to solid state memory card recoding, such as with its four new Panasonic AJ-HPX2000 P2 cameras that store SD or HD footage on P2 memory cards. “That was another reason we went to Quantel,” said Bruno. “Quantel will read those cards directly. So when you attach Panasonic P2 reader, it shows up as content in the Quantel server system. But you’re dealing with cards, not disks or tapes, so there is a learning process for us.” That learning process involves mastering skills and technologies that seem more at home in an IT data centre than a TV production studio. Ten years ago, most studios survived with a very basic naming protocol, or slug system, to identify raw materials and media assets. Today, it’s all about metadata, deeply imbedded digital data that can convey so much more information about a video clip — and make it so much easier to find and locate that clip when it’s needed. The need to understand metadata, and the implications for content delivery, is a big learning curve for all involved, agrees Gibberd, who says it now involves all the different departments, not just production. “Provide training, give folks information, communicate openly, these are pretty practical things to do to get people up to speed with new equipment and new processes,” explains Gibberd. “But you need to reinforce that approach with your overall business priorities. So, yes, we will send staff up to Ross, or down to L.A., for system specific training, and then connect that training to the business goals when you get back home.”

eteria, is incredibly important to our team. We shouldn’t downplay the time spent getting to know one another, getting to trust one another, as a value contribution to the company. We get a lot of knowledge and learning from the informal synergies here.” In many ways, the informal learning has never stopped. Over the past ten years, Sportsnet’s management and staff have learned at the very least to be patient, to understand that you might not get where you want to go in a straight line. Beeforth often cites an old line from Mark

Evanka Osmak (behind the desk), Martine Gaillard & Sean McCormick (opposite page) are among the next generation of Sportsnet hosts and anchors keeping the energy, excitement and passion alive.

As mentioned, the new facility provides several benefits for the corporation, and not just from a high quality signal production and delivery perspective, as Viner points out: “One of the benefits of moving to this location is the way it contributes to the Rogers culture,” he says. “We benefit from cross-sharing, cross-promotion, with staff from various operating areas in one location. Idea exchange, the sort of thing that happens in an informal manner walking down the hall, or having lunch in the cafOctober 2008

S15


Sportsnet signs three-year deal with NFL for 4 pm Sunday games (November)

2008 - Rogers Sportsnet opens new HD facility at Rogers Campus in downtown Toronto (April)

Rogers Sportsnet announces new multiyear contract extensions with Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators

Rogers Sportsnet teams with TSN to televise Euro 2008 tournament (June)

Twain, who talked about the good ol’ days of steam boat navigation on the Mississippi. ‘You navigate to the next turn’ the advice goes, ‘and once you get there, you navigate to the next turn.’ Use whatever maps, information, knowledge, you have, and once you get a little closer, you will see a little further down river, to the bend at least. Asked how far that the next bend was, in terms of strategic business planning, Beeforth replies, “Maybe three years. Once Sportsnet gets a business plan approved, we are given the authority to operate our business as we see fit, so we can be nimble enough when chance comes along.” There are some things you can take forward, Beeforth notes, which can be seen as certain — as much as anything can be certain on this winding river called sports broadcasting. “In ten years, there will not be fewer sports out there. In ten years, there will be more avenues for distribution of those sports than there are now. There will be more opportunities for fans to be interactive to an extent that we can’t even imagine today!” Hard to imagine that ten years ago this fledgling broadcaster would be on a list of some of the great business success stories in Canada, and the fact that — as Beeforth is proud to say — “Sportsnet would be on that list!” He rightly describes it as “the most successful specialty launch in history in Canada” and that the sports service “got to profitability faster than any other channel.” But Beeforth has another unique take on the valuation of the service: “My perspective, if

top

you ask others, they would not refute it, is that if Sportsnet had not launched, at least two or three of the Canadian NHL teams today would not be in Canada! And the teams themselves would be among those who would not refute it. The fact that we came along, and became a revenue stream for them, and a way for them to build their brands, well, if that hadn’t happened, we might be back to two or three teams here.” There may be no way to prove his assertion, but if the Canadian sports fan appreciates sports on TV for any reason, that should be a big one. Over the years, Sportsnet has become not only the number one sports channel in a significant number of locations in Canada, it has become a ubiquitous brand across the country. But, as Beeforth cautions, “We cannot sit on the bench, and sit on our laurels. I think any business that looked back over ten years, and had the same kind of successful impact in the industry as we have. I think they would be very pleased with what they had accomplished. For something that didn’t exist ten years ago, it is now a very important part of the Canadian sport landscape.”

Think back ten years, back to the start of Sportsnet. Were you predicting sports highlights over your cell phone? If so, some people probably called you ‘nuts’. Another, more fitting and appropriate description, would be ‘visionary’. As Ted Rogers is known for saying, “Stay tuned. The best is yet to come!”

Top-ten live event broadcasts to date on Sportsnet:

ten

1. 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-final (Italy vs Germany) 1.180 million 2. 2004 ALCS Game #7 (Boston vs New York 1.144 million 3. 2006 FIFA World Cup round of 16 (England vs Ecuador) 922,000 4. 2002 FIFA Women’s U-19 Final (Canada vs. USA) 914,000 5. 2004 World Series Game #4 (Boston vs. St. Louis) 912,000 6. 2004 ALCS Game #6 (Boston vs New York) 863,000 7. 2005 Memorial Cup Final (Rimouski vs London) 827,000

8. 2007 Toronto Maple Leafs regular season hockey (New York vs Toronto) 804,000 9. 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter final (Italy vs Ukraine) 799,000 10. 2005 Toronto Maple Leafs regular season hockey (Boston vs Toronto) 794,000 S16

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bits bytes

people, places and players making news in digital content creation, production and disitribution Employee Recruitment 2.0 A new Web-based tool for employers, recruiters and job seekers combines audio, video and text technology with customized software solutions for job hunting and employee-recruitment. Calgary’s InterActive Applicant developed the new application, called InterActive Applicant, describing it as an innovative Web 2.0 multimedia recruitment solution in the Canadian market. “In my experience as both an employer and a third-party recruiter, one thing is clear - rarely does a resume provide you with enough information to make effective screening decisions. The current screening process is outdated and needs to be changed to benefit both the job applicant and the hiring manager,” said Darryn Severyn, InterActive Applicant’s Founder and CEO. InterActive Applicant also enables employers to search for qualified candidates not in the geographical area of the position.

Announcements of interest and relevance to the Canadian digital media and content creation industry may be submitted to Mediacaster for possible inclusion in the magazine. Send your announcements to: editor@mediacastermagazine.com

Digital Media Makers Eye the Money The business of creativity will be front and centre as the next nextMEDIA — Monetizing Digital Media session returns to Toronto, November 18 - 19, 2008.

cnca.ca, will be held, recognizing and celebrating the business and creative accomplishments of individuals and companies in the Canadian new media industry.

Case studies detailing proven revenue sources for digital media will be presented, and ways to respond to the changing media landscape will be explored, organizers describe of just some of the two-day event’s planned activities.

James Cooper, Creative Director at Another Anomaly and blogger at Brand Republic, Mitch Joel, President of digital marketing firm Twist Image, and Rachel Masters, VP of Strategic Relationship for NING.com, are among the keynote speakers at nextMEDIA (www.nextmediaevents.com).

And on its opening night, the 8th edition of the Canadian New Media Awards, www.

Registration is now underway.

©2008 Speed Channel, Inc. All rights reserved.


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bits bytes

people, places and players making news in digital content creation, production and disitribution Canada Celebrates National Digital Media Day

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SilverBirch Lights Up Wii, Nintendo DS

That’s one reason why plans for a national celebration of digital media extend from coast to coast: recognition of the accomplishments of the country’s digital media industry. Yet, organizers and participants in the inaugural National Digital Media Day in Canada hope for much more. On September 25, 2008, digital media content creators and distributors, new media trainers and educators, industry association reps and more will gather at various physical and virtual venues in order to help connect industry participants, identify market opportunities and build an even stronger industry going forward. Non stop demo camps, bar camps, photo walks, mobile mobs, government relations and doing good digital deeds are planned as part of the day’s celebrations.

S S S

“This is a significant milestone in the continued growth of the company. It gives us the opportunity to further expand our product catalogue and take Lighthouse Interactive to the next level. We look forward to working with Nintendo,” said Steve Wall, Cofounder and Vice President of Lighthouse Interactive.

S

Video game publisher Lighthouse Interactive, part of Toronto-based SilverBirch Inc., will publish and develop products for the Wii and Nintendo DS gaming platforms, under terms of a publisher licence agreement with Nintendo in Europe.

A seven billion dollar industry, with tremendous opportunity for growth and expansion.

The Canadian Interactive Alliance (CIAIC) is one of several industry organizations helping coordinate and partner on the event; individual provincial and regional industry organizations are also planning coordinated activities. In BC, for example, NewMediaBC plans its Annual General Meeting for the day of celebration, and it will also stage a social mixer for BC’s 1000+ new media companies. ITAP, the Innovation and Technology Association of Prince Edward Island, plans to hold a combination golf tournament and tech talk event on that day. SaskInteractive, the Saskatchewan industry association, says it plans to stage one of several BarCamps to be held across the country — in which social ambience and online conferencing activities will be combined. Sessions will be broadcast online via uStream.tv. BarCamp is an international network of user generated technology conference-slash-workshop-slash-online events on web apps, social nets, open data and more.

Toronto-based SilverBirch Inc. is a leading digital media company, operating in the video game and mobile sectors as a developer, publisher, and marketing services provider.

S

According to stats from a recent Canadian Interactive Industry Profile (compiled and released by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CIAIC in 2006), there are some 3,200 firms engaged in interactive media across Canada. The overall estimated total revenue from interactive media is between $4.93 billion and $5.01 billion. Including full time staff, part time staff and subcontractors, there are estimated to be between 50,300 and 52,100 people working in interactive media across Canada.

APTN has something for everyone visit www.aptn.ca for more information

26 www.mediacastermagazine.com

September 2008


tools of the trade TELESTREAM ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF ADMANAGER FOR CABLE With the increase in national and regional

between the HQ or the MVL and edit suites

commercials, VOD content, infomercials

at whatever format, bit rate and resolution,

and other media being delivered as digital

from SD to HD, is required for the facility’s

files to cable ad operations centers, the

operations. Content received on tape can auto-

grow. Telestream’s AdManager for Cable

matically be ingested into AdManager

is designed to streamline the way cable

using Telestream’s Pipeline network video

companies move and manage commer-

capture device. Media can be received

cials and other media being received from

from legacy ClipMail delivery devices, FTP

digital delivery services such as Vyvx, Mijo

and other systems located at post-produc-

and DG FastChannel, internal edit suites,

tion houses and ad agencies.

foam product on the market, Eco-Friendly StudioFoam. Eco-Tech brand acoustic panels are manufactured fibers. Auralex Eco-Tech is manufactured without harmful Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), which have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer.

Eco-Panels for Acoustic Control and Environmental Concerns

The new offering meets and exceeds the quality of product and testing data (acoustical and fire) that the professional consumer demands, the manufacturer describes.

IDC’S 3D DIGITAL CINEMA SHOWS IN EUROPE

and other corporate and regional sources. AdManager automatically monitors edge servers for the arrival of new content. The traffic department can access and review metadata and ad content. Powered

International Datacasting Corporation,

flawlessly delivered 3D content to an

the Ottawa-based company special-

audience comprised of theatre owners

izing in multimedia content distribution

and distributors in addition to regular

via satellite, has unveiled its SuperFlex

cinema patrons, the company reports.

Pro Cinema 3D Live product line with

by Telestream’s FlipFactory transcoding

embedded Sensio 3-D.

engine, content is reformatted and delivered to destination systems, including Arris HQ and SeaChange MVL or other servers and archives for later retrieval. direct file transfer from edge servers and

new companion to the company’s recently introduced acoustical

with a proprietary formulation of 100% recycled polyester

need to automate the process continues to

Powerful transcoding automates

AURALEX ADDS TO GREEN ECO-TECH Eco-Tech Pro Panels, the green acoustical panel from Auralex, are the

AdManager provides a single collection point for the aggregation, tracking and review of all types of incoming media.

The SuperFlex Pro Cinema 3D Live Encoder and Decoder supports both 2D

The Pro Cinema 3D Live Encoder

and 3D live and pre-recorded events,

and Decoder features integrated

which allows cinemas and other ven-

leading-edge Sensio technology. Pro

ues increased revenue opportunities via

Cinema units were installed in a theatre

alternative content programming.

during a European industry event and

Power Service and Support

Alpha now has two service locations in Canada to repair all uninterruptible power supply brands and provide battery sales, service and installation. Central and Eastern Canada Alpha Service Centre Unit 4, 6740 Davand Drive Mississauga, ON L5T 2K9 Toll Free: 888 696 6997 Direct: 905 696 6997

www.alpha.com

Western Canada Alpha Technologies Ltd. 4084 McConnell Court Burnaby, BC V5A 3N7 Toll Free: 800 667 8743 Phone: 604 430 1476

Alpha - power when there isn’t power September 2008

www.mediacastermagazine.com 27


tools of the trade IN-VEHICLE ENTERTAINMENT WITH HIGH DEFINITION IPTV According to industry analysts at iSuppli, the global market

nology to instantly stream video on demand titles and live TV

for automotive infotainment systems will reach nearly $40

channels in both standard and high definition over very low

billion in 2008.

bandwidth from any vehicle equipped with the MX-Drive.

MatrixStream IPTV servers and players all work in conjunction seamlessly using the MatrixCast streaming protocol, the manufacturer

That’s one reason MatrixStream Technologies is part-

The company says the MX-Drive will make it easier for

describes, and being software-based, the MX2 can be

nering with multiple motor vehicle manufacturers to bring

consumers to access live TV and video on demand titles

configured wirelessly, automatically integrating updates and

its new wireless terminal touch screen IPTV platform,

anywhere they go through MatrixStream’s PC player, set

optional add-ons; allowing for greater functionality, expand-

codenamed MX-Drive, to market.

top box for TV, wireless terminal for vehicles, and coming

ability and a higher degree of customization.

The MX-Drive uses MatrixCast video streaming tech-

soon, IPTV player for mobile phones.

TRANZEO GETS FCC APPROVAL FOR NEW WIMAX PRODUCTS Tranzeo Wireless Technologies, the BC-based manufacturer of wireless broadband and WiMAX communication systems, received U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval for its 3.5GHz WiMAX subscriber units in the United States for the semi-licensed band from 3.65-3.7GHz. The FCC recently made this spectrum available for licensing by wireless ISPs. The TR-WMX-3.5-N, TR-WMX-3.5-17, and TR-WMX3.5-20 subscriber units are included in the FCC approval which will speed deployment of Tranzeo product in the U.S. via a growing number of WiMAX service providers and network operators.

REAL-TIME NETWORK SURVEILLANCE SOLUTION Quebec-based EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering released

24/7 proactive monitoring of fiber infrastructures, network

its NQMSfiber 5.0, a Web-based fiber monitoring solution

service providers (NSPs) cannot preempt cable failures or

with sophisticated functions for centralized fiber-optic

respond to network degradation in due time.

network assurance enabling improved operation and maintenance.

NQMSfiber 5.0 is the only EMS software on the market in which all access and reporting functions are

This latest element management system (EMS) soft-

Web-based. Real-time alarm management and status

ware release, also part of EXFO’s Service Assurance busi-

monitoring functions are supported using applets that are

ness and product offering, offers a range of features for all

fully integrated into Web browsers like Internet Explorer

network applications in which optical fibres and cables are

and Firefox. Standard licensing provides access to as many

mission-critical. In particular, businesses connected to a

as 20 users, whether they are connecting from inside or

fibre backbone through an access network have exacting

outside the corporate network.

demands for network availability and services. Without

The Tranzeo equipment for customer premises has been verified to be interoperable with leading WiMAX base station technologies including Redline’s RedMAX suite, also approved by the FCC.

HYBRID TRANSMISSION SOLUTIONS FOR HD, SD, MOBILE Scopus is unveiling a number of advanced digital video broadcasting solutions for operators, broadcasters, and content providers, including multiformat video encoding platforms for hybrid transmission and diverse HD/SD services, unique real-time encoder for mobile TV services, and professional integrated receiver decoder platforms. Designed to meet the fast-paced changes in digital video head-end technologies and formats, the new Eldorado network management system addresses operator, teleport, and broadcaster requirements by managing services and devices across networks, scaling from small headends to large and distributed networks. It uniquely features IP and ASI routing solutions, a variety of redundancy schemes, drag-and-drop operations for topology and views, easy integration of third-party devices, and more. Scopus’ integrated receiver processor (IRP) platform targets a variety of head-end, edge receiving, and processing applications for cable, satellite, terrestrial, and IPTV operators, addressing handling of multiformat SD/HD content, H.264/ MPEG-2 decoding, transport stream descrambling, IP edge streaming, ASI aggregation, remultiplexing, transmodulation, HD-to-SD downconversion, and more. The IRP’s compact 1RU platform incorporates multiformat (HD/SD, H.264/MPEG-2) and dense (up to four channels) decoding, a powerful multiplexing core that enables grooming and PSI/SI and PSIP aggregation of multiple HD and SD programs, and a wide variety of inputs (8VSB, ASI, and IP) and outputs (baseband video, audio, ASI, and IP).

Integrated receiver processors (IRP) from Scopus provide multiformat distribution solutions for cable, satellite, terrestrial and IPTV operators.

28 www.mediacastermagazine.com

September 2008


tools of the trade CONTENT MANAGEMENT WITH PHAROS MEDIATOR 4 The Pharos Mediator 4 platform now covers specific roles in each area of operations from ingest to playout. Operations covered include Library, Ingest, QC, Promotions, Compliance, Approvals, Playout and New Media (VOD, IPTV and Mobile). Each Task Pack presents a sequential set of tasks empowering operators to manage their workload as efficiently as possible. Every Task Pack is an enterprise license for a specific area of operations and can be used concurrently by any number of Mediator users. Mediator can manage content for VOD, Mobile and Internet based delivery can

NETWORK VIDEO RECORDER FROM PANASONIC

be managed side by side with linear distribution. This option deals with all the nec-

Panasonic Canada Inc. Professional Imaging

capabilities, as well as 2x and 4x digital

essary file transfers and transcoding. It can generate and recover additional platform

and Display Solutions introduced a Network

zoom on live or recorded video. Its storage

specific content such as stills for an EPG or metadata such as a VOD synopsis.

Video Recorder (NVR) engineered to maintain

can be expanded up to 27 TB with nine HDD

Mediator 4 directly integrates the management of subtitles and voice-overs

the quality and image integrity of IP camera-

slots in the main unit and with the addition of

for international distribution

based video surveillance systems.

five optional Hard Disc Extension Units.

at the optimal stage in the

The new i-Pro WJ-ND400 NVR Series

In addition, eight recording programs

can record up to 64 network cameras

can be set for each individual camera,

simultaneously with multi-format recording

with camera assignment of one to eight

in MPEG-4 and JPEG to deliver recording

groups for easier browsing. Other features

performance on par with today’s high resolu-

include multiple display modes and flexible

tion IP cameras.

playback controls for convenient monitoring

The i-Pro WJ-ND400 offers metadata

workflow.

of images.

associated VMD for fast, effective search

Pharos Mediator 4 modular Approvals workflow and user interface for playout, VOD, IPTV and Mobile services.

A Different Perspective Deutsche Welle offers your customers a whole new point of view. Our correspondents are stationed around the globe to produce worldwide news, background information and cultural highlights from a European perspective. Tune in to Europe with DW-TV and DW-RADIO.

DEUTSCHE WELLE AfďŹ liate Relations Canada Mrs Claire Bourgeois Tel 514 844 3566 dw-canada@terraterra.ca www.dw-world.de

September 2008

www.mediacastermagazine.com 29


Canadian Achievers

Don Taylor: He’s Here, He’s There, He’s Everywhere - And We’ve Got Him! By Dick Drew

M

ake no mistake, sports broadcasting is a very competitive business. I shudder when I hear of the outrageous broadcast rights fees that are now being demanded for the privilege of broadcasting a sports event. Then, in return for all of that money paid to the franchise, the franchise gives no guarantee they will actually deliver a championship or even finish anywhere near the top. Reminds me of negotiating, as GM of CHML, with Ralph Sazio and his Hamilton Tiger Cats for their radio rights back in the 70’s. Ralph was tough and fair, but he never offered satisfaction guaranteed or money cheerfully refunded! So the vision, work effort and success engrained into the Rogers Sportsnet story anniversary (well reported and celebrated on pages 9 - 24 of this issue) is truly one of great achievements by the individuals and the organization alike. Allow me to add a view from the west, where Sportsnet has consistently topped the audience ratings for sports specialty channels. You will gather from reading the commemorative article and watching Rogers Sportsnet that they are a high-energy team. Not unlike the fast paced sports they cover 24/7/52, and not unlike their dynamic owner Ted Rogers. Energy flows from the main source to all the parts of an ecosystem. In Ted’s case, I can tell you it energy and influence simply gushes. I worked with Ted in the late 60’s; I am still trying to catch my breath. Well, I can tell you that Rogers Sportsnet’s Vancouver based sports reporter Don Taylor is to sports what Ted is to business. Don is the poster boy for the image and enthusiasm of many Rogers Sportsnet projects. Don is much like Rogers Sportsnet itself, always looking around, always digging up great sports stories in order to maintain that special edge. I have long been impressed with Don’s work ethic and his work on the air. I have seen how he works while away from the studio. I’ve smiled watching him hustle in the press box at Canucks games. While most of us were enjoying a beer and a hot dog, watching the action on the ice, Don is like a nervous cat — always looking around to see which sports person is nearby, whom he can nail with his portable tape 30 www.mediacastermagazine.com

September 2008

recorder, what story he can pull together. Unfortunately, viewers living outside the Rogers Sportsnet West coverage area don’t get to see this sports ferret in action. Living here on the west coast, we get to see Don on TV with his nightly “Sportsnet Connected” wrap up show. Or hear him, afternoons with his daily four hour radio open line sports show on Team 1040. Or read him — at one point, he was also writing a regular feature in the Vancouver Province plus a column for Sports Lotto BC. But, one day his wife Lisa, a high school teacher, blew her whistle and signalled a time out, telling Don: “Enough already!” She convinced him to cut back to a respectable 60-70 hour work week. Taylor was born and raised in the Vancouver suburb of North Burnaby, and was able to balance seasonal sports demands with those of his three older brothers: “Dick, I led the perfect life for a Canadian kid. Hockey all winter, lacrosse and baseball all summer, my brothers to learn from. It was the perfect life.” Turning that lifelong passion into a career is part of what contributes to his success, and that of his coworkers at Sportsnet: “The best part of my job is going out on the field, talking to the players, then putting it all together. Honestly, if I wasn’t doing this I don’t know what I would do...it’s a once in a lifetime experience. And then, there’s the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.” Mike English, Executive Producer at Sportsnet Toronto, is Don’s boss. He told me, “I have to say that Don is the quintessential broadcaster. For us, he is BC sports and we know the viewers feel the same way based on the success we have had with Sportsnet Connected in the B.C. market” Robert Gray is Don’s boss at Team 1040 is equally impressed. “Don is a true entertainer. He undeniably gets what we in sports radio do.” Over the years I have worked with some of Canada’s finest sports broadcasters including, Foster Hewitt, Norm Marshall, Al McCann, Perc Allen, Cactus Jack Wells, Bill Good Sr. and others. Each brought their own unique style and enthusiasm to their craft — and it is a craft. Don Taylor is right up there with them. He is a solid contributor to this wonderful broadcast profession that has been so very good to so very many of us. He is another Canadian Achiever. m


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