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An ITP Business Publication

CITIZEN PRODUCERS BBC takes user generated content to the next level

CAPACITY CROWD The Middle East’s expansive satellite market laid bare

POWER PLAYERS Leading global industry figures debate the future of Arab media Licensed by Dubai Media City




HIGHLIGHTS 2 WEB Spot poll: What did you think of CABSAT?; top web stories; editor’s choice: Digital Studio awards video.

BRIEFING 6 THE ADMC wins F1 rights; MBC in $10m lawsuit; Antoine Choueiri passes away.

PRODUCERS 14 CITIZEN Hosam El Sokkari on BBC Arabic’s new format that puts bloggers in the director’s chair.

STORY: 16 COVER POWER PLAYERS Digital Broadcast presents the key findings from the star-studded Abu Dhabi Media Summit.


ANALYSIS 40 MARKET Media buyers are investing more in online video ads but is the money coming from TV budgets?






The ANGA Cable show presents the first post-NAB glimpse of the latest technology.

Your guide to the satellite service industry in the Middle East.

APRIL 2010 01


The online home of:

ETISALAT CHIEF CALLS FOR MEDIA-TELCO TIES The Middle East telecoms and media industries must work harder at collaboration, according to Mohammed Omran, chairman of UAE-based operator Etisalat

READER COMMENT: “I recently visited the UAE and was surprised by how advanced the telco services were. I only hope that we can have the same option here one day.” TelcoGeek, London, UK.


Sky to launch EMEA’s first 3D channel on April 3


People meter could double UAE ad spend: analyst


Harman to establish dedicated EMEA sales office


ADMC and HUMAX tie to roll out HD STBs for EPL


FT Doha film summit gets thumbs up from delegates

DATE: March 28







Freelance DoP Paul Mongey puts the Sony PMW 350 XDCAM EX through its paces.

Damien McGurn discusses CT’s AV push in the Middle East.






ADMC reveals its plans for augmented reality in the Middle East. 02 APRIL 2010

The highlights reel from sister publication Digital Studio’s annual awards ceremony.

Local content must be made the priority in the coming years, writes the Thomson Foundation’s Eric MacInnes.


42% 25%

Better than expected.


Good turn-out but not much business.


Fantastic, no complaints.

Disappointing compared to last year. DATE: March 28



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383 international exhibitors in 2009 13,600 trade visitors from 69 countries 22,000 sqm exhibition space 1,400 congress attendees in 2009

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fter a lull in activity created by the economic downturn, the broadcast industry now appears to be on the road to recovery and back in profit. Last month’s CABSAT was the clearest and most authoritative indication of this so far. New exhibitors discovered a vibrant market with plenty of projects planned across various activities. Veteran exhibitors saw the buzz of previous years return, largely off the back of customers’ renewed confidence and willingness to invest in new technologies. Th is month’s NAB is the fi rst of the big two international shows since the majority of the world’s major economies emerged from recession. If the same vigour seen at CABSAT is experienced at NAB, it will provide the entire industry with a much needed boost. Hot on the heels of CABSAT came the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, which put the local media industry – specifically Abu Dhabi’s – position in the international landscape. Smaller tradeshows – such as the UK’s Broadcast Video Expo – are faring well too. Next month’s ANGA Cable exhibition in Germany has reached maximum capacity with the

accompanying congress also set for a busy year. The emergence of some new events on the 2010 calendar also signifies the confidence now felt in large parts of the industry. The fi rst 3DTV World Forum will take place in London next month. Closer to home, Internet Show Middle East will debut in Abu Dhabi this September. The event will bring media and broadcast professionals together with some of the creative and technical talent working exclusively on the internet, a relationship that will grow in importance, sophistication and value in the coming years. All of these shows – past, present and future – indicate that the sector has found its feet once again. More than this though, the development of trade shows to support new formats and platforms indicates that the industry is now ready to continue investing in its own future.


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GOOD MONTH ADMC Abu Dhabi Media Company had a busy month in March. The broadcaster secured the Middle East and North Africa rights to the Formula One championships. The deal was struck just in time for the Abu Dhabi Sports to screen the opening race of the new season in Bahrain. The company then hosted the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit and finished the month by securing a STB manufacturer for it upcoming EPL encrypted channels.

BAD MONTH 3D DOUBTERS The format had another big month leaving those reluctant to embrace 3D in an increasingly isolated position. LG committed to selling one million 3D TV sets in 2010, raising its estimate of 400,000. Figures released by the National Association of Theatre Owners in the US suggested that 3D had played a major part in record breaking box office results in Q1 2010. The major US studios also revealed several new releases would be offered in 3D.

06 APRIL 2010


ADMC WINS EXCLUSIVE FORMULA 1 RIGHTS Broadcaster will show all action on un-encrypted Al Riyadiya 2 channel Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) has confi rmed that it will broadcast the Formula One championship on its Al Riyadiya 2 sports freeto-air (FTA) channel. ADMC announced that it had won the exclusive regional broadcast rights last month but did not immediately confi rm whether or not it would show the championship on the encrypted Al Riyadiya 3 or on a FTA basis. “We are focused on offering the best coverage to viewers across the Arab World,” said Mohammed Najeeb, director of Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya. “Our efforts complement the growing interest in car racing in the region, including the transformation of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi into hubs for motorsport excellence. “A lot of people love to watch it and after building the Yas Marina Circuit, we defi nitely



The percentage of STBs shipped in 2010 that will be HD-enabled

have to follow the growth of this particular sport,” added Najeeb.” The Formula One coverage will be broadcast in Arabic. E-Vision subscribers will have an additional English-language audio option. Bahrain TV had previously held the rights to the competition. The switch means that ADMC and Al Jazeera Sport now own all the premium international sports broadcast rights in the Middle East with the exception of the Mohammed Najeeb, director, Abu Summer OlymDhabi Al Riyadiya. pic Games. Source: ABI Research

15 million

The number of cable STBs that will have networking capability by 2014

FOX DECLARES TWOFOUR54 COMMITMENT News Corp subsidiary Fox International Channels (FIC) has announced a wide-ranging strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi’s twofour54, which will see large sections of the broadcaster’s international operations relocated to the Abu Dhabi production precinct. Under the terms of the deal confi rmed in Abu Dhabi last month, FIC has pledged to headquarter the Middle East operations of its global online ad network business, .FOX (pronounced dot-fox), in Abu Dhabi in co-operation with twofour54. It will also collaborate (via its documentary production arm NHNZ) on the production

of a high-end HD and 3D documentary for broadcast television, cinema and museums. An NHNZ production office will also open focusing specifically on the development of 3D production capabilities in the Arab world. FIC will also relocate some of its overseas playout and operations to a new centralised tapeless HD facility in Abu Dhabi operated by twofour54. “As we seek to play our part in the development of the UAE’s capital as a media centre for the Middle East our relationship with twofour54 will be a fundamental advantage,” said Ward Platt, president of FIC, Asia Pacific and Middle East.



US TV NETWORK SUING MBC IN $10 MILLION LAWSUIT Judge overturns previous decision ruling against MBC; broadcaster was unaware of initial suit MBC is being sued for US $9.87 million by a TV channel based in the US that claims to have been promised the same figure as payment for securing the distribution of MBC on the American satellite platform, Dish Network. Dandana – a TV network targeting Arab Americans – claims that it was promised 30 percent of MBC’s revenues derived from carriage on the Dish Network. The New Jersey-based broadcaster has calculated this fee to be $9.87 million. Its CEO and founder Amro Altahwi, however, claims to have received just $250,000 and is suing for the balance. The suit was originally fi led in Novem-

ber 2008 with the New Jersey district court. The eventual hearing in August last year was in favour of Dandana. Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise made the full award of $9.87 million. However, MBC says it was only made aware of the suit against it four months after this judgement, leading Judge Debevoise to overturn his previous decision on February 15 and re-opened the case for a new hearing. Court documents seen by Digital Broadcast show a suit lodged with Colorado District court on October 8 last year. MBC was unable to comment on the case at the time of press.


Today, you cannot separate technology innovation and the media.

DR PRANNOY ROY, Executive chairperson, NDTV

Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec.

Antoine Choueiri.




Arab media mogul Antoine Choueiri has died after a long illness. Choueiri had long been seen as a founding father and architect of the Middle East media industry. He was 70 years old. Choueiri founded The Choueiri Group, and had over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), the English Premier League broadcaster in the Middle East starting August 2010, has signed an exclusive agreement with set-top box (STB) manufacturer Humax. The company will undertake the supply and sale of HD STBs for the deployment of the EPL programming in MENA.

Satellite technology developer Newtec will use its upcoming business seminar in Brussels to strengthen its ties with Middle East customers, said Serge Van Herck, the firm’s CEO. Van Herck added that he expects the Middle East to fuel Newtec’s development in the coming years. The seminar will be held on April 20-21.

APRIL 2010 07


Palm Hills Developments, Egypt’s first real estate project to incorporate an IPTV network, has selected Anevia to provide the head-end infrastructure. The development has installed a ViaLive 220S DVB to IP gateway that includes an IRD, muxer and an IP streamer. “When building the multimedia services network,




FIRST LEGAL ARABIC VIDEO WEB PORTAL GOES LIVE Orascom subsidiary launches rental, download and streaming service The Middle East’s first legal website to download Arabic video content has launched, allowing users to download, stream or rent films at DVD quality without resorting to online piracy., operated by LINKonLINE, a subsidiary of Orascom’s LINKdotNET, offers films, television series and live television at a price the firm believes is actually cheaper than the many pirated DVDs that are prevalent in the region. “My direct competitors are the pirate sites, which may offer video for free, but also force users to visit different servers, sites and forums,” said LINKonLINE technology general manager Mostafa Kamel. “The quality, ease of service and the variety of content makes it easier for the end user.”

Shofha aims to simplfy the online Arabic content marketplace.

$5.5 m we looked for a system that would enable us to provide a superior entertainment experience to our customers,” said Hisham Salah, VP technology, Palm Hills Developments.

EYEHEIGHT SCORES AT AL JAZEERA SPORT Al Jazeera Sport recently deployed the Eyeheight MW-3EM A/B mixer as part of a larger installation that included a server-based ingest, post-production and transmission solution at its facility in Doha. The mixer enables the end user to perform mix, wipe and cut transitions and V fades.

08 APRIL 2010

The annual value of Turkish broadcaster Dogan Yayin’s content export business into the Middle East.

MOVERS & SHAKERS ENVIVIO HIRES NEW VP SOLUTIONS Video encoder manufacturer Envivio has appointed Arnaud Perrier to the newly created role of VP solutions. Perrier joins from Harmonic, where he established a distinguished track record for marketing encoding products to telco and pay TV operators. “I am excited to be part of the Envivio team working to reshape the industry and help our customers capitalize on delivering new, compelling services to any device,” said Perrier.

AP APPOINTS NEW ENPS SALES MANAGER The Associated Press has named Clive Mumby as the new sales manager for its ENPS news production system. Mumby joins AP from Quantel and has more than 25 years experience in broadcast and visual media. Recently he has worked closely with several news providers transitioning to file-based workflows, including BBC and Sky News in the UK, ARD in Germany and NRK in Norway.


Half of the respondents to a recent poll said they expect to work in the production of 3D content during 2010. The survey was conducted by test and measurement equipment manufacturer Hamlet at the BVE exhibition in London with a mix of engineers, broadcasters and filmmakers questioned. “Stereoscopic 3D is the real hot topic of the moment, but we are all finding

our way iin this thi new medium,” said Steve Nunney, managing director, Hamlet. The poll also found that 14 percent had already worked in 3D and almost two-thirds of visitors to the show said that finding out about 3D equipment and production techniques was the main reason or an important part of their visit. While there is well-founded excitement about the prospects for 3D movies, those surveyed were less certain about the prospects of 3D in the home. Thirty percent felt that tech-fans would be interested but it would not find a mass market, and just a quarter thought that there definitely would be an audience. 010 APRIL 2010




IMAGENATION SHAKE-UP PUTS ONUS ON LOCAL CONTENT A management shake-up at Abu Dhabi fi lm fund Imagenation has seen former Filmworks exec Rami Yasin appointed head of production, while current VP of development Daniela Tully’s (above) remit has been expanded to include all creative affairs for Emirati fi lm production. Yasin will work alongside Tully, who joined Imagenation Abu Dhabi last June. Tully will now oversee all creative affairs for regional Emirati fi lm production in addition to content that falls under Imagenation Abu Dhabi’s Participant Media and National Geographic partnerships.

Security officials in Yemen raided the local offices of the Arab world’s two largest news networks, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, according to reports. Both networks have claimed that the actions are related to their respective coverage of the country’s southern region, where there is a proindependence uprising. An unnamed government official told state-run TV in Yemen that the two stations did not have the appropriate authorisation for the broadcast equipment that it confiscated from offices in the capital Sanaa last month.



Yahsat was granted a 10-year licence by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the UAE last month, the country’s third telco licence. Under the terms of the licence, Yahsat can provide voice, data, video and internet services in the UAE. “It is an important day for Yahsat and a great opportunity for a company with firm roots in the UAE to address the satellite communications requirements of the nation and the region as well,” said Jassem Al Zaabi, CEO, Yahsat. The agreement with the TRA is a milestone for the Abu Dhabi-based operator, which has suffered a slight delay in the development of its hardware after the L’Aquila earthquake damaged the factory building Yahsat 1a.

Telecom operators must continue to look for partnerships with content companies and reconsider the way they offer it to consumers in order to succeed, according to Mohammed Omran, chairman of UAE telco Etisalat. Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Omran called on telcos to leverage the expertise of media firms, rather than try to go it alone. “We are not experts on content so we rely on partnerships,” said Omran. “Etisalat’s role is to customise and group content for our customer base. This means working with content partners. It does not mean going out and acquiring content providers.” Omran also called for telcos not to ignore local content as part of their strategies.

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THINKING POSITIVE Trade shows can often provide an indication of the health of the industries they serve. Digital Broadcast speaks to a number of companies that exhibited at this year’s CABSAT and asks whether the expo has left them feeling confident about the year ahead.

MORE TRAFFIC, BETTER LEADS EBBY JOHN Sales director Middle East, India and Africa, Nevion “Last year’s show certainly experienced a bit of a lull but this year we saw a lot of new things going on in the local industry. In general the show was very good for us. There are more new leads for us to follow up this year – and higher quality ones too – compared to last year. There were several new projects discussed for the long-term and also some short-term leads that look very promising. It is also about engaging with your existing customers. We were able to meet with practically all of our existing customers. Being a product manufacturer we are always keen to talk to engineers as well as the decision makers and we were able to do so. There was also more traffic on the stand in general. Usually we show our new products at NAB and IBC. Th is year we have around 55 new products, so professionals from this region were able to see them for the fi rst time at CABSAT rather than at the two big international shows. Th is was good and it helped to bring people to the stand and it was nice to give some products a debut at CABSAT. The majority of visitors to our stand were already familiar with our products so it was good to have something new to show them and gauge the trend they are going in with their investments. There was a lot of interest in our IP transport with JPEG 2000 encoding and HD in-house transport products, these arguably attracted the most interest. Everybody we talked to seemed to be in the process of – or is planning to – upgrade their studio facilities to HD standards. Having some strong new HD products to show them put us in a strong position.” 012 APRIL 2010




In general, we felt CABSAT was slower than usuall this year but all of our major customers were at the show from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Pakistan. The show was very active for us in terms of business opportunities in MENA and we can confi rm that we closed business on the show floor! Twenty percent of our turnover last year came Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum from the Middle East and that figure is growing. Al Maktoum (right) at the There are a lot of archiving projects in this opening of CABSAT 2009. region. There have been several questions from potential clients regarding the transfer of archivess to a digital format and then of course the media LET THE NUMBERS DO asset management systems that are required to THE TALKING leverage those. The indications suggest CABSAT More recently we have had a lot requests about 2010 was a vast improvement on how we can help broadcasters to leverage these arthe previous year. With official chives across several platforms including mobile. statistics from this year’s event Th is is a growth sector for us. still being compiled, could the Many companies at the show were also inter2010 edition have bettered the ested in our MANREO media asset management CABSAT 2009 figures below? system. The coming year should be great for the company in many respects and CABSAT was a great way to kick-start 2010 in MENA. We plan on attending the show next year. Number of exhibitors at last


year’s show.



DAVID ABEL Worldwide director of partner management, Amberfin


The number of participating countries in 2009.


The total number of visitors last year.


“This is the first time AmberFin has attended CABSAT with a dedicated stand and the show went well for us. It’s always nice to have the opportunity to meet customers and potential clients face-to-face and show them the product and what it can do. Numbers have been down at trade shows during the last year, but the quality of attendees remains high. At CABSAT we were able to display the latest version of AmberFin’s iCR software as well as the new Standards Converter tool for monetising existing content in markets with different frame rates. The show included many key decision makers for organisations based throughout the region, not just in the UAE, and has been a great help for us in expanding our reach. We look forward to extending the relationships we’ve made at this year’s show and building on our presence in this market for next year.”

The percentage of CABSAT 2009 exhibitors that felt the show was a key part of their marketing strategy.

The percentage of exhibitors that were happy with the inaugural year of the Satellite MENA show, collocated with CABSAT.

APRIL 2010 013


CITIZEN PRODUCERS BBC Arabic’s latest format elevates citizens from the role of reporter to producer. The network’s head Hosam El Sokkari – who is also the creator of the 710 Greenwich current affairs talk show – gives us the scoop.

The show offers viewers a far more inclusive and influential role in each episode’s production, why do you think this is important to increase this level of involvement? It is an intellectual loss to society to limit the voices of bloggers. We want to bridge the gap between the cyber and traditional spheres of information. Some people consider them as like oil and water but eventually there will be no difference between media and what we presently call new media. What do you think is the driving force behind this blending of the two? I reviewed my relationship with audiences and was struck by the fact that they are empowered so strongly by technology. They can challenge the traditional media’s domination of mass communication and the barrier to entry is minimal. Previously if you wanted to speak to the masses you had to buy a newspaper company or build a TV station. Now you can pay a few dollars and go to an internet café and reach millions of people. Is the concept of 710 Greenwich a natural progression of an existing trend? There have been four generations of interactivity if you like. First the public provided quotes and ideas by SMS. Citizen journalism was then used within programmes. Then visual user generated content was integrated into shows and became an integral part or even the basis of some formats. We are looking to go one step further now. They want to interact and take part. The viewers have the opportunity not just to be reporters or contributors but to actually research and produce the show. We can put them in the director’s seat.

014 APRIL 2010

Are broadcasters keeping pace with these changes so far? Social networking is growing fast. Traditional broadcasters aren’t always aware of just how quickly. The initial adoption of the internet has been much faster than that of TV and radio. When you look at the growth of Facebook, the rate of adoption is incredible.

We want to bridge the gap between the cyber and traditional spheres of information. Some people consider them as like oil and water but eventually there will be no difference between media and what we presently call new media. HOSAM EL SOKKARI Head of BBC Arabic Network.

How do you filter the collaborators and monitor the content? There is still a permanent staff working on the show. Some of these have been recruited from the blogosphere in the Middle East. There is also a core group of Arab bloggers that regularly participate as well as many, many more who do so occasionally. The show must still adhere to the same editorial guidelines as our other content. Discourse in the Middle East is often emotional, this is partly about changing this. How do viewers perform producing and researching roles remotely? Each show has one interviewee. These are chosen by the network of contributors. There is then a discussion online about the issues that will be approached. Questions are suggested and we ask for these to be backed up by evidence. Th is research is also done within the network. So for example, a question could be based on a previous statement made by that guest. They can find a video clip of this speech, which we can present to the guest on the show. Where do these discussions take place? We can’t use every social networking tool so we have selected a few specific open platforms including YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Blogspot.



The great eat and the good of the world’s media industry gathered he inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit last month. for the Digital Broadcast condenses the key presentations from CEOs representing News Corp, Google, AOL and many more. 016 APRIL 2010


RUPERT MURDOCH, PRESIDENT AND CEO, run, this is counterproductive. Markets that distort NEWS CORPORATION their media end up promoting the very panic and distrust that they had hoped to control. The event was opened by arguably the most “Certainly every nation has the right to insist important figure in modern media history, News that the people they allow into their countries to do Corporation CEO and president Rupert Murdoch. business respect their values and traditions. This is Murdoch’s empire includes more than 50 TV best administered, however, with a gentle touch,” channels, four pay TV networks, more than 100 adds Murdoch. newspapers as well as 10 US movie studios. The News Corp chief also called for an end to News Corp has strengthened its ties to the region protectionism in the Middle East media market. in recent years taking a 9.1 percent stake in Rotana, “Creative protectionism is as destructive as other with which it collaborates on the region’s Fox kinds of protectionism. It is expensive, unfair and it Series and Fox Movies channels. News Corp has guarantees that local companies coddled also announced that it will have a presence by protection will never be strong in the twofour54 media zone in Abu enough to compete outside their Dhabi with its NHNZ documentary own borders. production company opening an “By contrast, if you open your office. The regional arm of its .FOX The market capitalisacreative market up to competition (pronounced dot-fox) online ad tion of News Corp at the your companies can challenge the business will move to the precinct. time of press. biggest players. I have seen it done. The playout and operations of some News Corp is commonly thought of of its channels in the Middle East as an American company because we that are currently based in Hong Kong are now based in New York, but we actuand other overseas locations, will move to ally started in a provincial Australian city called a new facility based in twofour54. Adelaide. When I brought our company to America, Murdoch’s speech highlights the importance of we were still a small American firm,” said Murdoch. encouraging the creativity and talent to populate Drawing on the value of content production the region’s growing roster of impressive infrastrucMurdoch cites the example of Indonesia which has ture developments. invested heavily in its creative sector which now “The creative sector flourishes best in societies accounts for 5.4 million jobs in the country and six where governments intervene with a light hand,” percent of its exports. says Murdoch. “When faced with an inconvenient “Right now the world does not think of the story, it can be tempting to resort to censorship or Middle East when it thinks of creative content. civil or criminal laws to try to bury it. In the long


Certainly every nation has the right to insist that the people they allow into their countries to do business respect their values and traditions. This is best administered, however, with a gentle touch. RUPERT MURDOCH Chairman and CEO, News Corporation.


Etisalat chairman Mohammed Omran called on closer ties between telcos and the media. di it l d ti

“A few years ago, telecom operators would not even be invited to a media summit such as this. There has been a notable shift in the importance of telcos to media. We are enabling our customers to have a high quality fixed connection. Mobile connections have improved and LTE will soon allow speeds as high 100Mb/s. Handsets have also improved dramatically in recent years. They now have better batteries with longer lives. They are much more powerful and smarter than in the past. This has enabled a lot of new services. We still have a long way to go when it comes to local content. More is becoming available, but we need to more partnerships forming between telcos and media firms. We are not experts on content so we rely on partnerships. Etisalat’s role is to customise and group content for our customer base. This means working with content partners. It does not mean going out and acquiring content providers. Customer behaviour in this region has changed the equation. Just a few years ago people used to say 20 lines per 100 households was too many in Egypt. Today there are 70 lines per 100.”

APRIL 2010 017


There are lots of things that Google could do that it chooses not to. For example, one day we had a conversation about predicting the stock market, but we figured that would probably be illegal. ERIC SCHMIDT CEO, Google.

Even your own citizens prefer Hollywood movies and American television shows to local production. You can change this. “So what do you need to encourage a creative sector? Obviously you need money. High quality content is expensive. The simple fact is that if you want quality content, you need to encourage a marketplace where money flows to those who invest in and create content. For example, television is still a young market in this region but the potential is huge. If you want higher-quality television, you need a transparent market that helps ensure that people receive a fair price for the value they create. A more transparent advertising market means having effective tools to measure who and what people are watching. Advertisers and creators need metrics that tell them who they are reaching and how effective their message is, or else they are simply throwing money in the dark.” Murdoch also called for media buyers and sellers to compete for business to business within a transparent market rather than allowing a small number of companies to dominate. “This may be a cosy arrangement for those companies but the nation pays a very high price for this cosy arrangement as it takes away the financial engine needed to drive investment in local content,” says Murdoch. The News Chief also calls for the local market to be opened up to foreign competition saying that doing so would “call your people to their best and cultivate a world-class industry on par with the finance and oil giants that now dominate the region”.

ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO, GOOGLE The second keynote address of the summit was provided by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The subject matter of the speech and the question and answer session that followed was as diverse as Google’s own activities. Ultimately, the two main issues were the effect of web proliferation on traditional media firms and privacy and censorship. Schmidt began by discussing the Middle East’s own position in the online landscape. “When you ask people elsewhere in the world about what is going on in the Middle East, no one will mention the internet,” said Schmidt. “But in fact, this region has undergone the fastest web expansion for three or four consecutive years now. It’s been growing at 100 percent, which is incredible. Then you have to consider that one-third of the population in the Middle East is under the age of fourteen so in five years there is going to be a huge mobile internet market.” As for how the propagation of online services will affect traditional media source, Schmidt is confident that the opportunities are also large. “We will see famous TV producers, building their shows on the internet first to see how well they do, because that doesn’t cost very much,” claims Schmidt. “If it gains traction, then they can go to financers, advertising partners and distributors armed with this strong negotiating position and real numbers to back them up. The internet is not going to replace existing platforms – people still want to go to the movies – it will be used by the media in a different way, to learn and to test things.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS… ROBERT BAKISH, PRESIDENT, MTV NETWORKS INTERNATIONAL “MTV Arabia is still relatively new and continues to be a work in progress. We are still big believers in international markets and we have shown our intention to continue growing our participation in this region. We started internationalising our channels early – partly because it was economical to do so with MTV’s music video-based format. We realised that it was important to localise these channels for each market. MTV Arabia is an example of this with a mixture of global formats and local episodes of these international shows. To make money, you have to create quality content that people will spend time on. Others have looked at things like unsigned bands, but it turned out there was a reason they were unsigned, they just weren’t that good. You have to create something that the audience can connect with in order to monetise it. You have to offer content on multiple platforms. Some people will want to sit back and watch, some people will engage much more. Audiences are diverse so you need to offer something for all regardless of how technologically savvy they are.”

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Robert Bakish, president, MTV Networks International. di it l d ti


CASE STUDY - DIGITISATION INFRASTRUCTURE TURNKEY SOLUTION he European Parliament, a directly elected institution of the European Union since 1979, is one of the world’s most powerful legislatures. The audiovisual unit provides broadcasting on an internal cable television network, and transmission to Europe by Satellite (EBS), the news exchange networks, and to selected television channels. It also provides video streaming to the Web, publication on FTP servers and oversees a media archive kept for the legal and historical record and the use of members of parliament, journalists, and scholars. In 2008, the European Parliament selected BCE for the complete installation of its digitising infrastructure and for the digitisation of video content with quality check and corrections to ensure the best quality.


CHALLENGE: DIGITISE AND CENTRALISE THE CONTENTS ON A DIGITAL ARCHIVE STORAGE SYSTEM While the European Parliament assumed its present form in 1979, its roots stretch back to 1952. The archive it has amassed chronicles a significant part of European and world history. At the time the project was initiated, some of the archive was already stored in digital format on a Sony data tape system. Most of the content however is still stored on Digital Betacam videotapes and some on


Platform creation Fine tuning Platform moving Content digitization

020 APRIL 2010

Betacam SP videotapes. This lack of consistency created difficulties with access and retrieval. BCE’s challenge was to implement – in less than one year – a complete digitisation platform with a Front Porch Digital archive system directly connected to the existing ingest platform of the European Parliament. Because videotape has a limited shelf-life, preservation of some content was in jeopardy. To prevent any content loss, BCE also needed to digitise more than 12,000 hours of video content, maximising its quality while delivering optimised copies. “Using the digitisation platform created for the European Parliament, our dedicated team proceeded to the quality check of the video archives and digitised the content without errors in less than six months.” Christian Garit, Head of Broadcast Operations, BCE.

SOLUTION: DIGITAL ARCHIVE LIBRARY CONNECTED TO EXISTING INGEST INFRASTRUCTURE The first step of the project was the creation of the European Parliament digitisation platform in BCE’s premises. This came as a fine tuning phase in order to create a seamless environment, optimise the workflow and ensure its successful integration in the building. “The relationships with the team of engineers in charge of the project were excellent.


As for other projects we had with BCE, including the replacement of four editing rooms for the European Parliament in Strasbourg, they showed an outstanding professionalism and a high availability.” Philippe Masson, Chief Engineer of the Audiovisual Unit, European Parliament. Once the infrastructure was created, BCE was able to ensure the system could pass a series of tests and make any necessary corrections. During this phase, BCE also developed a software solution for the interface between the European Parliament existing Flexicart and the new Front Porch digital library. “The software developed by BCE for the interface between the flexicart and the digital library is powerful and intuitive. Front Porch Digital even decided to resell this software for the future installations with similar configuration.” Jean Marc Gacher, Manager Special Projects, BCE. The platform can automatically digitise the content and can store up to 18,000 hours of material. The archive can also easily be upgraded to 90,000 hours. Moving the platform to Brussels was the



Flexible and easy to use system


Knowledge transfer


Tapeless infrastructure


Information share


Optimized workflow


Metadata search engine

second phase. More than just moving the infrastructure from one address to another, BCE had also to create the interconnections between the centralised digital archive, the work stations of the archivists and also 16 external consoles for consultation purpose. Not only has the archivists work improved, but the full archive management workflow has evolved as well. “In order to install a seamless environment in the European Parliament building, our team created a test platform in BCE’s premises. The moved infrastructure was fully tested to ensure an immediate use for the local team.” Gusty Feinen, Manager Special Projects, BCE. Since the digitisation platform was ready to work, the third phase of the project started

with the digitisation of the video content of the Parliament. But transforming the content in a digital format could not be completely automated as many archives were already altered by time. BCE had to make all the necessary corrections so that the videos came back to life with maximum quality for future use in productions, shows etc. “Even with tight schedules, BCE worked in a very effective way and met the deadlines for both infrastructure installation and content digitisation.” Philippe Masson, Chief Engineer of the Audiovisual Unit, European Parliament. BCE’s long experience in video and audio archive digitisation provides a unique expertise in large-scale projects.

CONCLUSION The European Parliament digitisation platform and centralised digital library is the first step in its tapeless global switch. The result is a powerful system accelerating the workflow of the entity and giving the archivists a complete and easy-to-use tool for their daily work. The European Parliament may now drop the tape and focus on the re-use of its archives in new films. Thanks to the metadata, the users of the platform have better search results, opening a world of content to the future connected production department.

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16 external consoles

APRIL 2010 021


IN THEIR OWN WORDS… JON MILLER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, DIGITAL MEDIA GROUP, NEWS CORPORATION “When you consider the iPad and other similar devices that are scheduled to come in during the next year, they are going to enable a re-imagination of different kinds of content, especially newspapers. We are going to see a re-invigoration of this medium. If people like us are going to invest in these forms of content and the journalism behind it then clearly there needs to be models that acknowledge the cost of creating this content. The terms of trade should support this and we are engaged in these discussions already. We have a number of efforts to try and rein in piracy. The technical developments – particularly cloud computing – are going in favour of more secure environments, which is important for any entertainment business. One possibility being talked about in the US at the moment is the possibility of pulling together an international broadband treaty. There’s a few big hitters advocating this and trying to come to a global consensus.”

If we use the same standards globally we can reduce costs in all markets. This includes the price of handsets. We want to see a smartphone for under US $100. HANS VESTBERG President and CEO, Ericsson. 022 APRIL 2010

I like to think of it as internet first. You’ll start there, and then as your product evolves you will go for the larger more established platforms.” Schmidt also sees the internet’s ability to offer targeted advertising as a huge bonus for media companies looking to exploit the platform. “An advertisement that is more targeted is worth more money. A TV advert shown to me at home on TV is wasted advertising if the product is not relevant to me,” says Schmidt. “It would be better if these were more targeted. The internet can be used to target ads on TVs, mobile devices as well as home computers. Google is working on something similar for STBs. The principal is the same.” Schmidt expects a period of change in the composition of the media and the way it operates with the internet and other technological innovations acting as the driving force. “We tend to accept the structures that we grew up with as if they are completely fi xed. So we will consider these laws, this set of regulations, that group of corporations and the resultant static outcomes, mistakenly believing everyone will behave in exactly the same way,” says Schmidt. “Technology allows people to be enormously creative. Think about YouTube and Facebook, two of the leading brands in the online age that basically didn’t exist five years ago. Now there are several

Jon Miller, chairman and CEO, Digital Media Group, News Corporation.

mapping application companies that are doing well, are they going to be the next Twitter? The point is there will be another one and another one.” Google has itself turned its hand to several new markets as it has developed. The gigantic wealth of information that the company is now privy to has meant there are some areas of business that it has had to walk away from. “There are lots of things that Google could do that it chooses not to. For example, one day we had a conversation about predicting the stock market, but we figured that would probably be illegal,” revealed Schmidt. The company found itself the subject of ire with several governments – most (in)famously the Chinese – over regulatory, privacy and censorship issues, which continue to bubble away today. Schmidt is well aware of the power the internet can have in politics citing the example of US politician George Allen whose re-election loss was largely attributed to a YouTube video featuring the Senator using an unsavoury racial epithet. “Politicians are well aware that they are under the microscope with respect to what they say and what they do. There is a huge debate about how effective these tools are against repressive regimes, and fighting for free speech. Eventually, tanks trump the internet.”




and up, on.

scheme. It is also important that the consumer HANS VESTBERG, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ERICSSON experience is the same regardless of the device Telecoms manufacturer Ericsson is responsible being used. We must also ensure that we use open for building much of the infrastructure that will standards as much as possible so that services increasingly be relied upon for media services. can be offered to as many people as possible. If The firm’s CEO and president Hans Vestberg we use the same standards globally we is under no illusion regarding the size of can reduce costs in all markets. This the task involved in supporting the includes the price of handsets. We growth of data traffic, which is being want to see a smartphone for under triggered largely by new media apThe year-on-year growth US $100.” plications and consumer devices. rate of data traffic Vestberg points out the effect “In a few years there will be driven by smartphones, that the iPhone has had on the three billion broadband subscripaccording to mobile ad telco market and calls for the closer tions worldwide,” says Vestberg. network, AdMob. liaisons with the handset manufac“We are seeing people are now turers in the future. prepared to pay more for telco services “A normal phone will use around 20 Mb than they were in the past – but there needs in a month, an iPhone will use around 400 Mb a to be content for these services to access.” Vestberg believes that the success of media appli- month,” claims Vestberg adding that the upside for those responsible for upgrading these networks are cations offered on any telecoms platform will hinge safe in the knowledge there is a healthy consumer largely on three factors. demand for data. “We need quality content and a fair pricing

RAOUL ROVERATO, EVP, NEW GROWTH BUSINESS, FRANCE TELECOM/ ORANGE GROUP “Previously what the media did was reach out to the public but didn’t really know who was watching. Now it can reach out on a one-by-one basis. They give content creators a new way to tell their stories. We are trying to connect all screens, with the same story. When you put on TV you want to relax. We have seen that around 50 percent of our customers choose to watch TV in an interactive fashion. Content must be adapted for different environments however.”

Hans Vestburg, president and CEO of Ericsson highlights the impact of smartphones on data traffic.

APRIL 2010 023


for example when you talk to a brand manager at a detergent company for example, which has spent a TIM ARMSTRONG, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, AOL lot of money on traditional media but now realises AOL chief Tim Armstrong has been spearheading consumers have shifted platforms, they need to be the company’s recent content creation blitz, which provided with an alternative service – differhas seen it hire an army of editorial staff (from ent analytics for example – that is one of 500 journalists to more than 3000 by the things we are very focused on,” October last year). explains Armstrong. Armstrong says that many adver“We are maniacally focused on tisers are looking for a tiered online content as I mentioned earlier, but media with quality, premium conThe number of journalwe are also very determined to tent sources available for them to ists employed by onechange the way we use technology, align themselves with, as they have time internet service and design new ways to work with done in the past with traditional provider, AOL. it in the future. In this respect AOL media platforms. will be risk takers during this year and He also believes that the creative into next year. We’ll be doing looking to potential of the internet has so far been brand and different types of online advertising.” severely under-utilised. Earlier this year it was revealed that AOL has “I would argue that a page on the internet today developed a new content management system that doesn’t look that different to a page on the internet unifies many of its 75 online properties allowing 10-15 years ago. I think strategically, the search a greater number of contributors to write for its companies have done a good job of dominating sites and receive payment based on the number of the internet advertising market,” says the former ad impressions it receives and other monetisation Google senior VP. “We now have to look at the distinct set of needs for online brand advertising. So systems incorporated.


We are maniacally focused on content… but we are also very determined to change the way we use technology, and design new ways to work with it in the future. TIM ARMSTRONG Chairman and CEO, AOL.

Visit us at Visit us at

024 APRIL 2010

M-Three Satcom Srl - Milano, ITALY

stand ZM-2


ANGA MANAGEMENT A number of top broadcast technology providers will exhibit at ANGA Cable next month, offering one of the earliest opportunities to see the latest launches from NAB, without the inconvenience of travelling all the way to Las Vegas.

026 APRIL 2010


AB will always be broadcast technology first choice for debuting new products and innovations. IBC is often the first chance that many in the Middle East will have to see these exhibits outside of the Las Vegas extravaganza. However, three weeks after the conclusion of NAB, more than 300 of the industry’s leading cable, broadband and satellite firms meet in Cologne for ANGA Cable. Last year’s exhibition attracted 13,600 visitors with conditional access firms, satellite service operators and network technology manufacturers prominent on the list of exhibitors this year. The show provides the region’s broadcast engineers with an opportunity to see the latest technology four months ahead of IBC and with fewer tourists and souvenir hunters to compete with. The event’s organiser, the Association of German Cable Operators (ANGA) announced late last month that it had already sold out all available exhibition space at the show in another sign of good health for the industry. “We are pleased with the renewed confidence of out exhibitors,” says Dr Peter Charisse, managing

director, ANGA. “Our concept with a close connection between the exhibition element and the congress, with a clear focus on the business clients of the TV and broadband sector has again proven a success.” The event’s congress has also developed a strong reputation attracting larger numbers of delegates than the conference streams of other more established exhibitions. As well covering traditional broadcasting topics, this year’s edition will also look at some of the fundamental issues surrounding distribution by broadband and more specifically, whether the future of high-speed internet lies with fibre networks or LTE. “The range of topics covered in this year’s congress programme is wider than ever,” says Charisse. “The strategy panels will cover broadband and media politics, the latest fibre and headend technologies as well as copyright and licensing law for digital TV and IPTV.” Companies taking part in the congress at the time of print include Ericsson, MTV Networks, Cisco, Alcatel Lucent and Discovery Networks. The show runs from May 4-6 at the Cologne Fair Grounds Congress Centre East, Germany.


T&M AND QUALITY MONITORING A number of test and measurement and quality monitoring firms will line-up the latest and greatest offerings at the show. The cable and IPTV prejudice of the show could see firms specialising in these areas receiving high-quality traffic. Among them will be Bridge Technologies (Stand J50). The monitoring and analysis tools manufacturer was recently named as one of the fastest growing technology companies in the EMEA region by Deloitte Touche Tomatsu (DTT). The annual Deloitte technology Fast 500 list charts the fastest-growing technology companies across all sectors, based on the average growth rate during the previous five years. Bridge Technologies achieved an impressive growth rate of more than 2300 percent for the last five years. “To be ranked in 63rd in the top 500 technology firms in the entire EMEA region is quite an achievement for such a young company,” says Simen Frostad, chairman, Bridge Technologies. “Our rapid growth is a reflection of the people in the company and the quality of the products that offer the industry.” Deloitte points out that the achievements of the companies on this year’s list are even more impressive given the prevailing economic climate experienced during the past three years.


ANGA Cable’s mix of broadcasters, telco operators and network technology firms attracts a unique segment of exhibitors and visitors. The show’s emphasis on delivery and transmission rather than production, provides a unique opportunity for certain areas of the industry to take the limelight.


Total number of exhibitors


The final attendance figure from last year’s show


The percentage of overseas visitors at ANGA Cable 2009


The area of last year’s show in square metres


The number of delegates at the congress

Simen Frostad, chairman, Bridge Technologies.


APRIL 2010 027



Geir Bjorndal, executive VP products and markets, Conax.

The conditional access market is as fiercely competitive in Europe as it is in the Middle East, even if the perceived level of piracy is somewhat lower. A number of top vendors will be exhibiting at ANGA Cable including some of this region’s most active players. The cable-focused show could see IPTV solutions given the prime focus. Conax (Stand K21) will go into the show off the back of a successful 2009. The Norwegian firm extended its global market share in the DVB sector to 15 percent. Last month the company announced a new partnership in the Middle East with satellite systems integrator Technosat. The deal will see Conax’s smartcard security system used to protect Technosat’s satellite HD platform. Technosat currently distributes around one million STBs in the Middle East each year. The company also agreed a deal with PVR innovator TiVo. Conax security will be integrated into a number of the manufacturer’s products on platforms currently operating Conax security. The deal covers Scandinavia, mainland Europe and India. “While the European market is ripe for VOD and other interactive services, many operators are stifled by the expensive integration efforts needed to convert roadmaps into reality,” says Geir Bjorndal, executive VP products and markets, Conax. “TiVo has a phenomenal reputation in the US, not only for inventing the PVR, but for creating the market’s most comprehensive hybrid broadcast/broadband platform. They are the only player that has successfully integrated top-tier content from diverse Internet sources like Netflix, Blockbuster, YouTube, and Amazon VOD along with linear television into a single, vivid user interface,” added Bjorndal.

VIDEO TRANSPORT HARDWARE As broadcast and telecoms technologies have converged, there has been a need for network technology expertise tailored for clients looking to transport video in large quantities. The combination of telco and broadcast engineering knowledge has created a niche area of expertise that several vendors are now profiting from. One of the key players in this field is Swedish manufacturer Net Insight (Stand A21). The company has already secured key deals with Tata Communications and the European Broadcast Union (EBU). Last month the company also announced an extension to its existing deal with international media management and content delivery firm GlobeCast. The company’s network is based on Net Insight’s Nimbra platform and currently transports 10 million hours of video a year. In order to accommodate the additional traffic that it will handle this year due to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa the firm will be re-enforcing its infrastructure. The order includes a number of additional nodes to be installed on site to cope with the additional contribution services for GlobeCast customers. An additional media network will also be installed to serve an unnamed broadcaster. The network will manage amount of uncompressed and compressed video channels on a number of different formats. “The Nimbra platform offers the most efficient and flexible contribution and distribution platform,” according to Fredrik Tragardh, CEO, Net Insight. “We’re delighted to support GlobeCast’s ability to win new business and to once again transport our customer’s mission critical services like the World Cup.” Fredrik Tragardh, CEO, Net Insight. 028 APRIL 2010

STB HARDWARE As set top boxes (STB) play an increasingly important role in determining the scope of an operator’s services, finding the right partner becomes increasingly crucial. In the Middle East the emergence of triple play services in more markets means new business for STB manufacturers. The creation of additional encrypted platforms by premium sports channels creates additional new opportunities for the STB industry. Humax (Stand H15) recently demonstrated the opportunities available after snapping up the exclusive contract to provide the ADMC with the STBs for its encrypted satellite-based EPL coverage. STBs are also becoming an increasingly important device for consumers and have evolved from devices that quietly decode TV signals into an integral part of the customer experience.


CAPACITY CROWD The options available to TV stations looking for direct to home (DTH) distribution in the Middle East are plentiful. As bandwidth prices respond to the availability of new satellites, the next capacity contract broadcasters sign could mean big savings. 030 APRIL 2010


he Middle East satellite sector is on the brink of radical change. New contribution services and additional capacity for HD services are driving demand and sending prices upwards. However, the number of dedicated satellites serving the region is set to increase at an average rate of two per year for the next four years, expanding the already abundant options available to broadcasters looking to secure distribution. In theory this flow of new capacity should also bring down prices, meaning finding the right deal could now mean big savings.

SATELLITE OPERATORS ABS ABS currently operates two satellites that it acquired and renamed. Since its original procurement of Koreasat-2 (now ABS-1) the company has grown its revenues by 500 percent.

The company is launching its first new satellite in mid-2012. ABS-2 will include high-powered Ku- and C-band beams and has already signed numerous lease agreements on the new hardware. ABS-2’s Ku-band beam will be split into five spot beams including one dedicated to the Middle East and North Africa, making it a strong contender for broadcasters looking to reach audiences in the Arab world. Arabsat Despite facing increasing competition Arabsat continues to be one of the most important players in the Middle East satellite sector. The company has the most extensive fleet expansion plan that will underpin a large share of the region’s broadcasters in the coming years. The company also provides a number of contribution services and is the platform for the ASBU’s MENOS content exchange programme.


Eutelsat Eutelsat is one of the largest satellite operators broadcasting 3400 channels across the world. Its fleet is well utilised in the Middle East with the capacity it provides crucial to supporting the region’s broadcast industry. The company has also stood out from the crowd recently as an innovator in 3D broadcasting. Its IBC stand last year featured a live 3D transmission of a basketball match in the US. Eutelsat has also broadcast numerous live sporting events in 3D to cinema chains around Europe. Gazprom Perhaps not an obvious choice for broadcasters however, the company has exhibited at the previous four CABSAT exhibitions demonstrating its commitment to serving customers in this region. The company’s three satellites offer C- and Kuband capacity covering Russia, Western Europe and tthe Middle East as well as large parts of central and east e Asia. Globecast Glob www Content Cont management and transmission provider GlobeCast provides satellite capacity to complement the fibre networks, SNG services and playout centres that it provides around the world.

The company effectively provides global satellite coverage via capacity on Eutelsat, SES, Arabsat, Intelsat and many others. Gulfsat In addition to offering coverage on some satellites from the Arabsat and Eutelsat fleets, Gulfsat also offers point-to-point connectivity between the region, Europe and the US. It also has end-to-end playout facilities capable of supporting HD transmissions and providing a high-level of redundancy by transmitting simultaneously from its teleports in Kuwait and Bahrain. The company also runs studio facilities in Kuwait and an SNG truck to support broadcasters covering special events. Hellas Sat Although Hellas Sat’s primary market is in southern and eastern Europe, the firm’s Hellas Sat 2 satellite provides strong coverage over the Middle East. The company uses it wide footprint and the nature of its existing multinational content to position itself as a specialist DTH capacity provider for broadcasters targeting specific ethnic groups or niche markets. It also provides video contribution services and content delivery services to cable headends and teleports for the final leg of transport. Nilesat Nilesat is one of the oldest operators in the region and, together with Arabsat, dominates the market for DTH capacity in the Middle East.

The volume of capacity available to provide services in the Middle East is set to expand in the coming years, which should reduce prices for customers.


The first of the company’s fifth generation satellites – Arabsat 5a – is scheduled for launch towards the end of this month marking a major milestone in the operator’s development.

CROWDED SKIES At present there are two ‘hotspots’ above the Middle East that provide optimal coverage for DTH services – 7 degrees West and 25.5 degrees East. These are also the positions that dishes on the ground must of course be pointed at. These positions are becoming increasingly cramped with operators frequently renegotiating the distribution of transponders to maximise Yahsat intends to orbit its first satellite to the 52.5 degrees East position. This will allow Yahsat greater coverage over central Asia including Pakistan and Afghanistan, while still being able to reach Western Europe with a separate beam. On the downside, TV viewers are long accustomed to the two present locations and channels moving to Yahsat’s YahLive broadcast services would require viewer’s to reposition existing dishes are add an additional antenna, which could lead to crowded roofs as well. APRIL 2010 031


The demand for capacity and the growing number of satellites providing services to the region means that there is also a rising demand for earth stations to connect users on the ground.

There are several considerations that affect the implementation of an earth station, according to Stephen Burgess, technical director at systems integrator Megahertz Broadcast Systems (MHz). “As a minimum, the location of the antenna has to be checked for view of the sky in the direction of the desired satellites and there has to be enough space for the antenna and the mounting structure,” says Burgess adding that local factors such as building regulations and laws regarding communications equipment must also be investigated. Selecting the correct antenna feed, amplifiers and upconverters for transmitters and low noise amplifiers (or similar) for receivers as well as cross-site cables and monitoring systems is all part of the process of ensuring that a quality link can be established, according to Burgess. This is a process that he says requires careful evaluation during the site survey, an understanding of the local market and the correct choice of product. 032 APRIL 2010



Last year the company became one of the first operators in the region to support multi-channel HD broadcasting. It too has plans for fleet expansion at its 7 degree west position. Nilesat 201 – scheduled for launch in mid-2010 – will be one the most significant new additions to the Nilesat family expanding the range of services that the company can handle, as well as the volume. SES Astra SES Astra and its SES World Skies subsidiary have numerous interests in the Middle East satellite sector. As well as being a partner in Yahsat’s YahLive DTH service, the firm also serves the region from a number of its own satellites. Last month the company launched Astra 3B to the 23.5 degrees east position. The satellite will operate a 12-transponder Ku-band spot beam for the Middle East. Noorsat Bahrain-based Noorsat delivers almost 200 channels. The company claims to have several unique selling points. It was one of the first privatelyowned satellite operators to emerge in the region. Through its leased space segment with Eutelsat, the firm offers capacity at both the Arab world’s hotspots at 7 degrees west and 25.5 degrees east. YahLive Although YahLive – a partnership between Abu Dhabi’s Yahsat and SES Astra – is the newcomer to the region’s satellite market and has no services online as of yet, its presence is highly significant. Yahsat’s hardware launches – which commence in early 2011 – will represent the first time three locally-owned companies have had satellites serving the region. As this hardware will be dedicated to the region in its entirety it will bring a major boost to the capacity available in the Middle East. TELEPORTS Europe Media Port, Cyprus Europe Media Port (EMP) was named the fastest growing teleport in the world last year after experiencing revenue growth of 120 percent. The company’s Cyprus-based teleport has access to any satellite from 45 degrees west to 90 degrees

east making it ideal for DTH, contribution and other distribution services required by Middle East customers. EMP also provides playout, encryption and ad insertion. Jordan Media City, Jordan One of the most significant transmission centres in the Middle East, Jordan Media City (JMC) is connected to all the major operators in the region as well as being connected to content management firm GlobeCast’s fibre network. The facility transmits more than 200 channels including the pay TV operator ART’s bouquet. JMC is also able to offer a number of additional benefits to clients given its free zone status. M-Three Satcom, Italy M-Three Satcom provides a range of services from its teleport in Milan. It provides permanent satellite services via the Hotbird platform and also offers SNG services for live events in Italy and throughout Europe. The company has diversified its services in recent years and now provides systems integration services for the development of headends and other infrastructure. It has also begun operating as a distributor for several technology vendors. Samacom (du), UAE The Samacom teleport, owned and operated by du Broadcast Services, has grown into one of the busiest teleports in the Middle East. The teleport currently handles more than 160 channels and is still expanding. The Samacom will soon include the headend for the UAE’s DVB-H service. It will also transmit a growing number of HD channels this year as clients take advantage of the HD uplinking and playout capabilities already installed. Telespazio, Italy Italian firm Telespazio operates 25 ground sites including the world’s largest non-military earth station with 90 antennas. Telespazio can provide DTH services via Eutelsat’s Hotbird satellites at 13 degrees east for around 50 TV channels and 20 radio stations. The firm can also provide teleport facilities via its own earth station network and SNG services. It also acts as a teleport systems integrator.

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BUSINESS The confidence and optimism on display at this year’s CABSAT and Satellite MENA shows provided a timely boost for the region’s media and sat-coms industries. Digital Broadcast reviews the key announcements from some of the shows’ upbeat exhibitors.

034 APRIL 2010



espite the treacherous weather condition on the shows’ opening day, both CABSAT and Satellite MENA witnessed a healthy level of traffic. Perhaps more important than the shows’ attendance figures however, was the level of optimism and confidence among exhibitors. Last year’s show coincided with the beginning of the economic downturn’s grip on the region and the atmosphere reflected that. Twelve months later, many of the upgrades and installs that were on hold are now regaining momentum as broadcasters and media companies feel confident enough to again turn their minds to investing in technology. A number of major announcements were made at each show, evidence of the turnaround that will characterise the coming year for the industry. Major manufacturers and operators including Harris, Arabsat, Hitachi and Sony signalled a continuing confidence in the region by exhibiting at the show once again. As well as the return of many of the industry’s major technology providers there were also many first time exhibitors demonstrating confidence in the Middle East’s broadcast sector.

CABSAT 2010 DEBUTANTS VERIMATRIX Conditional access developer Verimatrix made its first appearance at CABSAT off the back of the recent announcement of its deal to secure E-Vision’s cable service in the UAE in parallel with the opera-

tor’s existing conditional access supplier, Viaccess. The company used its local appearance to declare its renewed interest in the Middle East. Verimatrix also supplies CA for Qatari telco Qtel’s IPTV service and is now looking to strengthen its commitment to the region. “This is our first year at CABSAT but I’m sure we’ll be back next year,” said Steve Oetegenn, chief sales and marketing officer, Verimatrix. “The news of the Etisalat deal has created a buzz. This region represents a really exciting opportunity for us. The Etisalat deal is particularly good news. They have a global footprint and are looking at content delivery on multiple devices, which lends itself to our software based approach to CA.” Although the company’s two regional deployments are IPTV, Oetegenn does not limit the company’s ambition in the region to this platform alone. “You can’t really draw a line now between DVB and IPTV, IP will underpin all video delivery eventually,” said Oetegenn. Verimatrix currently supplies content security for 12 million IPTV subscribers worldwide.

Steve Oetegenn, chief sales and marketing officer, Verimatrix.

Laurent Seve, marketing manager, BCE.

BCE European broadcast service provider BCE has made its first appearance at CABSAT as it looks to break into the Middle East market. The Luxembourg-based company, which offers post-production and OB services as well as playout, transmission and digital archiving, will be looking to offer its expertise as an engineering consultancy to clients in the region.

HOT PRODUCT DIGITAL RAPIDS TOUCHSTREAM Digital Rapids demonstrated its TouchStream portable streaming unit on local distributor MediaCast’s stand. The self-contained box can be used to supply live feeds for IPTV, 3G or Flash applications as well as MPEG-2 and H.264 formats. The touchscreen display allows users to begin streaming with four button pushes. Settings can be programmed and saved for different applications to save time for future use. TouchStream can be used for a number of applications including remote news coverage, sporting events, corporate communications and others. The box also includes some graphics overlay capabilities to add branding and logos to outgoing streams.

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While the Gulf has stolen the limelight in recent years with the launch of several new media clusters, the Jordanian-Saudi Company for Satellite Broadcasting (JASCO) offers an alternative base of operations for TV stations and production houses alike.

Wajdi Alsharaiheh, technical team leader, JASCO.

The facility commenced operations in November last year with 11 channels playing out initially and capacity for 18 in total. “We will have capacity on Arabsat in the next three to four months that will add another 18 channels,” said Wajdi Alsharaiheh, technicial team leader, JASCO. “We are also in the process of building some studios that will open in the next few months. We can offer channel the full range of services including RF, muxing and graphics. During CABSAT we have been talking to potential new broadcasters as well as talking with technology partners to help us throughout our expansion period,” added Alsharaiheh. JASCO currently has capacity on Nilesat broadcasting a number of channels including Al Athar and Nasem TV. 036 APRIL 2010



“The media industry is bursting at the seams in the Middle East,” said Laurent Seve, marketing manager, BCE. “There are a lot of great projects going on such as twofour54 and Dubai Studio City. With these there comes a lot of opportunities,” added Seve. “We operate in many areas of the industry but we think it is through our expertise as an engineering consultancy that we can offer a lot to the region.” The company includes technical staff with experience in IT, telecommunications, software development and systems integration. “I think this combination could be very attractive. What we have to do now is to get in touch with clients in the region and learn how to operate here.” HP IT giant HP made its debut as a standalone exhibitor at CABSAT as it looks to expand it presence in the broadcast sector. The company has operated within the industry for several years and has appeared on its partner stands at the show in the past but is now looking to adopt a more prominent position in what is becoming an increasingly important vertical market. “The explosion of digital media in this region means it has become harder for broadcasters to harness their content and get the true business value from it,” said Stefan Wolfs, server and storage business development manager, HP. “We see broadcasters looking to simplify their workflows.”

HP’s Yan Bergeron.

The company has already forged strong industry ties with application developers such as Avid and Autodesk and is the only certified hardware partner for both. “We are already the largest editing workstation provider and now we are seeing the local branches of these application providers looking to tie-up with us in the region,” claims Yan Bergeron, who manages HP’s Middle East workstation business. “We work with a lot of systems integrators and distributors and when they see us at their vertical trade show it brings about a lot of trust in us as a partner moving forward.”


Naresh Subherwal, president Asia Pacific and Middle East, Snell.

SNELL MERGER WAS ‘COMPLETE SUCCESS’: EXEC The integration of Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel was a complete success according to an executive at the merged entity, Snell.

The deal was finalised during last year’s CABSAT and formally announced at NAB in Las Vegas the following month. “The merger of the two companies has been a complete success,” said Naresh Subherwal, president Asia Pacific and Middle East, Snell speaking at this year’s CABSAT. Before the merger, both companies had been active in the Middle East for 20 years. Now the new company is looking build on this experience in the region. “We have invested in this market with some senior appointments and we have also been extending our

relationships with partners here. The Middle East has suffered a slight slow-down in the past 12 months but this year’s CABSAT has been really upbeat and there is a sense that many of the projects that were put on hold, will once again be pursued,” added Subherwal. According to Andy Giles, head of sales in the Middle East and Africa for Snell, the merger was well received in the region. “There a strong base of installed hardware in the region and the transition to HD has driven sales. The Kahuna production switcher has performed well here,” said Giles.


Harris’ Middle East MD Said Bacho (right) with ADMC’s Ahmed Al Menhali.

HARRIS MARKS FIVE MAJOR MIDDLE EAST DEALS Broadcast technology developer Harris announced five Middle East deals at this year’s CABSAT. At the top of the bill was a deal with Abu Dhabi Media Company to provide a end-to-end tapeless playout system. Harris claims the install will be the first of its kind in the region and is a necessary step as the organisation prepares to launch encrypted sports

channels to support its English Premier League coverage. “We need to move to a more sophisticated level to support our viewers with a multi-platform delivery solution,� said Sarkis Semaan, deputy executive director of broadcast technology and operations, ADMC. “A tapeless workflow is integral to providing this. The project will help link the other parts of the chain including our asset management solution and our restoration project that currently function in isolation,� added Semaan.

did not reveal the value of the deal, which will see OmniGlobe acquire Sat-Comm and its assets in full. “We’re very excited about the opportunities that this acquisition provides,� said David Harper, managing director, OmniGlobe EMEA. “The two companies have worked closely together in the past and combining the operations will ultimately enable us to deliver greater service and products for our customer’s benefit.� The deal is expected to close in mid-2010.

OMNIGLOBE AGREES DEAL TO BUY SAT-COMM Satellite communications provider OmniGlobe Networks announced that it has signed a letter of intent to purchase systems integrator Sat-Comm. The announcement at the show

David Harper, managing director, OmniGlobe EMEA.

TALIA EXPANDS MEA CAPACITY; LAUNCHES CONSUMER SERVICES Satellite and communications service provider Talia announced that it was adding capacity to its existing networks in the Middle East and Africa as well as developing new networks and launching consumer internet services. The company’s Middle East and Africa sales director, Ramiz Abbawi, announced new Talia networks serving the region would be launched on the SES World Skies NSS-12 satellite and an expansion of its existing capacity on Loral Skynet’s Telstar 12.



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As the industry prepares for the mammoth NAB exhibition in Las Vegas, Digital Broadcast looks at some of the technology highlights that will be displayed on the showfloor, with vendors vying for business in the post-recession market.



Content archive and storage management software developer SGL will give a world debut to its support for Avid Interplay 2.1 at NAB this year. SGL claims that its FlashNet software is the only third party archive management software that has been through Avid’s full quality assurance testing. SGL will also demonstrate the integration of FlashNet with the Final Cut Server environment for the first time in the US. FlashNet is also available directly from Avid.

The highlight of monitoring equipment manufacturer Wohler’s stand will be the first showing of its AMP2-16V Series 16-channel audio/video monitor. The dual 4.3-inch OLED version of its AMP2-16 audio monitor now includes dedicated video monitoring, as well as the Free Mix and Dolby Zoom functions. Dolby Zoom, when applied to all installed digital modules with a Dolby upgrade, switches between the standard overview of monitored channels and monitoring of the decoded channels of an available Dolby stream without the need to enter any menus. The unit’s right hand screen offers simultaneous metering of up to 16 channels from a variety of input and output cards.

Stand N4511

Stand N1520


Switcher developer Utah Scientific will demonstrate its new family of I/O boards for the UTAH-400 router at this year’s NAB. The new boards allow users to choose MADI audio and IP video input and output options as well as the existing analogue and digital video and audio options available, which include 3Gb/s support. The routing switchers include the full range of analogue, digital and HDTV systems and high density frame sizes (including 144 frame in 9RU, 288 frame in 16RU and 528 frame in 20 RU). The company will also show its new internal squeeze and graphics capabilities for the MC-4000 master control switcher and offer a preview of a new control panel option for its entire family of master control processors.

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Stand N3023

ROSS VIDEO Ross Video will give a North American debut to its Vision Octane production switchers. The Octane range offers eight MLEs, 35 full screen HD animation stores, 24 channels of 3D DVE with warp capability, 96 inputs, 48 outputs, 32 full keyers, 12 keyers on the aux bus out puts and a further 12 DVE key combiners giving what the company calls an unprecedented total of 56 keyers. The Vision production switcher range is now 3G compatible as standard. The company will also debut the latest software for its XPression 3D HD character generator. Version three of the software includes an enhanced MOS workflow integration and 3D compatibility.

Stand N3807




Broadcast Traffic Systems (BTS) will introduce a Rich Internet Application (RIA) enhanced version of its Enterprise traffic management system. Enterprise is a scalable application comprising a number of modules required to handle traffic management and advertising sales. The system can be used in terrestrial, cable, satellite and IPTV broadcast networks. “Rich Internet Applications are ideal for use with Internet-connected remote-hosted systems,� says Craig Buckland, technical director of BTS. “With RIA at the front end, Enterprise can deliver a highly intuitive and pictorial user interface while retaining fast performance. RIA also adds the ability to run within a Webbased infrastructure,� claims Buckland. Enterprise can be integrated with automation systems and allows minimal staff to manage multiple channels.



Stand N1820

Snell will launch a host of new products and upgrades to its existing portfolio at this year’s NAB. A new playout solution that runs on the company’s Morpheus automation system and Morpheus ICE. Snell claims the new product will offer unmatched system density while offering a fully resilient architecture. The reduction in hardware also reduces the power consumption. Version two of the Morpheus automation system will also debut at this year’s NAB. Another major product launch – the Archangel Ph.C - HD – could also attract attention from Middle East visitors. The restoration and conversion product could prove popular with the growing number of broadcasters that are refreshing and digitising existing archives. Archangel includes real time dirt, dust, grain, noise, scratch, instability and flicker removal. The new HD version of Archangel can deliver content in 1080p without compromising picture quality or clarity.





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How many of the media plans you’re working on now include VOD?




How much more spend do you expect to allocate to online VOD in 2010?





SOURCE: Web TV Enterprise


Online video advertising is set for continued growth as media planners commit an increasing proportion of their spending to the medium, although much of this money could be drawn directly from TV budgets. he most recent instalment of Web TV Enterprise’s online video advertising report in the UK has found continued growth in the use of web-based video advertising. The bi-annual survey of media buyers found that 41.5 percent of respondents were using online VOD-based advertising to deliver incremental reach to TV campaigns. Less than 12 percent identified brand awareness as the main goal of this advertising. None of those surveyed said that the sole aim of their VOD ad purchases was to gain a direct response. When asked what proportion of the media plans they were currently working on included a VOD element, 62 percent of respondents said half or more. Almost one third of those asked said that 75 percent or more of the plans they were drawing up at present included a budget for spending with online video services. “The size of the audience now engaging with web video – short- or long-form – offers TV advertisers significant reach on the web,” says Jamie Estrin, managing director, Web TV Enterprise. “Combine reach with the ability to target specific audiences, channels and content environments and it is no surprise that TV advertisers are allocating more spend to online VOD.”

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20 million Size of online video audience in the UK.


The average spend on web video campaigns by media buyers in the UK.

The frequency of these web-based on-demand campaigns has also increased with half of VOD buyers claiming to have run between five and 20 campaigns during the past six months. The previous edition of the survey found that only 40 percent of media buyers had run between one and five campaigns in the previous 18 months. Another positive indicator for the future of advertising based around online video library services was signalled when media buyers were asked how much they expect this spending to grow during 2010. An impressive 76.3 percent anticipated a growth in the allocation of spending for VOD of upto 50 percent or more (including 13.3 percent who said more than 50 percent). Of those remaining, 22.2 percent expected it to remain the same and only 1.5 percent thought it would decrease. Despite the optimism surrounding the format, there remains several significant barriers to entry. As with the previous survey, the most significant of these problems is the lack of measurement available to quantify the effectiveness of the medium. The size of the audiences available was noted as problematic by nine percent of the respondents and the ability (or lack of) to target this audience was identified as a barrier by ten percent.

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