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www.tvbeurope.com

Business, insight and intelligence for the media and entertainment industry

May 2017

Back to the

Future? Contemplating the media landscape in 2017 and beyond

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

MediaTech 360

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TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

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Welcome EDITORIAL Content Director: James McKeown jmckeown@nbmedia.com Editor: Jenny Priestley jpriestley@nbmedia.com Senior Staff Writer: James Groves jgroves@nbmedia.com Contributors: George Jarrett, Neal Romanek, Philip Stevens Sales Manager: Peter McCarthy pmccarthy@nbmedia.com +44 207 354 6025 Senior Account Manager: Richard Carr rcarr@nbmedia.com +44 207 354 6000 Digital Director: Diane Oliver Human Resources Director Lianne Davey Head of Production: Alistair Taylor Managing Director: Mark Burton Designer: Kelly Sambridge kelly@excitingcreative.com US Sales: Michael Mitchell mjmitchell@broadcast-media.tv +1 (631) 673 0072

A virtual future? H

ere we are then, at the start of a journey which could lead who knows where…It seems to me that I join

TVBEurope at a time of immense change

within the industry. Just a few years ago we were all watching TV through satellite dishes or cable, now it’s all about OTT platforms while the future seems to be live-streaming. For me, it feels as though momentum is with virtual reality. In recent weeks we’ve

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VR for the first time at BVE in February, I

reality on TVBEurope’s website – from Ridley Scott’s production company launching a VR-dedicated division to Channel 4 investing in new VR firm Parable. Having experienced came away feeling really excited about this

TVBEurope is published 12 times a year by by NewBay Media Europe Ltd, The Emerson Building, 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU

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“For me, it feels as though momentum is with virtual reality”

claim that TV ‘doesn’t need to bother too much about VR in the next two years.’ VR is obviously a subject we’ll be discussing during our MediaTech 360 event and we’re delighted to be featuring a preview of the

new technology. It helped that the VR film

two-day summit in this issue. Co-chairmen

I watched was based at Anfield, home of

Simon Frost and Niall Duffy pick out some

© Copyright NewBay Media Europe Ltd 2017

Liverpool Football Club, who I’ve supported for

of the key panels and speakers during our

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of TVBE are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems.

almost 30 years. But aside from that, and once

two-day summit. Obviously there’ll be lots to

I got used to it, I found VR to be an incredibly

discuss, not least the General Election taking

exciting experience! I was a little upset though

place on the second day, we couldn’t have

when I went straight to a panel with the DPP

timed it better! n

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where they announced their key predictions

Jenny Priestley

for 2017 – including the somewhat surprising

Editor

SECTION EDITORS

Philip Stevens Production and Post editor

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Neal Romanek Technology editor

George Jarrett Business editor

19/04/2017 18:28


4

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

In this issue 10 MediaTech 360

Conference chairs Simon Frost and Niall Duffy look ahead to TVBEurope’s inaugural MediaTech 360 event

15 28 Feature

Production and Post

Philip Stevens discovers the winning Formula for Channel 4’s F1 coverage

SAM launched its Academy earlier this year. James Groves investigates the developments

30 Business

32 Technology

George Jarrett visits the DPP’s ‘Twogether’ event to celebrate the partnership’s second birthday

Neal Romanek investigates how Sony Pictures Television unified and future-proofed its array of channels under one roof

38

38 TVBEverywhere

Following Telestream’s acquisition of IneoQuest, Jenny Priestley speaks to CEOs Dan Castles and Calvin Harrison about the latest developments, and plans for the future

46 Data Centre

Genius Digital’s Giles Cottle evaluates “the $375 million conundrum”

04 TVBE May 17 Contents_v2 JG_final.indd 1

Audio

40

PSNEurope editor David Robinson gives his thoughts on Prolight + Sound 2017 in Frankfurt

21/04/2017 12:26


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6

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Opinion and Analysis

Jumping the gap

André Kamps, CEO, Elements, looks at integrating functionality and simplicicity

D

Unfortunately, however, many makers of MAM

and you won’t be happy with a system that

systems seem to neglect the strenuous workflow

requires intensive training for every potential

processes broadcast and post production

user, as you might end up being dependent

facilities have to cope with every day.

on a few users that are actually able to manage

Demanding the fulfillment of complicated set up and client configuration procedures at

the system. Another important issue to make sure of is that

ue to tight deadlines and a considerable

the beginning – and, later on, requirement

the MAM provides a professional full-text search

amount of stress on a daily basis, video

compliance with predefined media asset

engine, as many projects require tremendous

professionals in the broadcast and post

management processes when managing the

amounts of data to be reviewed, pre-selected

production industry don’t have the time to deal

system on a daily basis – is basically the opposite

and annotated, oftentimes by numerous

with ‘complicated’. Instead, simplicity and speed

of what users want and need.

people. Locating particular media files or video

are crucial and desirable – and features that increase collaboration and accelerate their daily business. Modern media workflows in the post production and broadcast field have become more and more complex and intricate, and

‘Users don’t need more gimmicks and gadgets, they need purposeful features that simplify and accelerate their daily tasks’

collaboration among the various workstations

clips even by simply searching for comments from other users can enhance and accelerate communication and approval processes. Also verify that the MAM is platform-agnostic and fully integrated, without the requirement to pay for client licenses. Since the media assets are living on your

– as well as communication between the

media storage already, an embedded task

team members – can be a challenge. This

While many of the sophisticated (and expensive)

manager that allows for setting up tailored

applies even more when editors and artists

MAM solutions provide a multitude of features,

event triggers such as automatically generating

work remotely, accessing the same project files

gimmicks and gadgets (that nobody seems to

proxy files, or distributing email notifications

simultaneously from a multitude of different

actually use!), some of the more cost-effective

to dedicated users, as soon as changes have

applications, constantly creating new versions.

solutions often lack useful and practical features

been applied, comments have been added

It can make managing and controlling those

that streamline processes and provide the

or the particular project has reached the next

media assets rather difficult.

flexibility users are looking for.

step in the approval process can be extremely

A large number of MAM solutions available

When you are looking for a professional

helpful as well.

today provide a comprehensive range of

MAM solution, check first and foremost how

features that help to defeat the data chaos and

easy the handling is. Simplicity is key. Not

never use, and don’t seek for fancy gimmicks

manage media assets efficiently.

every graphical user interface is fully intuitive,

that are not useful in your daily business. n

06 TVBE May17 Opinion_v2 JG_final.indd 10

Don’t pay for complicated features you will

20/04/2017 14:50


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8 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Opinion and Analysis

The scale-out digital production opportunity By David Sallak, vice president and CTO, M&E, Panasas

M

edia formats grow larger and more complex with every incremental upgrade release of a device or

application. What options exist for production companies when it comes to getting work done, given this amount of format fragmentation and workflow change? Post production environments must invest in platform upgrades and adapt data pipelines just to keep pace with the surge in new media formats and creative capabilities. Each step our industry takes to support new filters and looks, effects and storylines has also placed pressure on the facility to do more with what it already has. Any system admin with history in this business can look at what they’ve managed over time, and the most painful point

capacity and parallel access. Most shared-

To scale-out the metadata portion of storage

of the business has been a migration event – the

access storage for creative teams is designed

requires adding compute within the storage

time when older technology could no longer be

to scale-up one or two of these three vectors.

architecture to handle the increase in aggregate

upgraded enough to keep up with new formats

A typical example occurs when expanding a

client access to data. Most scale up storage

and performance requirements.

SAN with more disks/arrays, resulting in more

has a controller server acting as the traffic

capacity and more bandwidth. However, the

director, with a backup controller server acting

facilities replace the old with the new, it can be

improvements are generally only experienced

as the failover. The traditional design is capable

described as scale-up. This means that portions

if the number of clients stays the same – the

of achieveing high availability, but surprisingly

of individual components improve (scale-up),

storage is scaled up to enhance the experience

enough, most storage vendors have attempted

but the next performance bottleneck is likely

of an existing number of users.

very little when it comes to scaling the compute

When computers get faster and post

to be exposed. Most technology can only be

A scale out storage platform is engineered

within the controller part of the architecture.

improved along one or two vectors of their

to support all three vectors of scale – not only

Some storage vendors offer scale-out via

design paradigm, such as CPU performance or

throughput and capacity, but the complete

clustering to traditional scale up performance

disk capacity. At a certain point, they must be

end-to-end scale of adding more users and more

and throughput designs. Performance-based

replaced since the original equipment lacks the

powerful applications and media management

clustered storage supports real-time workflows,

ability to scale in all the necessary areas to stay

systems that insist on accessing more assets and

– such as video editing and streaming playback

in use as the primary production platform.

providing status and availability at the same

– in digital production environments as they

In some cases, the emergence of cloud

time. This superior approach will provide agility

are modern scale-out storage architectures

resources for burst workloads can help, but

and reliability, as emerging UHD, VR and other

that are capabale of expanding easily along

many concerns around availability, cost, and

immersive workflows encroach upon traditional

all three-scale vectors.

maturity continue to impact the ability to build

media delivery operations.

a cloud-only workflow for media production.

The constant challenge with business growth

Avoiding the pain of data migration is a clear goal that should be expected from storage

A foundation of data processing made from

is taking on new productions while delivering

technology, and scale-out offers a way to

modern, agile on-premise components can

existing ones. The addition of more users drives

overcome this challenge. A modern scale-out

scale-out the needs for bandwidth, capacity

organisational migration events, since most

architecture can avoid the painful scheduled

and workflow as the cloud continues to evolve

shared-access storage struggles to support

outages due to data migrations in addition

to address the time and cost of large payload

greater amounts of parallel user access

to adding capacity and performance on the

workflows common to media production.

compared to the initial design specification.

fly to meet ever-increasing production needs.

Add an asset management system, and

Maintaining availability of the data while it is

facility has a core and ties into many

everyone will agree that overall storage I/O is

migrated from one-generation platforms to

components. Part of the modern media core

not only about high performance – it’s about

another is a core tenant of scale-out storage,

is the shared-access storage piece, addressing

more aggregate performance for more users

and a final benefit to scaling out all three vectors

the three common scale vectors of bandwidth,

accessing more files in parallel than ever before.

of shared storage architecture. n

Like the human body, the media production

08 TVBE May17 Opinion with tint_v2 JG_final.indd 8

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10

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Feature

Evolving together MediaTech 360 is almost upon us. James McKeown, content director, NewBay, looks ahead to the inaugural event

5th – 9th June 2017, Central London, UK

Ensuring positive change By Simon Frost, industry expert - internet, media and telecoms, and chairman of the MediaTech 360 Summit, Day One

I

am honoured to be chairing and

to address. All providers of television content,

moderating the first day of TVBEurope’s

services and connectivity have to rapidly

new MediaTech 360 event. As a previous

accelerate their digital propositions that

speaker at the TVBEurope 2020 events

leverage data insights, machine learning and

while the head of media marketing and

analytics, combined with agility enabling

communications at Ericsson, I shared insights

cloud-based approaches that result in a

from my specific industry-wide research

continual focus on delighting the end-user/

O

projects that looked into global viewing

viewer. We are only mid-way through this

urs is an industry in the grip of

behaviour, and also an industry outlook called

transformation and have so much to learn

profound change. The days of legacy

Media Vision 2020 that predicted some of

from adjacent industries, while discovering

systems, hardware, and ‘traditional’

the future for media, and how to address

those core values of media that have

broadcast technology are falling to the past,

that vision for success. The TVBEurope team

sustained television for over 50 years. Media

increasingly being replaced by IT and IP-

have a strong track record of curating the

has the luxury of the knowledge that in an

based infrastructures that will become the new

needed thought leadership to enable a better

all-digital ecosystem, the most compelling

standard. At the same time, the disruptive forces

understanding of our industry’s evolution.

programming can reach global audiences,

The big picture outlook is a vision of a

but so much of the established value chain

of emergent technology, new market players, and consumption trends are adding layers of

networked society, where globally connected,

is up for renegotiation, and so many new

complexity for all industry stakeholders.

digital, always-on consumers are ever more

technologies create such different ways of

fickle and selective in responding to global

working and thinking.

It is within this changeable, fast-moving environment that entities from all disciplines of

influential trends. This phenomenon is already

what we once termed the ‘broadcast’

a huge challenge for every mature industry

With a view to addressing much of this disruption; the first day of MediaTech 360 will

spectrum are burdened with devising and in some cases re-writing their technical and operational strategies. Safeguarding for the short term, future-proofing for tomorrow. As independent media publishers whose traditional backbone has ‘analogue services’ (print publishing) written all over it, we too face similar hurdles, challenges, and therein, opportunities. It’s with some comfort that we approach this uncertain future in collaboration with the industries we serve: end users, service providers, regulating bodies. We are evolving together. MediaTech 360 is the latest stage in that evolution; an independent forum for all components of the industry to come together to try to make sense of the current state of industry affairs, and plot a strategic vision for the future of our market. I know I say this on an annual basis, but this year’s agenda really is the most forward-looking we’ve been bold enough to put together, and boasts by far the best speaker lineup we’ve had the privilege of assembling. To introduce each day’s sessions in more detail, it’s my pleasure to welcome our chairs for this year’s summit: Niall Duffy, chairperson for Day Two; and firstly, Simon Frost, who will preside over the opening day’s agenda. n

10 11 12 TVBE May 17 MediaTech_v4 JG_final3.indd 54

Simon Frost, MediaTech 360 Summit Day One chair

21/04/2017 16:25


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

11

Feature establish the current state of transformation

Having started Day One with a business outlook,

Having established the industry business

with a keynote from a prominent broadcaster,

we will move into the technology drivers that

trends, outlook and drivers, the role of IP in

hearing their outlook on the industry and the

are creating change. Beyond the well-told

workflows and enablers we will pivot towards

most influential trends they are dealing with.

shift to internet video IP distribution, we will look

the consumer adoption of new content formats

at the less mature area of IP in the acquisition

and look at eSports. A respected industry panel

and production workflows.

of experts, analysts and broadcasters will discuss

Following this will be an industry panel of respected analysts where we will get to the hard data on just how impactful industry shifts

Created specifically to address the issues

this rapidly emerging format and debate its

are and the reality of change. I will be looking

surrounding this, the Alliance for IP Media

role alongside traditional sports coverage and

to have these experts bring balance to the

Solutions (AIMS) is bringing broadcasters,

differences in viewer demands. With sports

‘hype versus reality’ of disruption, and yet not

technology vendors and industry standards

content the most valuable and demanding for

be shy about where they see the needed

organisations together to eliminate

both production and distribution, I will be asking

immediacy of action.

fragmentation and maximise hardware and

the panel whether this new format can reach

software interoperability. I am delighted that

similar levels any time soon.

‘I am confident that MediaTech 360 is the natural progression to ensure, as an industry, we share experiences and drive forward positive change’ As an industry influencer, I have used strategic thinking following a simple framework of three

Mike Cronk, chairman of the board of AIMS,

Wrapping-up Day One and providing a

will deliver a keynote update on this open

technology-oriented connection to Day Two,

alliance and its member’s progress.

I will have the pleasure of handing over to the

We will follow up with an insightful panel

Day Two chairman Niall Duffy, CMO of Virtual AI.

discussion where Mike, vendor CTO’s and

Niall will moderate a panel looking at broader

others will discuss the status, interop and

disruptive technologies and their impact – AR,

progress more deeply. I will be looking to

VR and mobile production. Niall will take the

have the panel make clear what they

outcomes of this discussion into Day Two of

believe must be achieved in 2017.

MediaTech 360.

The afternoon will continue on the IP-enabler

I am confident that MediaTech 360 is the

interconnected points; technology drivers/

theme with a presentation on IP technology

natural progression to ensure, as an industry,

enablers, business model impact/evolution

in cloud workflows from a leading vendor,

we share experiences and drive forward

and consumer behavioural trends. These

and then an IP case study from Michel De

positive change. I look forward to seeing you

interconnected aspects influence one-another

Wolf, director, DWESAM Engineering, most

there and please do not hesitate in contacting

deeply, and therefore fit perfectly for my

recently jointly awarded at IBC2016 for the

me in advance with the hottest questions you

approach to chairing this event.

VRT-EBU LiveIP studio project.

want addressed. n

Media’s brave new world By Niall Duffy, CMO Virtual AI, and chairman of the MediaTech 360 Summit, Day Two

T

he MediaTech360 Summit is a significant

That is the context of the second day of

have a dedicated session on the topic, covering

new addition to the events diary in

the conference. We will start by looking at

innovations such as IBM Watson to practical

2017, and it is a great honour to be the

technology trends that will affect us in the near

applications of AI in broadcast.

chairman on Day Two of the conference. The conference’s heritage has been solidly

future, with views from ITV, the DTG and media specialists MTM.

in the world of broadcast, but the branding of the event marks two key departures from the past: firstly it recognises that the world of media technology and workflow is far greater than just broadcast, and secondly it emphasises new technology, and indeed new forms of consumer

The prospect of AI could fundamentally alter how we work, and while the threat of robots replacing jobs may be headline-grabbing,

‘MediaTech 360 will help set the technology, operational and strategic agenda for many going into IBC in September’

technology, is changing the way that we work.

the real impact will be more in how AI and robotic automation will enhance our current operational processes, delivering greater speed and flexibility. We like to think of ourselves as a creative industry, but the irony is that so much of our operations and workflows are manual,

We are now seeing the second wave of

repetitive and, at times, unnecessarily frustrating.

digital transformation – file-based workflows

AI offers to deliver on the original promise of file-

represented the first. This first wave focused on

As ever, cloud will be a topic, but I think it will

based workflows, which was to allow us to focus

digitising tape-based processes, but in doing

be less about “to cloud or not to cloud”, and

on the more interesting business of creating

so, it kept many analogue procedures and

much more about the new workflows and

compelling stories, rather than the logistics of

practices in place. The second will push the

technologies that a cloud-connected world

producing them.

boundaries on how we work, not just how we

will enable, from remote production to Internet

move content.

of Things. AI is one such key trend, and we will

10 11 12 TVBE May 17 MediaTech_v4 JG_final3.indd 55

AI is just one element of technology change which can feel like it will represent an

21/04/2017 16:25


12 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Feature

5th – 9th June 2017, Central London, UK

existentialist threat – at times, it seems there

from long-term existentialism to current-day

may be a few meteors heading our way. The

practicality with a keynote executive panel

next sessions dive deeper into this topic, with

on how media organisations are dealing

a session named ‘TV is not dead, it is reborn’,

with their daily operational challenges.

offering a suitably diverse panel from Google,

The panel will look at how the recent and

the DPP, and innovative cloud start-up Sundog

emerging technology changes are affecting

Media. Historically, broadcasters have been

the fundamentals of media infrastructure,

the storytellers and the curators, but that’s

and where key investment decisions will be

changing, and probably too quickly for many

made. This is a heavy-hitter panel, at the end

established media companies. The panel will

of a heavy hitting conference, with top

look at whether traditional TV, from both a

executives from the major players BT Sport

production and distribution perspective, is being

and Ericsson, the dynamic and innovative

eroded by newer OTT content companies,

Freesat and UKTV, which has been steadily

such as Amazon and Netflix, and the growth

emerging out of the cable and satellite channel

of online social platforms. The panel will also

market into a fast-growing and important UK

look at the role and increased importance of

media operator.

user-generated content and non-traditional content, i.e. content that does not come out of a traditional broadcast commissioning process. This session is followed by one that looks at

Niall Duffy, MediaTech 360 Day Two chair

It’s a compelling schedule. What will you get out of it? Well, you may not be able to predict the future, but you will be able to

market changes, YouView, an organisation that

understand how to prepare for it.

the broadcasters’ strategic responses. It will

lives on the cusp of the old and the new, and

provide perspectives from Channel 4, who have

DMC, a facility that has reinvented broadcast

operational and strategic agenda for many

always remained on the front foot in the face of

and digital delivery. In closing, we come down

going into IBC in September. n

More directly, it will help set the technology,

in

eb

W

COntact details

Sales Manager Peter McCarthy +44 (0) 207 354 6025 pmccarthy@nbmedia.com

TVB Europe Webinar HP.indd 1

10 11 12 TVBE May 17 MediaTech_v4 JG_final3.indd 56

s

Content creation, marketing, and delivery: TVBEurope offers the platform to educate our audience through your webinar. Our position in the industry will allow you to present your content via interaction with a global audience while generating qualified leads

ar

Thought leadership meets lead generation The benefits of a webinar include: • TVBEurope will act in the capacity of an independent facilitator and moderator • Topics of discussion to be set by the client or in collaboration with TVBEurope • Can take the form of either a Powerpoint presentation or a webcast • Unlike a 1-2-1 conference it is not restricted by geographical or temporal factors • Live Q&A session to encourage dialogue • Ideal for lead generation • Ongoing promotion following the webinar’s transmission

Senior Account Manager Richard Carr +44(0) 20 7354 6000 rcarr@nbmedia.com

Standard webinar marketing campaign utilising three separate NewBay Europe digital broadcast platforms: • 5 x e-blasts • Advertisement on each of the three sites: TVBEurope, TV Technology Europe, and NewBay Connect • Advertisement included on multiple newsletters sent across the three databases • All generated leads to be shared with the client • Follow up correspondence/reminders to all non-attended registrations • Permanent hosting on each of the three sites

US Account Manager Michael Mitchell +1 631 673 0072 mjmitchell@broadcast-media.tv

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YOUR ROADMAP FOR THE GLOBAL MEDIA ECOSYSTEM Africa ■ Asia-Pacific ■ Europe ■ Middle East ■ The Americas ■

www.tvtechglobal.com January 2017

China goes 4K

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Will eSPORTS save TV? www.tvtechglobal.com Jan/Feb 2017

magazine ■ newsletter ■ digital content ■ events ■

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TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

15

Production and Post

Broadcasters from around the world scramble for the best coverage of the races

Winning Formula broadcast live coverage of the races, including

Tailoring the coverage

practice sessions, qualifying and in-depth race

Stewart Veasey, Channel 4’s technical

analysis,” explains F1 editor Mark Wilkin. “In

manager, takes up the story. “We take feeds via

addition, we will show extensive highlights of all

a Riedel Mediornet from the host broadcaster

the remaining Grands Prix in the 2017 season,

and/or Formula One Management (FOM).

anuary saw the announcement that

with all live races and highlights programmes

These consist of race coverage, main and

Channel 4 will cover ten Formula One

available to watch live, as a simulcast, and on-

backup, clean race, various timing and

Grands Prix during the 2017 season.

demand on All 4. All live races will continue to

information pages, plus nine on-boards and

be broadcast without advertising breaks.”

an on-board mix. To supplement that with our

Philip Stevens discovers how Channel 4 will provide free-to-air coverage in the UK

J

The races include the British Grand Prix in July and the Monaco Grand Prix on 28th May –

Wilkin goes on to recall that the 2016 season

own coverage, this season we will be using

the first time this iconic race has been available

was Channel 4’s first broadcast of the Formula

three Sony PXW-X500 SXS radio cameras with

live on free-to-air TV for five years.

One World Championship – with viewership

a Cobham transmitter. In addition, we have a

figures running into many millions for the race

Marshal commentary box camera, and we will

up and highlights of the Australian race. The first

coverage and highlights programmes. “The

be adding a fourth PXW-X500 at Silverstone for

live race came from Bahrain in April.

coverage, produced by Whisper Films, was

the British Grand Prix.”

The coverage started in March with the build

“As part of a three year-deal with Formula One World Championship Limited, Channel 4 will

15 16 TVBE May 17 Prod&Post_F1_v2 JG_final.indd 54

frequently the most watched programme over its time slot.”

The main feed goes via Channel 4’s Ross Carbonite vision mixer. In addition, there

19/04/2017 15:55


16

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Production and Post is a backup feed from FOM – or the host

Channel 4’s coverage includes extensive behind the scenes activity with host Steve Jones

broadcaster – which goes to London via satellite. A Lawo MC56 console handles the audio mix, while graphics comes from Vizrt. Editing is carried out on location using Adobe Premiere. “For the more distant locations, our MCR, server and storage are accommodated in three pods. In Europe, we do a conversion and build a semi-permanent rig in a production vehicle,” states Veasey. “Comms for the complete operation comprises of three talkback channels, covering technical, production and guest, plus four Wisycom IEM transmitters for presenters.”

“The stories are often unfolding as we are on air, so, while planning is essential, being able to react to the moving story is even more important” Stewart Veasey, Channel 4 David Coulthard will provide his expert analysis and commentary at every race exclusively for Channel 4 He goes on, “Technically, everything has to work wirelessly – cameras, microphones, talkback. Our ‘studio’ is the whole of the paddock and pits area, and we need to cover stories from every team. Editorially, the stories are often unfolding as we are on air, so, while planning is essential, being able to react to the moving story is even more important. Keeping all the presenters,

xxxxx xxxxx

commentators and reporters in touch with each other on-air and off-air is also key.”

Cooperation Wilkin adds, “The Formula One paddock is a hugely busy place with many other international broadcasters all vying for the same interviews, space, stories and pictures. We need to be able to work alongside each other and cooperate fully with teams, organisers and other broadcasters, whilst appearing to be effortless moving around the pits and paddock to speak to all the people that matter.” A final word from Stephen Lyle, Channel 4 head of F1: “Following a thrilling first year covering Formula One, we’re delighted to reveal our schedule for the 2017 season. Once again, our team brings extensive coverage of every race. It’s a particular delight to welcome Monaco back to terrestrial TV live, for the first time in five years. And we are just as delighted that Channel 4 will remain the terrestrial TV home of Formula One until 2019.” n

15 16 TVBE May 17 Prod&Post_F1_v2 JG_final.indd 55

19/04/2017 15:55


Save the Date Conference 14 – 18 September 2017 Exhibition 15 – 19 September 2017 RAI, Amsterdam

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Where the entertainment, media and technology industry does business Join over 1,800 exhibitors showcasing the latest technological innovations, 400+ speakers delivering the latest industry insights and 55,000 attendees providing unlimited networking opportunities at IBC’s 50th annual conference and exhibition. Add dates to your diary IBC.org/savethedate Follow us on social media for the latest news and updates #IBCShow

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20/04/2017 17:06


18

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Production and Post

Bringing news to life One of Russia’s news channels has recently upgraded its equipment. Philip Stevens investigates

L

The revamped studio at the LifeNews broadcast centre

“For switching and redundancy, we installed a

The Octopus API allows Life News to integrate the

Platinum Harris matrix switch with a dimension

NRCS more closely with their own developments

switching field of 64 by 64,” continues Ushakova.

and applications, including web platforms,

“Almost all infrastructure was based on Harris

publishing, planning and reporting.

Broadcast (now Imagine Communications)

“The management and engineering teams

equipment. Newsroom as well as studio and on-air

at Studio-Service have proved highly efficient

ife (stylised as L!FE) is a 24/7 breaking news

playout were based on the solution provided by

on previous projects for Russian broadcasters, so

channel station based in Moscow. Launched

the project’s general contractor.”

we are very pleased to be partnering with them

in the Russian capital in September 2013, the

again,” says Octopus Newsroom sales director

company now also operates a sister channel, Life

Upgrade exercise

Gabriel Janko. “They have designed and installed

78, from studio facilities in St Petersburg.

Last year, both channels decided to upgrade their

a completely upgraded newsroom solution for

media complex, including newsroom operations

each location, closely integrated with editing,

new TV studio – including lighting system and

– a project overseen, once again, by Studio-

graphics and playout infrastructure.”

control rooms – ready for the launch,” states

Service. “We started to work on the upgrade

Anastasiia Ushakova, project manager at

in March 2016,” explains Ushakova. “Our main

operates entirely independently, there is the

Moscow systems integrator Studio-Service.

task was to change the existing media complex

option of connecting its respective Octopus 8

“That Moscow studio was equipped with

– which included on-air and studio playout,

systems to allow ready sharing of content between

seven Sony HXC-D70H cameras with Fujinon

MAM system and the VIDI News newsroom

the two sites.

lenses. Six cameras are mounted on Sachtler

system – to more suitable ones. The newsroom

Pedestal C III tripods, while one used an

system we selected was Octopus 8. In fact, our

of newsroom computer software that allows

Egripment TDT 6 crane. Two cameras are

company has had positive experience of Octopus

easy ingest of all incoming source materials such

equipped with Teleview prompters. Vision

NRCS implementation since 2011. The system is

as news agency wires, RSS feeds, emails, SMS

switching in the gallery at that time was

successfully operated on RBC and Tsargrad TV

messages or even faxes. “Such feeds may also

carried out using a Snell Kahuna 2 ME mixer.”

channels in Moscow.”

contain images, video files or audio files.

The new presentation studio at LifeNews Moscow

The playout control suite was also part of the upgrade at LifeNews, Moscow

“In 2012, we were commissioned to build a

Janko reports that although each newsroom

He explains that Octopus 8 is a complete suite

Octopus 8 was the newsroom system selected by LifeNews

18 19 TVBE May 17 Prod&Post_life_v3 JG_final2.indd 54

20/04/2017 16:58


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

19

Production and Post “Octopus 8 can display all content belonging

Other kit

HD 1920x1080 and capable of handling 60 inputs,

to a feed in a single view. A powerful relational

Beyond the newsroom operation, a number of

32 outputs and ten channels of Clipstore, a DHD

database with SQL enables users to achieve

other pieces of equipment were installed as part

52/XC 48 channel audio mixer and, in addition

their goals faster. With its topic-centric workflow,

of the upgrade. These include a SAM Kahuna 4800

to the existing matrix switcher, a further Platinum

Octopus helps different teams within TV, radio

switcher with a Maverick modular panel with full

VX 256x256. n

and online portals work collaboratively on current affairs programmes and news items.” Octopus 8 also provides features such as visual story history and version comparison, plus the ability to separate the spoken script from the technical information. Octopus samples each anchor’s reading speed and then calculates the on-air time accurately as it feeds the teleprompter.

Managing the flow Arseny Kudryavtsev, technical advisor to the Life News CEO, takes up the story. “We integrated Octopus with a flow automation and media asset management, a storage system and XStream EFS system to capture and broadcast from EditShare Geevs. “Combining NRCS Octopus 8 and EditShare allows users of both systems to have a common access to the proxy files and high-resolution media content as well as news blocks and metadata

THIS

through a MOS gateway.” Octopus integration is also performed with a renewed graphic design system based on Avid solutions. These include 4Designer to develop graphics, and TD Control and Maestro7 for managing those graphics in real time. Software integrated with an optical tracking system is applied to the new telescopic crane Supertechno

“Octopus 8 is much higher level NRCS than the one we used before,” states Kudryavtsev. “It is

PE N

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NG

2D and 3D objects in AR.

TS

DI

camera to display an image with any integrated

PATE N

Technocrane 22. The result enables the crane

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flexible in configuration and a very powerful tool that really helped to optimise our workflow. Now we have almost unlimited expansion capabilities. We can very quickly fine-tune the system to create new departments, implement radio and internet broadcasting, configure for our regional branches and so forth. The mobile version of Octopus is very convenient for remote correspondent offices and rooms for announcers.” He goes on, “During 2017, we will use the Octopus for the organisation of a new format of news content delivery based on much greater input from the field – both from our reporters, as well as involving members of the public using our Lifecorr mobile application. We are committed

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20 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Production and Post

Pushing the boundaries In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports’ head of cricket, Philip Stevens discusses various aspects of the modern game’s coverage

F

Long gone are the days when cricket matches would be covered by a four-camera outside broadcast with maybe one or two commentators, and that increase in coverage expectations means that specialist crews are

or Bryan Henderson, heading up

Alongside the matches involving the home

needed. “I talk about being passionate about

Sky Sports’ cricket production team

side, Sky will broadcast the ICC Champions

the game, but the directors must have a similar

is the dream job. “I am extremely

Trophy tournament, which will take place

approach,” emphasises Henderson.

passionate about what I do. Yes, there are

across England and Wales. In addition, viewers

always administrative tasks to be carried

will be able to follow the women’s international

out, but I am also able to be at the sharp

and domestic competitions.

end and be there at the matches – producing the coverage of some games, especially the

The team

Test matches.”

So, with such a busy schedule, how many Sky

Henderson joined Sky in 1998, and

“Switching to a commentary pod was a risk, but it has gone down well and fits our needs perfectly”

producers work under Henderson’s guidance?

progressed to working as a producer on Sky

“There are four producers, including myself,

Sports News three years later. He became part

and three match directors,” he explains.

“Given the nature of coverage today, the

of the broadcaster’s cricket department in

“The number of people working on a game

directors need to be specialists in their craft,

2006 and was appointed to his present post

depends on the importance of the fixture.

and to understand the sport of cricket. We

seven years later.

Obviously, slightly more are needed at a Test

have a top director, Mark Lynch, who gets on

match because of the complexities involved.

so well with our commentators that he almost

busy. In 2017, more hours of coverage will be

From Sky, there are maybe up to eight people,

knows where they are going with their remarks

broadcast than ever before – in all, more than

plus commentators – with the remainder

and pre-empts some of the pictures. For

100 games.

coming from the production company, OB

example, if a bowler has taken six wickets, then

provider and other suppliers.”

that’s the story. Not a fancy crowd shot. I will

That department within Sky Sports is very

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy an extensive schedule of international cricket

Sky’s coverage demands 15 manned

always go for editorial coverage rather than

as England take on South Africa, West Indies

cameras for the main match, plus the specialist

and, for the first time ever on home soil,

‘extras’ such as stump cams, HotSpot, Hawkeye

Ireland,” says Henderson. “In another first, Sky

and so on. In addition, there are cameras in

directors, plus another for the studio coverage.

will broadcast the first day/night Test match

the studio and analyst areas. In total, around

For other games, there is just a single director

in England as part of the Investec West Indies

34 cameras are utilised for a Test match, with a

for the whole match.

Test series.”

few less for other fixtures.

arty pictures.” For Test matches, Sky has two match

Pod perfect Up to 34 cameras are used for cricket coverage on Sky Sports

One of the innovations introduced last season – and one that has proved a resounding success – is the use of a ‘commentary pod’. “We are broadcasting from a bespoke vehicle – like a caravan – at the boundary edge. It was a big decision for us to move away from the more traditional commentary box, high in the stand. The idea was to bring more energy into the commentary and to provide an immediacy of access to players. It was a risk, but it has gone down well and fits our needs perfectly.” In fact, the innovation was nominated for an RTS (Royal Television Society) Award, as well as a Sports Journalism Association Award. But isn’t being at a lower level a handicap to the commentary team? “That’s a good point,” states Henderson. “But the team is supposed to commentate off the monitor – that’s what the

20 21 TVBE May 17 Prod&Post_cricket_v4 JP_final 2.indd 54

20/04/2017 16:59


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

21

Production and Post viewer is seeing, after all. But they enjoy being

become more and more likely in the next few

down there – the atmosphere of being among

years. It is practical to think we will go down

the action.

that route. When we reach a point that the

“They relish seeing the speed of the game

delivery (via a fibre link) from the camera to

from a lower level. And it’s a big deal to have

the broadcaster is absolutely reliable and

the players pop in for a chat during the game.

stable, then the game will be directed from a

They definitely don’t want to go back into the

gallery back at base.

traditional commentary box.”

The truth is, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re in a car park at the match venue or

Moving forward

directing from a gallery.”

So, how does Henderson see the way forward?

The innovative pod brings the commentators closer to the action

A long innings

“Well, we’re always looking to innovate and we have been working with Hawkeye to

“The more that UHD becomes the standard, the more people will take that quality for granted”

improve even further the ball tracking technology,” he explains. Sky have recently announced they will broadcast all four Tests against South Africa in UHD for Sky Q customers and Henderson believes picture quality is key.

Henderson is looking forward to an interesting – yet extremely busy – summer. “England will want to return to the top of the Test rankings, the Champions Trophy is up for grabs on home soil, and England’s women have the World Cup to play for.”

“It’s all very well looking at the gadgets you

He continues, “Since we started participating

use, but at the end of the day, it’s the picture

Of course, remote production is the current

in English cricket in 1990, we have been able

quality that viewers see, and it’s incredibly

‘buzz-word’, especially when it comes to sport.

to build a highly successful team. And while it

important. The more that UHD becomes the

Will that figure in Sky Sports’ plans for cricket

is the senior members who get the credit, it is

standard, the more people will take that

coverage? “Delivery is so reliable now, with

a dedicated and talented group of individuals

quality for granted, so we always need to

links to and from the OB,” says Henderson. “I

who help to make our coverage on Sky Sports

give the best.”

think remote production is something that will

achieve the highest possible quality.” n

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20/04/2017 17:26


22

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Production and Post

Lithuanian National broadcaster gets smart studio solution

THE STUDIO IN 2017 6th June 2017, Sway Bar, Holborn, London Sponsored by

Tickets are FREE! Register your interest at www.psnpresents.com HOSTED BY

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PSNPresents takes place as part of MediaTech 360 5th – 9th June 2017, Central London, UK

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DISRUPTION | TRANSFORMATION | EVOLUTION A WEEK OF STRATEGIC EVENTS EXPLORING THE FUTURE OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

BOOK YOUR PLACE TODAY

For more about this event visit www.media-tech360.com Follow us on

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22 23 24 TVBE May17 Prod&Post_v4 JG_final2.indd 54

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@PSNEurope 21/04/2017 12:58

21/04/2017 14:26


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

23

Production and Post

I

Sarah James looks back at LRT’s studio makeover

n recent years, there has been a major shift

biggest integration companies in the Baltics

Its wooden elements give a feeling of cosiness

region, includes virtual solutions control and

and a honeycomb pattern – the colour of which

graphics rendering from Vizrt, as well as robotic

can be adjusted, and has been etched into

dolly-based camera systems from Shotoku

the glass that makes up the walls of the studio

Broadcast Systems.

and the base of the presenters’ desk. The décor

“LRT wanted to upgrade the look of its live

is designed to have its own intelligence, and

in the way TV studios operate, with new

broadcasts, to give a more modern view and

can even reflect the music being played or the

workflows, new control systems, new cameras

reduce on-air errors,” explains Arūnas Uksas,

movements of dance being performed there.

and on-air graphics becoming prevalent. For

regional sales manager, TVC.

Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT), this has necessitated a complete refit of its news studio, with the implementation of a full HD Smart Virtual Studio in its Vilnius-based operation. LRT is part of the European Broadcasting Union and is a non-profit public broadcaster that has

The installation of the Shotoku robotic cams was a key component of LRT upgrade, including

“The installation takes our news studio to a totally new level” Arnas Zuikis, LRT

a large SmartTrack rail system to achieve the desired visual impact and a TG-18 pan and tilt head, to allow complete freedom for on-air adjustments, supporting rapid camera moves as well as ultra-slow, smooth on-air crawls.

been providing regular radio services since 1926,

LED screens display background images for

and TV broadcasts since 1957. It operates three

the presenters and can also be used as a virtual

national TV channels, three radio channels and

window, which acts as an extension to the real

an internet portal. It also provides satellite and live

“This involved supplying them with robotic dolly-

studio space by creating a true perspective

internet broadcasts, radio and TV podcasts.

based camera systems with remotely controlled

representation of the background based on

pan and tilt heads to allow for fluent movements,

camera positions, adding depth to the physical

which aren’t possible to achieve by hand.”

studio for displaying virtual graphics.

The studio needs to cope with the seven to eight-hour daily workload of flagship national daily news programmes, weather forecasts

The studio décor and layout was delivered and

“The range of on-air tracking shots provides

and talk shows. The solution, delivered by TV

installed by art studio TV Komanda. It is designed

unique camera motion adding interest and

& Communication Systems (TVC), one of the

to be smart, with no sharp edges.

variation, without distracting from the serious

22 23 24 TVBE May17 Prod&Post_v4 JG_final.indd 55

20/04/2017 17:02


24 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Production and Post nature of the news content and the overall production values,” says Arūnas. “And the Vizrt solution renders all graphics on the-fly for the large LED screens and on-air lower thirds that have been installed, as well as an augmented reality system for two cameras.” The entire system is driven from a Viz Trio interface, providing easy and intuitive GUI for

“The LRT installation is a perfect illustration of Vizrt graphic rendering capabilities” Per Cristian Orset, Vizrt

all system components, allowing one operator to control the video wall, lower thirds and virtual set from one convenient workplace. Vizrt also provided the Weather and Maps systems for convenient, fast and informative display of various forecasts, and illustration of news events. All hardware is based on HP servers and workstations, equipped with NVIDIA graphics cards and Matrox video I/O cards. “The LRT installation is a perfect illustration of Vizrt graphic rendering capabilities,” says Per Cristian Orset, region manager, Vizrt. “It addresses all the demanding requirements for speed and easy operation, and covers all on-air demands for news programmes. But even more importantly, it opens doors for design that only are limited by creativity.” “Our goal is to provide a full turnkey solution for our clients, so they can focus on storytelling and not have to worry about technology,” says Arūnas. “We provided overall management throughout the LRT project, up to and including the launch of the studio, for which there was a very short timeframe for the installation and just a few weeks for trials and testing before the studio went on-air. “One of the major advantages for LRT is that it now needs fewer people in the studio, since they don’t need any cameramen as that function is now easily done by a mixer operator or producer, giving more freedom to programme the most exciting views and crawls in advance.” “The installation takes our news studio to a totally new level,” says Arnas Zuikis, LRT CTO. “It makes it the most modern of its kind in the Baltics.” n

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19/04/2017 13:29


5th – 9th June 2017, Central London, UK

DISRUPTION | TRANSFORMATION | EVOLUTION

A WEEK OF STRATEGIC EVENTS EXPLORING THE FUTURE OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT MediaTech 360 is a week of live events that brings the industry together to unearth the opportunities presented by our evolving marketplace. At the heart of the week is our two-day Summit, taking place 7th and 8th June at Millennium Mayfair. The Summit will provide exclusive content to help shape and define the future of broadcast, with a focus on current and future trends and the impact of connected technology on the industry.

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www.media-tech360.com 19/04/2017 11:50


A FEW OF OUR CONFIRMED SPEAKERS ‌

Daniel Toole executive partner - media and entertainment industry leader Europe IBM

Justin Gupta head of UK broadcast and entertainment Google

Ellie Reed head of digital M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Keith Underwood director of strategy and technology Channel 4

Fabien Allègre director of merchandising and brand diversification Paris Saint-Germain

Lauren Foye senior analyst Juniper Research

Jamie Hindhaugh chief operating officer BT Sport

Jeremy Bancroft director Media Asset Capital

Jon Watts director and co-founder MTM

Louise Rice chief executive amphio.co

Luciana Carvalho Se chief evangelist Realities Centre London

Mark Harrison managing director Digital Production Partnership (DPP)

Martin Goswami director of pay and distribution ITV

Richard Halton chief executive YouView

Martyn Whistler lead analyst, media and entertainment Ernst & Young

Ronald Meyvisch chief technology officer EURO MEDIA GROUP

Matthew Huntington chief technology officer Freesat

Richard Welsh co-founder and chief executive Sundog Media Toolkit

Mike Cronk chairman of the board AIMS

Sinead Greenaway chief technology and operations officer UKTV

Natalie Fox producer Inception VR

Steve Plunkett chief technology officer Ericsson Broadcast and Media

Niall Duffy chief marketing officer Virtual AI

Alex Holt partner, head of technology, media and communications KPMG

View the full agenda online at: www.media-tech360.com MediaTech360 DPS_speakers.indd 2

19/04/2017 11:50


28

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Feature The SAM Academy has already held workshops offering guidance on its Kahuna production switchers

The needs of the

many Following the launch of the SAM Academy earlier this year, James Groves hears from Said Bacho, chief business development and marketing officer, and Vincent Eade, head of channel management and marketing, on availability, investment and growth

W

“For SAM, in different geographies, there is a different level of needs and requirements for different technology services,” says Vincent Eade, head of channel management and marketing. “You have some who are very focused on IP technology coming to market, and others more

hen contemplating the challenges our

The Academy is a knowledge platform aimed

focused on 12G SDI. Some are looking at lower-

industry is currently faced with, training

at channel partners, system integrators, resellers,

cost HD, whilst others are contemplating virtualised

and education are often high on the

VARs and distributors throughout the globe,

playout, or social media-aware platforms. We

agenda. Despite their clear prevalence as industry-

with a view to extending the offering to end-

develop products in all of these key areas, and

wide concerns, there appears to be something

users later in the year. But that’s getting ahead

we decided that if we’re going on a journey

of a diffusion of responsibility when it comes to

of ourselves.

where we’re repeatedly heading into new

formulating a solution. Enter Snell Advanced Media (SAM), which launched the SAM Academy back in February.

28 29 TVBE May 17 SAM Feature_v3 JG_final.indd 54

The wheels were set in motion back in 2016, as

technologies and developing new products,

SAM were looking at how to best serve its wide-

we needed to come up with a method of

ranging marketplace in various areas of broadcast.

educating our partners and customers.”

20/04/2017 17:07


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

29

Feature SAM also held workshops for its LiveTouch sports highlights system

trends of what partners and customers wish to be educated about. Eade continues: “We’ve got ideas with where we want to go. It’s been very IP-focused so far, and that may well continue for a while, but there is plenty more topics that we’ll bring to the table as well.” Bacho adds: “We’ve had a very successful reception from both channels and end-users, who are already questioning when they will Said Bacho, SAM

have access to the tool. There is still a lot to do in terms of developing the platform further, but

Vincent Eade, SAM

so far, based on the response, it has been a phenomenal success.”

Availability If end-users are already requesting access to the Academy, when will SAM give the people what they want? Bacho says: “My expectation, based on where we’re at with the Academy events and the busy schedule we have taken on, this would be during the second half of the year.” Eade adds: “Most manufacturers have a portal for their partners, but we’ve invested in a new He adds: “There are lots of different forms of doing

“Initially we had an event held in the UK for

one this year. Some of the content we’re putting

this. We came up with the Academy because we

system integrators, where we went through an IP

on there enables them to gain more access to

wanted to not only offer product training, but also

technology workshop,” explains Eade. “We went

materials around the clock in different time zones,

explain some of the technologies as well.”

on to host another similar event in Madrid for our

which otherwise would just have to be pulled from

Southern European partners throughout Italy,

local offices.

The IP Barometer

Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal. We then took

The Academy delivers in-house classes at its UK

elements of those two initial events to our Middle

creating this material, and now we have a platform

headquarters as well as webinars, videos and

East partners ahead of CABSAT.”

to be able to disseminate that with all our partners.

training sessions. Topics covered in the training

“We’ve put a lot of time and investment in

SAM then looked to accommodate its general

Having the Academy is one thing, but how people

include IP and virtualisation, 4K live production and

portfolio. “We held a three-day event in Newbury,”

get access to it is also key. Fortunately, we’ve been

post production, sports and news, playout and

Eade continues. “We wanted to cover everything,

able to do the two together.”

delivery, among others. Committing to such a wide-

so we looked at infrastructure on the first day, with

ranging, all-encompassing agenda took more than

a little introduction beforehand on the challenges

Looking to the future

just a few client requests.

within the marketplace, before delving into

Given the rapid success of the Academy, how

the product.”

does SAM see the venture progressing in the

“Back in January, we wanted to measure the interest from our customers in relation to education

“Day two mirrored this for live production and the

coming years? “Taking into consideration the

and training,” says Said Bacho, chief business

challenges of OBs and studios. Day three saw us

investments we’re making in terms of demo and

development and marketing officer. “As a parallel

contemplate the challenges in production systems

training facilities, the plan for next year, and years

initiative, we launched the SAM IP Barometer – a

in playout, as well as a bit of a market overview.”

to come, is to make sure that we have, in addition

survey which gathered feedback from around

to e-learning, more face-to-face training sessions

1,000 respondents – all of whom were decision-

A phenomenal success

scheduled in each location throughout the year,”

making figures in the broadcast industry.

For each of these diverse offerings, feedback has

says Bacho.

Bacho continues: “More than 80 per cent of

been positive. “The general consensus is ‘would like

“The ideal scenario would be to have four events

respondents said they wanted to migrate to IP

more, and in bite-size pieces’,” Eade says. “While

in each region, every quarter. We believe that

– whether in a hybrid or full-IP environment – but

people are still requesting IP, we’re also aware that

getting face time with channels and end-users is

lacked the knowledge and education that would

some geographies are more interested in 12G-SDI,

still, in this industry, invaluable. It’s priceless to have

enable them to understand the technology and

so we will certainly be doing some sessions on that.

that face time.

make the right decisions for their business. The IP

As we delve further into the year, we’ll look into the

“Although of course we can still deliver video

Barometer cemented the idea that there was the

live production side of things, with 12G and also at

conferencing and e-learning, it doesn’t replace

need for the SAM Academy.”

creating content in a replay environment – not just

the need to have proper face time with our

for linear broadcast playout, but also multi-platform

customers and partners, especially in a niche

delivery and the ability to edit that very quickly.”

market such as ours. That’s how we’re looking

First steps So, how does a cemented idea become a fullyfledged reality?

28 29 TVBE May 17 SAM Feature_v3 JG_final.indd 55

The SAM Academy will be very much led by feedback, with a heavy focus on the timing and

to take the SAM Academy to the next level next year and beyond.” n

20/04/2017 17:07


30 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Business

The DPP at two George Jarrett visits the Digital Production Partnership’s ‘Twogether’ event to celebrate its second birthday

T

Attendees gather to mark the DPP’s second birthday

he Digital Production Partnership (DPP) has

“strict collaborative criteria” for gaining ICG

That was the bandwidth issue. Tim Sargeant,

been amazing to track over its two years

credibility are SMPTE, the Video Services Forum

head of products, systems and services at the

of existence. It kicked off with just seven

(VSF), AIMS, and MOS Development Group.

BBC, was one of three speakers who had seen

members, and now boasts over 250; the latest

No booming media club can ignore its

the report. He says: “Most of the people in

recruits including BARB, Set Keeper, Vice, Tinker

members, and its was revealed that 85 per cent

this room are thinking about IP as a sustaining

List, The Knowledge Lab, PBS, Akamai, Avid,

of DPP members ticked the ‘overall satisfaction’

innovation, but there are elements of IP that are

and Google.

box, while 59 per cent ticked the ‘better than

quite disruptive.”

Since leaving broadcaster ownership and

a year ago’ box. Talking to the wider industry,

Sargeant is concerned about context. “It’s

becoming a not-for-profit professional media

Harrison says: “We are offering to be the place

about people. The technology will change, but

network, and since it made sure AS-11 was

where the industry has its conversations about

very little of the other stuff will,” he says.

adopted and successful, it has now set four

change. We initiate conversations that get

big priority areas to work on in the manner of

things to happen.”

Emily Hopson-Hill, the director of media logistics with Ooyala, does not see IP as a disruptive change. This is no wonder because

its new report ‘The DPP Survey: The Business Benefits of IP Production’. These are Cyber

Elements of IP are disruptive

she had already experienced the joys of live

Security, a Unique Global Tracking ID for

Proof of Harrison’s claim is that other

collaborative editing, with rushes in the cloud

Content, Broadcast IMF (versioning), and

organisations have asked the DPP to “hold the

and the generation of automated metadata.

lastly The Supply Chain, which managing

ring” around cyber security, and all the issues

“IP is impacting all of our customers,” she said.

director Mark Harrison says would be “a big

that need resolving there. “There is a sense

“The industry is moving gradually towards video

piece of analysis.”

we have to demonstrate that we take cyber

from camera to the audience, done wholly

security very seriously,” he says.

with IP.”

Harrison got to the new report on IP last. It is the 17th publication issued by the DPP in the last 12 months. First, he celebrated the new members at a special event to celebrate the DPP’s second birthday. He says: “What a fantastic increase of companies: they want to be in rooms with that wide diversity between

“We are becoming a very considerable and vibrant community” Mark Harrison, DPP

‘Virtualisation’ is a misused term The new report concludes that IP is impacting every aspect of production, but barriers to endto-end IP production still remain. Does Harrison, author of the report, want to look at the issues around virtualisation?

big names and start-ups. We are becoming a

“Yes, virtualisation is covered. But it can be

very considerable and vibrant community, and

a misused term. Often, people use it when

our members give us a clear picture of what is He moved onto the benefits (or not) of IP

talking just about the cloud. To me virtualisation

production, saying first: “There is a real problem

is things like – and as we are starting to see

announced its endorsement of the DPP as

out there of trying to articulate the business

more of it now – editing where you are actually

an Industry Collaborative Group (ICG).

benefits. This report helps users to understand

getting a streamed desktop. Your content and

In common with the IABM, the DPP has a

where and how to make a start.

the software are driving it, and the desktop is

happening in the supply chain.” It was appropriate that the IABM had just

membership that points very succinctly to

“OTT activities around IP are incredibly strong

sitting up in the cloud. That is true virtualisation,”

the way the market is heading in terms of

right now, whereas De Luxe reports that it will

he says.

technology trends, and the potential of

be five years before high resolution movie

“What we heard in this work (for the report)

start ups. The other groups to satisfy the

rushes will sit in the cloud,” he adds.

is that editing in the cloud is happening, but

30 31 TVBE MAY 17Business_V2 JG_final2.indd 54

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TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

31

Business says: “A lot of the excitement of being at

“The thing is that IoT potentially releases

the DPP is being at the centre of this media

a huge amount of data which could provide

revolution that is going on, and being amongst

a huge amount of intelligence, but you

the changes happening. I think we as an

have to know what you want to be intelligent

organisation have got still further to go. “Take branded content,” he continues. “A huge amount of the content now originated

intelligent in the way we do things – both

is branded content. Historically the world of

business analytics and audience analytics.

commercials has been a completely separate,

The audience: well, historically, broadcast

parallel media industry from TV and movies.

has been a supply base, of one to many:

Are we going to start seeing a convergence of

we give it to you, and hope you enjoy it.

these sectors, where some of the assumptions,

It is not two-way. That is very threatened

ways of working and the quality standards of

by analytics.

commercials actually begin to impact on TV?” Asked what DPP attacks after the IP research,

generally we heard that we are a couple of

about,” he adds. “Culturally in broadcasting we have not particularly wanted to be

“And internally, historically on the business side, broadcasters have not known how much

Harrison says: “We go into the context piece,

it has cost to make a piece of content. Do

which is what this is doing to all of us. That is the

they really want to know? Well, if they do,

supply chain work I mentioned, and we will be

they are going to make some scary

focusing on that in the second half of this year.”

discoveries,” he continues.

The IP report does mention analytics. Asked

This is exactly why broadcasters have

years away from it starting to become really

if programmatic data analytics as applied to

had to jump beyond their traditional walled

mainstream,” he adds.

TV would trigger IoT based media advances

gardens, and rush towards OTT as their

Harrison says: “The IoT as a business to business

redemption. “One of the big drivers to

and services coverage would push DPP into

offer is really interesting in media, and I think it is

OTT is going to be the sheer business data

researching new and different areas, Harrison

going to become really important.

logic of it,” concludes Harrison. n

Asked if the huge diversity of technology

On Shot On Air

30 31 TVBE MAY 17Business_V2 JG_final2.indd 55

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32

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Technology

In association with

Encompassing Sony’s big move Sony Pictures Television needed a technology services provider to bring together its disparate array of channels under one roof. Encompass Media and Imagine Communications gave them a unified, cloud-based solution designed to last into a 4K future. Neal Romanek reports

Unifying all linear playout under a single technology stack was a challenge, given the variety of content types. “On one end of the spectrum, you have Sony’s music channels,” Shepherd continues. “Typically those will be playing short form

I

t’s safe to say that the Sony Pictures Television

Encompass Media provides outsourced

programmes that are very graphically intensive

portfolio is diverse, spanning 50 channel

technology services, primarily origination

with long, complex, interactive playlists. On the

brands, from AXN, Sony Movie Channel

and linear playout, for major media companies,

other end you have movie channels, where you

and Sony Entertainment Television to Sony’s

broadcasters, corporations and government

may only have a handful of programmes during

music services and children’s services. The

facilities. Its worldwide presence includes

the day. And then there are the entertainment

bouquet also includes Hungarian language

offices in the US, London, Singapore and

genres that sit between those two.”

channels Viasat3 and Viasat6, acquired by

Buenos Aires.

Sony in 2015. In late 2015, Sony Pictures Television set Encompass Media the challenge of how to unify this wide portfolio under a single, future-proofed playout system. “Sony wanted a managed service provider who could provide them with an end-to-end service,” explains Keir Shepherd, senior vice

“Nobody today should be choosing a technology if it doesn’t give them a route to grow into 4K” Keir Shepherd, Encompass Media

Geographic resilience was a key part of the brief. If Sony was going to bring all its channels to a single provider, it needed to know that there would be failsafe continuity of playout in the event of some catastrophic loss in the service. Encompass also had to encode and distribute to a variety of technologies. These included traditional fibre carriage and baseband, though

president of global technology architecture at

increasingly services are being handed off to IP

Encompass Media. “The channels had been spread across

Format salad

The company operates around 850 channels

or distributed via the public internet.

a number of providers, across different

globally, with 130 different channels run out of

“In the same way that Sony were looking for

geographies, with an array of different delivery

its facility in the UK. The three biggest providers

a technology that allowed them to deliver this

mechanisms and different archives storing the

serviced outside of the UK are Modern Times

broad range of channels, they were also looking

content, and in a variety of different formats

Group, Walt Disney Company, and now Sony

for one that would allow them to hand off in any

complied to a variety of different standards.”

Pictures Television.

of these formats,” says Shepherd.

32 33 TVBE Mar17 Technology_v2 JG_final2.indd 54

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May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

33

Technology

In association with

“But with an evolutionary roadmap that allowed

The thing that allowed us to do this was

for Sony right now. The agreements we have with

them to move more toward IP and allowed them

partnering with Cisco to provide a private cloud

Sony will run in some cases for the next five years.

to take advantage of more efficient codecs, like

environment. What that allows us to do is run

HEVC, as those start to mature.”

services cost effectively for long periods of time,

is minimal and the mechanisms of distributing

“The amount of 4K and HDR content now

without having to worry about the underlying

it are small, but over the next five years – and

March of this year. Encompass will be rolling

infrastructure. Cisco provisions the required

probably over the next 24 months – we’ll see

out the rest of the Sony channels over the next

amount of compute storage and network

more linear 4K and HDR channels launched

24 months, as the contracts with Sony’s current

capacity, plus the overhead that allows us to

and we’ll start to see content arriving with us

providers expire.

scale rapidly. Operating under a private cloud

natively as 4K.

model everything is fully templatised, nothing

“We still operate a number of SD services,

unique was the aggregation from multiple third

that we do requires manual intervention. If we

but we haven’t received SD content in years.

parties into a single provider and the scale of

need a channel launched, we’re provided

In the same way, we will start seeing that

the number of channels. And the necessity

with the appropriate applications, permissions

move with HD channels, where we get 4K

to provide geographic independence at a

systems, networks and security and deploy that

masters which we’ll use to originate both HD

reasonable pricepoint.

in multiple data centres.

and 4K variants. “

virtualisation, IP distribution, virtualised monitoring

Sony’s 4K roadmap

technology if it doesn’t give them a route to

and automation. It was one of the first times we’d

Sony has long been at the forefront of 4K

grow into 4K. And we’re going to see that

taken a traditional set of origination requirements

technology development. Naturally, the Sony

accelerate over the coming months and years.”

and applied it to cloud infrastructure, to give us a

Pictures Television reboot features a roadmap

degree of reliability above and beyond what we

for 4K, as well as High Dynamic Range.

additional storage, computer capacity and

had provided before.”

Encompass will also be generating 4K on

network capacity. We could be seeing a

demand with partner Imagine Communications’

couple hundred gigabytes for an hour’s worth

Selenio platform.

of content, and if we’re taking in an SDR and

The first Sony channels went live on 30th

Shepherd says: “What made this project

“We took advantage of new technologies –

Shepherd points out that the Sony job would have had a very different, and much more

“Nobody today should be choosing a

“For 4K, we need significant amounts of

limited, configuration, even 12 months ago.

“This same technology stack also has to grow

“The advancements that have made this

into a 4K and HDR environment and workflow as

big challenge of 4K is not that it’s a bit more of

well. Both 4K and HDR are very much top of mind

everything. It’s a lot more of everything.” n

practical have only happened in the last 18 months with companies like our partner Imagine Communications moving to a software model. In the past, companies have provided software, but it’s always had a hardware requirement, whether it’s a processor type or an I/O card or GPU card. But in the last 18 months, those vendors have moved into a virtualised, cloudaware environment. “We’ve moved through a set of stages with our vendors. We used to take appliances. Then we took software, which we had to install on specified hardware. Now we’ve moved to a third phase with hardware independent solutions, like the ones we get from Imagine. We can now move away from this requirement of having specific, bespoke hardware for all the channels.”

Which cloud to choose? The transition isn’t as simple as “move everything to the cloud” however. Shepherd points out that not all clouds are created equal. The question of public versus private is the first point of consideration. “For us, public cloud isn’t in the right place for operating 24/7 365 channels at the right cost point. Public cloud is fantastically powerful for unpredictable loads – pop-up channels, for example that run only for a short time. But if you’re in a situation where you commit to run several channels for several years, public cloud

an HDR version, we’ll be seeing double that. The

RE-IMAGINING SCHEDULING ENCOMPASS partnered with Imagine Communications in building the new Sony Television playout platform. One of Sony’s requirements was a unified scheduling system. Encompass has employed Imagine’s xG Schedule, a cloudbased scheduling and planning system for linear, on demand and digital platforms. It is an essential component in getting Sony’s complex playout under control. xG Schedule works in combination with Imagine’s cloud playout system, Versio. The Versio playout solution combines automation, branding, graphics, file server, storage and master control capabilities in a software-based environment. “In developing xG Schedule and Imagine’s unified scheduling, we recognised that we needed to have a way of managing the rights and the content between what used to be disparate systems,” explains Sarah Foss, Imagine’s chief product officer, advertising management systems. “With all the different content platforms, the master control environment has a lot more information that is being disseminated through the playout scheduling solution against different types of schedules or business rules.” xG Schedule offers a single web interface for all users that enables the execution of the content playout to be handled through Versio. “It allows Encompass to manage content playout with Versio in the cloud,” says Foss. “They can spin channels up or pull them back down, or make modifications based on how the channel behaves. To do that, they need more than just a log. They need a front end view of the business changes that are coming, those things that are going to have to change based on the platform the content is currently being played out on.” With cloud-based playout, the opportunities to monetise content grow massively, but keeping track

of rights issues, branding and ad targeting also becomes more complicated. “The more aggressive Sony becomes about leveraging their content, the more mission critical this front end interface into a cloud-based execution system becomes,” says Foss. “It enables a quick hit view for a master control operator to see any applied business changes or things that need to be approved before the content moves to a disparate platform. And it allows the Encompass staff to be sure of client needs for each piece of content rather than having to remember or double-check a convoluted log. Logs capture information in the way a traffic person thinks, not in the way someone managing different playout possibilities needs. “ xG Schedule also aims to simplify the insertion of ads by clarifying when ads can be inserted in a programme, either in live or on-demand content, and with increasingly sophisticated ad targeting and localisation, what geography an ad should be assigned to. “Many content holders will treat the graphics and advertisements very differently based on what the playout stream is. Each one of those will have a different set of rights based on different sets of playout rules.” n

cost doesn’t work.”

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34

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Technology

In association with

The popularity of broadcast contribution effective way of doing just that: by allowing

In the simplest possible terms, the encoder is

journalists, pundits and presenters to venture out

vital because it determines how quickly the

of the TV studio and into the heart of the story

live broadcast arrives on the viewer’s TV screens.

or event they’re covering and so the viewer at

Obviously there is no such thing as a truly live

W

home is able to get a taste of the atmosphere on

broadcast, as there will always be some degree

hether you know it as broadcast

location. It’s the next best thing to actually being

of time required for signal delivery, but viewers

contribution or not, the ability to

there themselves.

ideally want to watch broadcasts as close to

has universally influenced the content we

of broadcast contribution is a live football

consume on TV. It’s something that most of us

broadcast. No matter what broadcaster is in

compressing the pure signals into a much smaller

probably take for granted now, but we should

charge of the coverage, almost all of them

package, there is less data to transmit from A

never forget the impact that contribution has

now choose to have several pundits sat in a

to B, which means faster delivery to viewers’

had on the wider broadcast industry.

‘box’ inside a stadium, from which they discuss

screens. This ultra-low latency also enables

opinions and share thoughts before the match,

remote production, or the ‘stay-at-home’

influence, it helps to rewind a couple of decades

at half-time and after the final whistle. As well as

production model. Broadcasters bring back

or so. If you were to switch on a TV and tune into

this, there will often be an additional presenter

multiple, uncompressed or lightly compressed

a news programme back then, you’d probably

situated to the side of the pitch itself who they

feeds over fibre, then edit the stories on their

find a presenter or two dictating the biggest

can cut to in between thoughts from the pundits

own premises. Staff are more productive

stories of the day from behind a large desk. If

in the box. The result is a much more immersive

because they are in familiar and comfortable

there was an important story about conflict in the

broadcast that allows viewers at home to enjoy

environments, and they also save on travel and

Middle East, for example, we would only be able

exclusive insight from multiple perspectives.

accommodation costs.

By Rémi Beaudouin, vice president of marketing, ATEME

broadcast live from remote locations

To get a sense of broadcast contribution’s

One of the most visually-rich examples

to hear about it from a TV studio in London. The same applied to live sports coverage back then. If a broadcaster chose to televise a major football match, the only remote broadcast element would be that of the match itself – any

live as possible. This is where the encoder plays its part: by

Most importantly (at least from the perspective

‘The contribution process has had an immeasurable influence on live broadcast’

punditry taking place before, during and after

of the broadcaster), encoders allow video to be compressed and transmitted in numerous codecs, including the fabled HEVC. Although still in its infancy, the HEVC codec allows for better video compression with less

the game would have to be conducted from

required bandwidth, while also improving the Despite only being used to its full potential

resolution, contrast, frame rate and colour of

Fast forward to the present day, and the

relatively recently, broadcast contribution is

the video.

picture is totally different. Broadcasters are no

not new. Broadcasters have been capable

longer hindered by these technological and

of live broadcast contribution for years, but

specifically for many of the formats that are

geographical limitations, which means that news

it wasn’t until the emergence of high-speed,

now being adopted on a wider scale, including

shows and major broadcast events are able to

highly available bandwidth that the technology

4K, which delivers four times the quality of HD,

have reporters and journalists live on the ground,

could truly flourish. What’s more, with super-

and high dynamic range (HDR), which uses

at the very heart of the story.

fast 4G and 5G networks, reporters can set-up

a much wider range of contrast for life-like

their equipment and broadcast from just about

video quality. Although native broadcasts in

The sales of broadcast contribution encoders

anywhere. What hasn’t changed in this time,

these formats are still rare at this point, many

– just one component within a much wider

however, is the importance of encoders in the

broadcasters are equipping themselves with

overall set up – are set to reach in excess of $320

contribution process.

HEVC-enabled encoders in order to remain

another studio.

The broadcast contribution market is booming.

future-proofed. Certain encoders even allow

million this year, and this number will continue to increase rapidly as the technology continues to be adopted across wide swathes of the industry.

HEVC is exciting because it has been designed

What is it that makes the encoder so important?

pay-as-you-grow support, so businesses only

The broadcast contribution encoder is the

to the quality of their content.

need to spend what they need to according

Why is broadcast contribution so popular?

component that compresses the video and audio signals coming from the original source (this

had an immeasurable influence on the modern-

As the broadcast industry becomes fiercer, more

might be a camera, an OB truck or perhaps the

day live broadcast, and the encoder plays

saturated and more competitive, companies

venue itself) and then transmits the compressed

the starring role. By embracing contribution

need to focus on being inventive and innovative

signals back to the broadcaster’s studio. If a

technology and using the right choice of

with the content they produce if they are to

workflow involves the transport of signals between

encoder, broadcasters will surely continue

stand out from the rest of the crowd. Broadcast

various studios, the encoder is also responsible for

innovating and raising the broadcast

contribution has proved to be an extremely

compressing these streams for transport.

benchmark for a long time yet. n

34 TVBE MAY 17 Technology_v3 JG_final2.indd 54

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36 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

TVBEverywhere

Death of the TV licence? Not so fast By Dror Ginzberg, co-founder and CEO, Wochit

Traditional broadcasters aren’t being left behind though and have also committed to VoD services, with the BBC launching its iPlayer as far back as of 2007. Back then this was seen as a controversial

2

move, one that prompted internet providers to

viewers, while the World Cup pulled in 15 million

traditional broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4

viewers for the BBC. It also happened to be the last

have also invested in their own VoD services too in

time television licences in the UK increased in price.

order to keep up with shifting consumer tastes

010 was a year of memorable moments for

ask the BBC to help share the financial burden of

TV. That year, we saw the first ever UK leaders’

the bandwidth needed to host the player, with

debate attract an impressive 9.4 million

values estimated at £830 million. Since then, other

However, as of 1st April of this year, the annual

However, these broadcasters aren’t keeping

TV licence fee increased from £145.50 to £147.

pace with their VoD-only competitors like Netflix.

With this increase, the first in seven years, the fee

From 2014 until 2016, BBC’s iPlayer actually saw its

is also scheduled to rise for the next five years in line

number of viewing requests fall by 30 million while

with inflation. While this year’s increase is marginal,

during the same time, Netflix’s viewing figures

at best, much has changed over the past seven

surged by 110 per cent. There are some key

years and the relevance of such traditional TV

reasons for this.

subscriptions amongst consumers has changed hugely. In the intervening period of time, we’ve seen a huge shift in how people actually consume TV content, with viewers increasingly jumping online, and video now accounting for over two thirds

‘The death of the TV subscription is not nigh. Instead, the biggest change is merely the way content is delivered to subscribers’

of all internet traffic. This is expected to increase even further to 82 per cent by 2020. Even sports, once the most bankable piece

television broadcast, or the iPlayer, is more costly

longer immune from these shifting viewer habits.

than a subscription to Netflix, or even Amazon

The English Premier League (EPL) is one of many

Video. Another issue is that VoD services have

examples of this change. Despite BT and Sky

been so successful in such a quick period of time

Sports spending billions of pounds to secure

that they’ve quickly amassed deep pockets

exclusive rights for this live content, ratings have

and now have significant war chests to produce

been on the decline; the first half of the EPL season

their own content, which are rivalling the BBC.

saw audiences down 22 per cent from the 2010-

Undoubtedly, the BBC is well known and respected

2011 season. To combat this, BT, who trumped

worldwide by audiences for producing quality

Sky Sports to host the Champions League and

content, such as Sherlock and Peaky Blinders.

Europa League rights, broadcast the finals of both

However, Netflix spent just over £4 billion in 2016

competitions on YouTube for free, reaching more

on programming whereas the BBC spent £2.2

than 12 million fans.

billion. It shows no sign of slowing down either

A key driver of this changing consumer

36 37 TVBE May17 TVBEverywhere_v4 JG_final2.indd 32

Firstly, the TV licence required to access live

of content for traditional broadcasters, is no

as Netflix is planning to deliver 1,000 hours of

behaviour has of course been the rise of VoD

new content, under its “Netflix Originals” brand,

services, such as Netflix, which now boasts over

spending a record £4.8 billion in the process. This

1000 million subscribers worldwide, who watch

strategy to produce their own content has really

125 million hours of content every day. In terms

proved its worth with 2016’s Stranger Things racking

of UK audiences, Netflix has also been wildly

up over 14 million viewers in its first month, and

successful as it is now present in nearly a quarter

Orange Is The New Black hitting 6.7 million viewers

of all British homes.

for its Season 4 opening weekend.

21/04/2017 15:24


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

37

TVBEverywhere The size of Netflix’s wallet is clear after winning the

a TV series out as far as possible, until eventually

TV licence, if you’re constantly producing great

rights to The Crown, a drama based on the royal

audiences lost interest.

content, people are more than willing to pay for it.

family. The makers of this drama even admitted

In today’s market, this isn’t possible. With so much

The death of the TV subscription is not nigh. instead,

they took Netflix’s offer rather than the BBC

quality content, as evidenced by the popularity

the biggest change is merely the way content is

because it had a bigger budget. In addition, Netflix

of Netflix and the enduring appeal of the UK’s

delivered to subscribers. n

has created the second most expensive TV series ever (after The Crown). The Get Down cost an eye-watering $120 million for just 12 episodes – well above its initial budget of $90 million. Broadcasters who also offer VoD are hampered by an issue which is unique to them alone. Whereas Netflix can release an entire series, such as House Of

Cards in one go, allowing viewers to binge on new content, BBC iPlayer hadn’t offered this until very recently. Instead, the airing of new content had always deferred to TV, with VoD termed as a “catch up” services for those audiences who missed out on the original airing on TV. In light of these major consumer behaviour changes and huge competition from VoD, is the paid-TV subscription, and by proxy, the BBC’s days numbered? Not quite, some major changes are afoot and the BBC is beginning to fight back. Firstly, minor changes have been made quickly by the corporation as it shifted BBC Three to an online-only channel last year. While cost-saving was undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons for this decision, it was another clear acknowledgement of shifting viewer habits. BBC Three’s target audience, 16-24 years olds, now consumes less traditional TV content than ever before with a 19 per cent decline in viewership from 2010-2013 in the youngest bracket. Initial figures from the move to online proved the transition successful, with comedy-of-the-moment Fleabag reaching over one million requests before its move to BBC Two. Much more importantly, the BBC has announced it will go for broke, by ditching “linear exclusivity”, which as mentioned above gives preference to airing content on TV before VoD, with its director general Tony Hall saying that it must “reinvent public broadcasting for a new generation. This decision means that the BBC will enable iPlayer users to see an entire series before the first episode in a series is even broadcast on terrestrial TV and will be rolled out over the next three years. It’s already paying

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off, all four episodes of series two of Peter Kay’s Car

Share were made available on iPlayer following the first episode’s linear broadcast. Within three days they had been requested 2.5 million times – occupying all four top slots on the on-demand service, the first time the same series has dominated

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36 37 TVBE May17 TVBEverywhere_v4 JG_final2.indd 33

21/04/2017 15:50


38 TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

TVBEverywhere Calvin Harrison, IneoQuest

Dan Castles, Telestream

When two become one Telestream recently acquired video analytics and service assurance solutions provider IneoQuest. Jenny Priestley spoke to both company CEOs, Dan Castles and Calvin Harrison, to find out what the future holds

38 39 TVBE May 17 TVBEverywhere_v2 JG_final.indd 32

Why did Telestream decide to acquire IneoQuest?

enterprise level live products and we had a line

DC: We’ve completed acquisitions in the past

there’s the VoD distribution side and we were

so doing this wasn’t a new thing for us. We had

kind of moving in that direction but we wanted

completed ‘smaller ones’ and we just felt that

to accelerate that. IneoQuest is a company

we wanted to accomplish several things.

that plays in the distribution side. They wanted

We wanted to find a company that we had

where we’d been kind of file-based and then

more traction in the VoD side, where we’re

something culturally in common with, and

strong, and we wanted more engagement

then the other piece is that in the last six to

in the distribution where they’re strong. That

nine months we had launched a couple of

was the attraction. The combination of the

20/04/2017 17:16


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

39

TVBEverywhere “When you’re isolated you can report up

to explain what we did and then where we

How do you feel the acquisition will affect each of the companies in your approach to market in the future?

stop. And then where we stop would always

DC: We’re learning. This closed only recently. I

doing the work, there’s some things you can

get to be a mouthful and mini-sentences about

think that we know what we’re good at, we’re

fix and change on the fly. So further. tighter

‘we’re about automated workflows, we’re

also pretty realistic about where we have areas

integration among the products is going to

in the contribution side, and we prep files for

where we can be stronger; so we aren’t going

help the market have a more robust solution

distribution’ and we’d keep going on and on.

to be doing anything dramatic from a customer

in the future.

This raises the message to a much broader

interfacing point of view and we really do

level, and positions us uniquely.

want to keep the sales organisation and those

DC: Just to add to that, because Calvin’s right

relationships in tact. There isn’t a plan for some

on the money, customers will ask us ‘what does

that we’re all about the same thing in terms

big sudden move, we really want to learn more

it mean and how will things improve?’

of ensuring the highest quality but now it’s

about each other first and then make decisions

over frankly the broadest spectrum possible,

based on fact not diligence and theorems and

from the moment an image is captured to the

all that. We’ll make decisions after NAB based

moment it’s viewed. So that’s why we found

on just experience. Once we get past NAB it’s

them very attractive.

May and June and it’s the summer season and

two broadens and simplifies our message tremendously because we always had to try

“The combined philosophy really plays well,

I think we have between now and IBC to really

How does this acquisition benefit IneoQuest?

figure out a lot of those pieces that we want

CH: We’ve been around over 15 years and

a master plan that’s been developed without

traditionally our customers have been in the

regard to actual facts and experience and

service provider space, the cable MSOs, the

people and relationships.

to address. But we’re not coming into it with

telcos, and for the last four or five years, the

what’s happening, but when you’re technically tied back into where the encoder’s actually

“Tighter integration among the products is going to help the market have a more robust solution in the future” Calvin Harrison, Ineoquest “We aren’t the only company that does what we do, and IneoQuest aren’t the only company that does what they do. So, on Calvin’s point,

from content movie providers to technology

How do you think the acquisition will benefit both of your customers?

companies and what we needed to do, as Dan

DC: I think it brings a more integrated solution.

engineering are that we need to figure out

said, was get into the content space.

Just like when Calvin talked about the QC,

how to make what we do and what they do

we don’t have these gaps in what we do.

become more custom fit and combine benefits

intermediation in the market where the content

So we can go from file creation through QC

in a unique way from the competition. We

providers now essentially distribute their own

through distribution and all the monitoring that

create the files and they monitor the files and

content over the internet and they lack visibility

IneoQuest does. We’re all about quality and

should be able to do some things that are very

and understanding of how the content was

so is IneoQuest so I think that in this changing

unique to our solution only.

delivered to the end subscriber.

world of content from everywhere coming

adapted streaming world, with customers

Adapted streaming has created this

integrated company to deal with now to

Do you have any set plans for the rest of 2017?

really help to allow them to do it in the most

DC: What we have right now is a 30, 60 and

efficient and highest quality method. So I just

90-day set of plans and they are fairly clear, the

view it as a broader integration that has a real

90 get more general. We will develop the plan

seamless message to it in terms of the quality

together, we do not have a master plan right

and familiarity.

now that we’re going to roll out, we’re learning

in and going out, they’re going to have one

“We wanted to find a company that we had something culturally in common with” Dan Castles, Telestream

part of the discussions that are happening with

about each other and I think we’ll have a So we now needed to take what we had and

CH: From a technical perspective, I think we’re

better sense as to what’s realistic and what

go knock on the content providers’ doors. Our

going to be able to help the market as things

time frame in the coming weeks. But we’ve

sales force wasn’t equipped for that, we hadn’t

evolve more to the complexity of how its being

been through the tough part.

spent 15 years doing that, and as Dan was

delivered with more formats and over adaptive

saying, that’s where they’ve lived for longer

streaming etc. We already have ideas about

than 15 years and it was a fit; the synergies are

what Telestream can do from an encoder

already starting to play out. The other thing

standpoint that we’ll be able to monitor on

Dan, one final cheeky question, any further acquisitions in the pipeline that you’d like to tell us about?

was there was an acquisition that Telestream

the other side of the network and be able to

DC: Yeah, we’re looking at… No, I can’t say

made last year called Vidcheck and that was

pinpoint measure and show broadcasters and

that! This was such an important deal, it was

the end of their value chain. We were actually

service providers latency through their network

larger than our six other deals combined. There

looking at licensing Vidcheck technology to be

through a video delivery standpoint, how its

are other companies that I’m looking at, but

the front end of our monitoring for distribution,

affecting their quality.

it’s on step two of a hundred. I’ll have a look around NAB and meet with people but there’s

so Vidcheck became this piece that totally

“There’s all kind of hooks from the content

bundled the two together and completed

side that we can put into monitoring to verify

not anything on any kind of burner on the stove

the whole story.

the delivery and the quality of that video.

at this point. n

38 39 TVBE May 17 TVBEverywhere_v2 JG_final.indd 33

20/04/2017 17:16


40

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Audio

Prolight + Sound review The annual Prolight + Sound exhibition in Frankfurt plays host to a number of broadcast audio companies, showcasing their latest developments. David Robinson, editor of TVBEurope’s sister title PSNEurope, picks out some of his highlights

P

DPA Microphones, which kicked off the show with the first press conference, is marking its 21st anniversary by carrying out a world tour, visiting 25 places around the globe, where they’ll be working with the local distributor or

rolight+ Sound is not a show that

However, a few things certainly did stand

dealer to offer advice and education on how

reflects trends in the broadcast market

out for me: loudspeaker manufacturer

to use microphones in various situations. New

particularly and this year, there was no

PMC announced that it is taking its speakers

CEO Kalle Hvidt Nielsen said that the company

one overarching trend other than the usual,

on a tour of studio facilities around Germany

is going to ‘enter into the digital area with

which would be trying to get more features in

and Austria. That’s going to be ongoing in

the first product to combine digital low noise

the same footprint. There was no overarching

the next couple of months. It’s working with

acoustic preciseness with ease of use’. He

‘everybody was doing this’ other than what

a company called Dorian Gray. It’s quite good

didn’t say any more about what that’s going

you’d expect, which is what you’d see at every

that it’s taking it out on the road because it is

to be, or what sector that’s going to be, but

technology show – more, faster, not necessarily

actively promoting its product and taking it to

they’re going to have something exciting

cheaper, but better than the year before.

the market.

coming up. DiGiCo, which makes a range of broadcast consuls, launched a remote app for its desks so you can control them remotely or from a tablet, which has become very much a ‘thing’ with rivals Yamaha and Allan & Heath. It has also introduced a 32-bit processing on the mic pre-amps which means that your stage boxes, where you plug your microphones in, have now got a much greater dynamic range and processing available to them – and it’s agnostic to all DiGiCo stage boxes. SSL was there with its System T, which is its rather sleek looking totally integrated broadcast production console. It’s a big deal for them because everything is in the desk. It’s a very fine-looking piece of kit! Stage Tec launched its new desk called the Avatus. It’s a fully IP-based large mixing

The DPA team at Prolight + Sound 2017

40 41 TVBE May 17 Audio_v2 JG_final.indd 54

console with 21″ multi-touch displays. Control elements and interfaces are connected through standard ethernet.

20/04/2017 17:20


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

41

Audio could be used as a bottle opener. Thomas

of innovation, and something that had been

Riedel opened a bottle of beer with the belt

really well thought out. That was definitely one

pack (pictured), for which he got a round of

of the highlights. n

applause! I thought that was very cool.

David Robinson was speaking to TVBEurope’s

It’s a very exciting product – certainly in terms

Jenny Priestley.

Riedel’s Bolero belt pack doubles as a walkie-talkie, and can even be used as a bottle opener Stage Tec has a huge reputation, particularly with broadcasters in the German-speaking world. It’s a very fine high-end technology and this is the company’s latest iteration of that. To me, the stand out product of the show is the Bolero from Riedel. It’s a belt pack, which will be familiar to broadcasters everywhere. This belt pack is maybe over-featured, but it’s very exciting. Riedel has spent a lot of time and effort making sure it practically does everything presentation on the first evening, and Thomas Riedel and Jake Dodson (Riedel’s director of product management) did a presentation of the new belt pack, which can basically double as a walkie-talkie. It’s going to be expensive – the pair said maybe 10-20 per cent more than the current competitor, but it’s quite something to see. The company did some research and the belt packs only spend about 15 per cent of the time on people’s belts. So Riedel has created this hole on the back; ClearCom

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also have a hole in the back of their FreeSpeak II, but it’s very much a keyhole size, so if there’s a nail or a hook it’s fine, but it doesn’t give you much room otherwise. Riedel has created a bigger hole so that it could hang up easily, and realised that if the hole was made just a little bit bigger, it

40 41 TVBE May 17 Audio_v2 JG_final.indd 55

www.phabrix.com

20/04/2017 17:20


42

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Audio

Authoring and monitoring for immersive broadcast audio formats the audio experience for the end-user. Objects

What does this all mean for the broadcaster?

may be static and placed at a fixed point in the

A complete rebuild of existing facilities and a total

mix (for example dialogue) or dynamic, where

re-think about the audio processing equipment

they are panned across the three dimensional

required for outside broadcast vehicles? Well, if

T

soundscape (maybe a plane flying overhead).

we get it right, it should entail just relatively minimal

he world of broadcast audio is on the

Depending on restrictions and limitations decided

changes to overall workflow and hardware,

verge of a major revolution. Numerous ‘3D

at the point of content creation (and signalled

but inevitably some additions to production

Immersive’ formats are under development

in the descriptive metadata), the end user could

and distribution equipment. In the case of OBA,

and will find their way into the mainstream of

select which audio source(s) they want to hear

the metadata appropriate for the final codec

broadcast production and distribution in the near

from an on-screen list and perhaps vary the level

needs to be created and added to the audio for

future. Unlike the world of relatively constrained,

at which they are reproduced. Think of a sporting

insertion into a conventional SDI stream, and the

channel-based coding we’re accustomed to.

event where the options could include home or

engineer needs to be able to monitor this complex

these new codecs will support more channels

away commentary, crowd sounds, the referee or

mix (and all the potential downmix variations) to

and/or object-based audio (OBA) coding.

match official’s voice, or pitch-side microphones

ensure that the distribution chain is fed with all

For the end consumer, there will be two major

at team ball games. At motor racing events,

available objects correctly. Loudness levels should

benefits from this new approach – a greater

examples could be commentary, driver’s voice or

also be considered in respect of existing standards

sense of involvement or immersion, and a

pit crew communication.

and there should be provision for local insertion of

By Peter Poers, managing director, Jünger Audio

degree of personalisation. Greater involvement will come from an

Does this mean multiple speakers need to

content at any point in the chain. Although this

be installed to avail of these new benefits?

all sounds somewhat futuristic, the fact is that the

increased channel count, typically by the

Not necessarily, although of course the best

broadcast industry is already seriously considering

addition of overhead ‘height’ channels.

experience will result from a full installation

the potential adoption of these concepts.

Several proponents including the MPEG-H

of discrete speakers at both floor level and

Alliance (Fraunhofer IIS and Qualcomm),

overhead. However, where this is not practical

side of the industry will be to start OBA production.

Dolby, Auro 3D and DTS have successfully

(most likely the majority of typical domestic

This means completely rethinking how we

demonstrated broadcast compatible systems

situations), the final ‘renderer’ will re-create the

perform the final mix because, with OBA, it will

based on 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 layouts, where four

mix as accurately as possible based on the actual

be performed at home by the viewer rather than

overhead speakers have augmented the

number and location of speakers the end user has.

by a mixer in a post-production facility. We have

traditional six or eight floor level speakers. This

An increasing number of soundbars, designed to

to bear in mind that as soon as post houses mix

creates a ‘3D’ sound image where the viewer or

sit underneath a display, are already available to

objects (different language commentaries, for

listener is immersed in audio in all dimensions.

create a surround experience without consuming

example) into the audio bed, they are gone and

valuable space. Better still, a wall-mounted

are no longer available for delivery to the viewer

personalise their experience by selecting from

soundframe surrounds the display and can give

at home. Therefore, to give viewers personalised

a number of audio sources and controlling the

an incredibly realistic reproduction from the

audio, you need to change your production

level and maybe even the position in the mix. In

height channels. 3D recorded audio can also be

workflow and deliver separate ‘unmixed’ channels

OBA, an ‘object’ is essentially an audio stream

rendered for binaural headphones reproduction.

so that the final mix can be finished in the home

with accompanying descriptive metadata. The

This means that millions of recipients can easily

receiver and decoder. This is very different to how

metadata carries information about where the

enjoy an immersive audio experience – and it

we currently mix for an immersive 3D audio bed

engineer placed the object in the mix and at what

will also apply to 3D audio for computer games

and for standard stereo audio, which is still the

level, and is used to re-create, or render,

supporting VR and AR.

most common audio format. n

OBA will give the end-user the option to

42 43 TVBE Audio Yunger Audio_v2 JG_final.indd 54

One of the major challenges for the production

20/04/2017 17:23


TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

43

Audio

Education, education, education By Wolfgang Huber, public relations manager, Lawo AG

cannot appreciate the new horizons that these

workflows that make Lawo consoles intuitive to

innovations will open up.

use. Topics including general setup of the console

This same thinking was the reason behind

and its input assignments were covered, as well as

Lawo’s decision to became a founding member

more complex areas like snapshots and show files

of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) in

As a special highlight, each of the consoles had

ecent developments in technology, and

2015 – an industry body that was established to

its own Waves SoundGrid Server Platinum to allow

moves toward IP-based solutions and

ensure that all IP solutions brought to market are

visitors hands-on access to the highly sophisticated

workflows in the broadcast, live and install

based on open standards for seamless integration

Waves suite of audio processing effects.

R

markets are sending a clear message to both

into media workflow environments and are fully

equipment developers and end-users. Lawo

interoperable, and with a clear mission to educate

presence, we chose the flexible mc²36 mixing

has been among the earliest companies to

market players about all related issues.

console and its extensive built-in I/O (including

invest its energies in this direction, developing

With this education mission in mind, we devised

In keeping with the theme of our PLS show

Mic/Line/AESMADI/RAVENNA) which, in

and providing IP-based products and solutions

a trade show concept for this year’s Prolight +

combination with the SFP cages and GPI/O

that we consider will help shape the industry’s

Sound that used five mc²36 audio mixing consoles,

interfaces, offers an unrivalled flexibility in

future directions. In addition, we believe that

all integrated into an IP-network via a Lawo Nova

connectivity both for fixed installation or for live/

it is not only important to produce innovative

37 router to provide a “workshop scenario” where

mobile purposes.

technology but also to educate our clients in

the visitors could join hourly workshops hosted

their use and potential. It does not make sense

by either English- or German-speaking trainers

mix of key customers from the German-speaking

simply to launch new technologies if end-users

who demonstrated the mixing of a complex live

countries (including Switzerland and Austria) and

and customers do not understand what the

multitrack recording. These workshop participants

also a fair number of visitors from the Baltic States,

roadmap of a manufacturer means for them, and

were able to take a close-up look into the

Eastern and Western Europe, and even Africa. n

On reflection, we were happy to see a broad

EDITORIAL FEATURE THEMES 2017 2017 will see an even greater commitment from TVBEurope to cover more of the pressing areas of concern, challenge, and opportunity within our burgeoning marketplace. Our dedicated team of writers and contributing editors will continue their exclusive coverage of the shifting media and broadcast sector and will this year be bolstered by a new Technology section, run in association with our sister brand, TV Tech Global. More content, more insight, more ways to reach our loyal audience.

EDITORIAL PLANNER 2017 JUNE - IP: business transformation

JULY - Live sports production

AUGUST- Mixed reality (MR)

IP technology, standards, live production hardware and software, ingest, playout and delivery + The rise of AIMS + Product Focus on lightweight cameras for location work.

Camera kit, outside broadcast facilities, audio, networked comms, consoles, monitors, vision mixers + World Championship athletics and eSports + Specialist camera systems for sports.

VR/AR hardware and software, audio applications + What’s the business proposition for VR in broadcast? + Case study: broadcast VR/AR in action and the IBC 2017 preview.

SEPTEMBER - Next generation broadcast

OCTOBER - Broadcast audio

NOVEMBER- Post production special

OTT/IPTV services, live streaming, virtualization, multiscreen/multiplatform delivery, social TV + Who are the stakeholders in the new content ecosystem? + IBC2017 product showcase.

Consoles, microphones, monitors, audio fixing software, networked communications + Research and development in broadcast audio + IBC2017 broadcast audio review.

Colour grading facilities, audio dubbing, archive, QC, delivery, remote editing, remote collaboration + We’ll fix it in post: how post production deals with industry evolution + Software Showcase.

For all advertising and sponsorship opportunities, contact the sales team: Europe Peter McCarthy: +44 (0)20 7354 6025 pmccarthy@nbmedia.com TVBE Editorial Planner March 2017 half page.indd 1

42 43 TVBE Audio Yunger Audio_v2 JG_final2.indd 55

Richard Carr: +44 (0)20 7354 6027 rcarr@nbmedia.com

USA Mike Mitchell +1 631 673 0072 mjmitchell@broadcast-media.tv 21/04/2017 09:46

21/04/2017 12:16


Wednesday 7th June 2017 I Millennium Mayfair Hotel, London

CELBRATING THOSE PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES IN THE PRODUCTION, MANAGEMENT, AND DELIVERY OF TODAY’S MEDIA CONTENT

Join us at the TVBAwards in June

S T E K TIC E L B A L I A V A

Celebrate the many and various success stories in the industry, as we recognise and reward those pushing the boundaries in the production, management, and delivery of today’s media content. For more information about the TVBAwards 2017 please visit www.tvb-awards.com.

from s.com rd -awa b v t . www

Dress Code: Black Tie

5th – 9th June 2017, Central London, UK

DISRUPTION | TRANSFORMATION | EVOLUTION A WEEK OF STRATEGIC EVENTS EXPLORING THE FUTURE OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT AVAILABLE! For more about this event visit www.media-tech360.com If you would like to sponsor the TVBAwards 2017 please contact Peter McCarthy on: +44(0)20 7354 6025, pmccarthy@nbmedia.com Brought to you by:

@TVBEurope TVBAwards 2017 table/ticket advert.indd 1

|

www.tvb-awards.com

|

#TVBAwards2017 18/04/2017 10:49


X TVBEurope

May 2017 www.tvbeurope.com

45

Data Centre

Exploring the evolution of the TV UX, and why the future must be ‘driverless’ shows that they don’t like. Yet the concept

data points that can be collated, the richer

is sound – like a sommelier recommending

the UX can become. Data also extends to

a wine with a meal, or a hairdresser suggesting

the content; going beyond title, genre,

a new type of styling, consumers relish receiving

actors – but collating associative data that

advice when making a decision within a sea

links certain programmes together based on

T

of choice.

thematic values. Data is the fuel for analysis,

By Pancrazio Auteri, chief technology officer, ContentWise he TV experience has shifted dramatically

In my opinion, the recommendation engine

which generates insights, and this is an area

over the last decade, punctuated by

is just a way station – not the final destination.

where machine-learning tools are able to

several innovations that have changed

The current era of TV has new imperatives

crunch vast data sets and variables can help

expectation from viewers and deployment

around mobility, user-generated short-form

human curators to test hypocrisies with more

considerations for operators. With the

video and niche content that in previous times

than just guesswork.

multichannel explosion offered by satellite,

was uneconomical for broadcast TV, but is now

cable and more recently DTT, the electronic

viable over the internet. Pop-up channels and

programme guide (EPG) has gone from novelty

event TV adds to a broadcast landscape that

to an absolute essential item as channel

is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.

numbers headed into the triple digit range.

Yet outside of the needs of the consumers,

Yet with the emergence of OTT based

TV service operators are learning from the

on-demand as the fastest growing form of

skills of retailers to merchandise content to

content consumption, the traditional linear list

audiences through retaining and revenue,

of channels has proven much less relevant,

in a sea of choices. This has led to the rise of

These pre-stages then allow the creation of

as viewers become overwhelmed with a vast

more curation from skilled humans boosted

more automated and dynamic user interfaces

array of content, ranging from live and catch-

with machine intelligence and automation in

and merchandised content that can adapt

up, along with popular trends like back-to-back

an attempt to build a new user experience

to different variables. For example, a kids TV

binge viewing.

(UX) that adapts to the perceived desires of

app for mobile devices, or a live sports service

the audiences.

designed for the big screen in the living room

‘As operators start to offer more targeted advertising services, these underpinnings of data, analytics and automation will become more valuable’

Although initiated by OTT services, the trend

‘The (EPG) has gone from novelty to an absolute essential item as channel numbers headed into the triple digit range’

are vastly different but can be built quickly

has been carried forward in recent times by

and dynamically based on an understanding

deeper pocketed hybrid services that combine

of audiences and content that are revealed

cable or satellite along with OTT as a way of

through data analytics.

combating the rise of cord-cutting. One of these goals is to showcase the value offered

As operators start to offer more targeted advertising services, these underpinnings

by these services along with encouraging

of data, analytics and automation will

easier content consumption across any device,

become more valuable. The same

This in turn set the stage for the arrival of

catering to every viewing window. Yet this is

technology used to build the driverless

recommendation engines, with operators

not an easy task considering the diversity of

UX can also feed the system that aims

using simple logic to promote certain types of

viewers, content, devices and even dynamic

to serve the most relevant advertising to

content based predominately on what had

factors such as time of day or location.

the most receptive audiences.

been watched previously. In OTT services with

Mimicking the notion of a driverless car – the

For operators striving to remain relevant

thousands of titles spread across several dozen

driverless UX that many operators are striving

amongst an increasingly competitive field,

thematic areas, the recommendation engine

towards is underpinned by several foundations.

embracing data, analytics and automation

has started to become a standard feature –

An essential ingredient is raw data. This can

is a key first step, and ultimately a hedge in a

admittedly with mixed reviews from consumers

include demographic and lifestyle data, along

future where limitless choice makes ease of use

who complain that basic systems suggest

with historical trending. In essence, the more

for the consumer a winning proposition. n

45 TVBE May 17 Data Centre_v2 JG_final.indd 49

19/04/2017 16:44


46

TVBEurope

www.tvbeurope.com May 2017

Data Centre

The $375 million conundrum By Giles Cottle, customer, product and analytics director, Genius Digital

V

oD is a fundamental, but sometimes overlooked, part of any operator’s strategy. Multiscreen and OTT deservedly

capture much of the hype, but a core part of any pay-TV operator’s strategy is still to be the principal destination for video content in the living room. VoD is something operators need to get right to achieve this. Most of our customers want to use the data

we can provide to help boost VoD performance. When we start working with customers, most understand how well individual titles are performing, and will periodically promote VoD, usually around the release of a big series or big

There is also a halo effect on overall consumption

The bigger picture

title. This makes sense – lots of VoD consumption,

of VoD content, even when a campaign is

How VoD performs along with other content

particularly transactional titles, is hit-driven.

targeted around a specific piece of content.

provides operators with another lens through

Recently, a customer sent nine different

which to view VoD consumption. It’s easy to jump

can boost their VoD performance, provided they

campaigns to different groups, with different

to black-and-white conclusions about whether

have the data at their disposal. We work with

content targeted at each group. While the

a subscriber is primarily a live or on-demand

our customers to better target lapsed VoD users,

promoted content performed well, in some

viewer, but subscribers are much more complex

to segment their VoD user base to increase the

cases, the overall halo effect was actually

than that. When most of our customers launch

efficiency of their offers and promotions, and to

stronger. This doesn’t mean the wrong content

a big series on their platforms, they see that

understand the way VoD is consumed as part of

was picked for the campaign. A well-targeted

more subscribers watch using multiple viewing

their wider offering. The result of this work has a

campaign means customers watch not only the

methods, rather than just the one.

real impact on our customers’ VoD performance

title included in the marketing communication,

– and their bottom lines. In fact, we think that

but that they explore the service as a whole

16 episode run of a US series. Most viewers had a

globally – were all operators to undertake it – the

– which does not happen if the content is not

preference for a viewing method for a particular

uplift in revenues from this kind of activity could

targeted correctly in the first place.

show, but tended not to stick religiously to it, and

However, there are smarter ways that operators

The above example (pictured) is for a major

used different methods to view. It isn’t hard to see

be as high as $375 million.

Come back to what you know

why – we lead busy lives, and there are plenty of

A challenge most operators face when it comes

reasons why we may have a favoured method

Driving VoD revenues is about doing simple things

to driving VoD usage is retaining users. Operators

to view a show, and why we may deviate from

well, and often. One of the most fundamental

can lose up to 70 per cent of new VoD users

it sometimes. This ability to understand VoD

initial actions we undertake is to use VoD data

within a month or two of their first usage. As such,

viewing in context of the overall picture is crucial.

to segment customers into groups, based on

this group should be targeted differently to new

It means that operators can target shows at

understanding of what they have viewed in the

users. Campaigns can be based around what

customers on VoD that they know they have

past, and re-marketing to them based on content

a new user has watched, as well as frequency,

watched on linear or PVR. It also means that they

they have watched. Most operators already do

the time of day they have watched, and so on.

can avoid targeting viewers for shows that they

Finding $375 million

this via recommendation engines at the point of consumption, but integrating this kind of activity

xxxxx Carefully targeted offers at lapsed users are a xxxxx

very effective means of getting them to come

have already watched via another means. $375m is a large sum of money, particularly

into the marketing process can yield real results.

back to the service. At Genius Digital, we have

when talking about VoD. Operators have long

When an operator runs a campaign, they will

found that 15-20 per cent of customers targeted

struggled to monetise VoD assets, and we’re not

usually see a boost in VoD consumption. Through

with this kind of offer will watch another VoD title.

suggesting that data provides a ‘silver bullet’ that

improved targeting, on average we see a 30 per

This ability to constantly re-target is an invaluable

can turn VoD into a cash cow – but operators

cent boost in view rates of free content – and five

asset in improving the retention rate of any

can iterate and improve on their performance by

to ten per cent in terms of paid content.

VoD service.

doing a lot of these small things well, and often. n

46 TVBE May 17 Data Centre_v2 JG_final.indd 46

19/04/2017 16:43


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