Broadcast Academy Sessions at the IBC2018 Amsterdam

1 – Sunday 16th Sep 10:30 – Acquiring Sports Rights

Attendees: 30 participants, SVG and broadcasters from different parts of the world.  Most notably from Mauritius, Qatar, Philippines, Tunisia and India attended the session.

Some of the biggest names in the international sports rights world discussed the latest market trends worldwide in a fascinating discussion. Sundar Raman, the man behind the IPL cricket in India and now CEO of Reliance Sports, was joined by former Olympic chief Vincent Chupin and by the director of the Asian Broadcasting Union’s sports department Cai Yanjiang.

In a discussion moderated by Lise Cosimi of HBS, the panel provided unique insights from a variety of perspectives. In particular, they discussed the trend of rights holders looking to build a relationship directly with their customers, and the dangers this poses to the existing roles of broadcasters and agencies.

This discussion focused on the increasing role of the broadcast unions to support training and community rather than simply the purchased acquisition of rights. The panel identified three elements underpinning the price of sports rights: commercial, competition and political. Political support can potentially fund the acquisition of rights where an event is perceived as being of national importance.

 When the panel looked to the future, they believed that the future of sports content included more customised feeds for viewers, with the potential to pay more for a differentiated viewing experience that could include Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality (AR or VR). They believed that there would be a more direct relationship between payment and the specific content you wished to view, as well as the quality of experience, including the size of the viewing screen.

 2 – Sunday 16th Sept 14:00 – Digital Production

Attendance: 40 participants ranging from broadcasting union members (ABU, ASBU and AUB) to FIFA officials.

Senior Vice President digital head Claude presented the development of digital change, while Facebook’s Melissa Jackson talked about a strategy for a different viewing experience on social media. Other panellists included director of the Asian Broadcasting Union’s sports department Cai Yanjiang, who shared insights from the Asia-Pacific region with special focus on China.

According to Melissa Lawton, any sports rights owner wishing to reach a targeted audience on social media platforms needs to think about three key areas: 1.) Clean and readable graphics, 2.) Coordinated Commentary, and 3.) Community Management.  The flexibility of digital production can make the viewer experience more customised and more enjoyable.

Cai Yanjiang talked about how digital production has made it easy for new companies to enter the sports broadcast industry which is changing the statuesque of market dominance by big players.

Questions raised by the audiences include copyright issues involved in digital production to the business model of social media platforms.  The experts reiterated the importance of owning the rights to the content and that it was critical to the success of a digital production.  Melissa confirmed that the business models of social media platforms were either subscription based or advertising funded.

 3 – Sunday 16th Sept 16:00 – Moving beyond SDI Gathers Together Experts who are Changing the Industry

Attendance: Approx. 30 participants. Broadcast Engineers and members of broadcasting unions, ABU, AUB and ASBU.

Panellists joined the discussion to give perspectives from every dimension.  From an IT perspective, the audience was engaged with Executive Vice President Discovery Dave Duvall and Chief Technical officer HBS Jorg Sander provided the insight from large event productions, and Samer Younes, Al Kass Sports Channels, provided yet another dimension to this discussion.  The context of the Arab market and broadcasters was represented by Bassil Zoubi, Director of Technology & Development – ASBU.

Moderator, James Stellpflug, VP Global Product Marketing – EVS provided the perspective of our industries transformation and what the move away from SDI towards IP is intended to provide.  From this foundation of discussion, the audience and panellists covered their views on topics ranging from where IP has already brought benefits through file transfers and contribution/distribution solution and what each of them was looking for in terms of business gains thanks to IP.   The underlying topic of the human factor was raised, and how training and skillsets should be a focus, including how the right role of SLA and 24/7 to support operations would be needed.  The course also covered the added challenges of freelancer staff who need to be engaged in the transition to be successful.

The panellist raised the topic of benefit through the usage of commodity hardware and away from fixed-function devices that would be enabled by IP.  While the aspects of compression and uncompressed operations were differentiated both from the terminology for staff and the impacts of these choices from a holistic facility standpoint for the architecture choices.

Finally, panellists looked to the future by discussing what else was missing to help accelerate the transition and what they would advise vendor to focus on for the success of our industry for next steps.

 4 – Tuesday 18th Sept 14:00 – Quality control in live sports production

Attendance: 15.  Producers and directors from Polish and Dutch league, Olympic Broadcast Services and Eurosport.

Phillippe Oziol from HBS, who has practical experience of developing standards for the French Football League, shared his knowledge alongside Riki van Steeden, the man behind quality control for some of the biggest events in the world. These two men also shared the stage with Samer Younes of Al Kass Sports Channels.

Philippe elaborated on the process of creating guidelines for the French Ligue 1 and 2 and emphasised the process that creates a consistently strong brand across a variety of events, delivering a consistent look and feel and reinforcing a positive image through quality control. Riki shared his experiences and anecdotes from working on major sports events around the world. Samer Younes from Al Kass Sports Channels updated everyone on how FIFA broadcast requirements have been built into the design of the venues to ensure consistent quality of the broadcast.  

The audience participated in the discussion by giving their own concluding remarks on the subject.

5 – Live Sports Direction Sessions (three separate sessions)

Activation:

  • Train tomorrows stars: 19 participants, mainly students from various universities around Europe.
  • Women in sports directing: 15 participants, mostly women in sports broadcasting including Polish and South African representatives
  • Advanced directing: 5 participants.

The practical Sports direction sessions started with a quick overview of the Broadcast Academy by Ekta Hutton followed by an introduction to the Live TV Simulator by Yves Morrier from EVS.

The hands-on sessions were then conducted/led by two experts in their field Riki and Jan. Riki Van Steeden, Live Producer at HBS, walked the participants through the basics of directing and why it is important for directors to have a prepared plan on how major incidents in a match/event will be covered.  Jan Mokallai, an EVS expert talked through the replay operations, specifically discussing the importance of timing in assisting the director tell a story.

All participants were given a chance to become a replay operator and a director for a live football match using 12 separate camera angles.

The three separate sessions for students, women in broadcast and advanced broadcast professionals generated considerable interest due to the practical/hands-on aspect of the training.

Jesus Novillo a student from Spain said: “It is rare for us to have an opportunity to interact with directors/producers of this calibre. I really enjoyed being a director and working on the Rolls-Royce of replay servers, the EVS Live TV Simulator. I am keen to pursue my passion for directing and will apply some of the tips/tricks that I have learnt today”

Riki Van Steeden, Live Producer at HBS commented: ‘It is fantastic to see the level of interest and knowledge of the young participants. We hope by sharing our experience we have made a genuine impact on their view of the broadcast industry and their understanding of the scope of a director.”