Exploring the future of media technology
Hot tech at the Winter Olympics
Social video explosion
Hollywood truth-telling with The Ankler
Games and advertising
EDITORIAL EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 email@example.com
DIGITAL AND FEATURES EDITOR Verity Butler
CHIEF SUB EDITOR Alex Bell
SUB EDITORS Matthew Winney, Harriet Williams CONTRIBUTORS Michael Burns, David Davies, Adrian Pennington and Fergal Ringrose ADVERTISING GROUP AD MANAGER Sam Scott-Smith +44 (0) 1223 499457 samscott-smith @bright-publishing.com
pring is here! And with it the promise of an optimistic outlook which, we hope, will include getting to sit down with you to
Services usually getting two years between events, Beijing was an especially remarkable broadcast, coming so hard on the heels of Tokyo. We also sit down with Richard Rushfield, the mind behind The Ankler , ‘Hollywood’s most dangerous newsletter.’ As the traditional trade publications have become more tame and beholden to the very studios they’re meant to be covering, The Ankler appeared to deliver frank, irreverent and much-lauded analysis of the entertainment business. Of course, it’s NAB time. Finally, we’re going to get to walk the floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center to see, in person, what’s new in the world of media tech. We’re looking forward to meeting some of you there – and showing off the exciting ventures we’ve been working on at FEED !
SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGERS Emma Stevens
+44 (0) 1223 499462 +44 (0) 7376 665779 firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen Palmer +44 (0) 1223 499453 email@example.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Matt Snow DESIGN DESIGNER AND AD PRODUCTION Man-Wai Wong JUNIOR DESIGNER Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman
hear your stories in person. As things began to thaw at the start of 2022, the media tech industry tentatively stretched its wings to try out the new things it learned in lockdown. What’s become clear is that video is an essential part of every business now – whether you’re doing entertainment, webinars, product demos or team meetings. In this issue, we take a deep dive into the best ways to build your own VOD platform, taking advantage of everything video content has to offer. It’s also Olympics time... again. This year ’s Games pulled off some firsts, including a full UHD/HDR workflow and unparalleled use of cloud. With Olympic Broadcast
DESIGN MANAGER Alan Gray
DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck
Use this QR code to go right to the interactive version of this issue!
NEAL ROMANEK, EDITOR
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FEED:SHOW Our rundown of the latest in media tech news and product releases
64 Genius Interview
We talk with Richard Rushfield, editor of The Ankler – known as ‘Hollywood’s most dangerous newsletter’ Storage Special Public cloud isn’t the only cloud. The media is taking control of its servers
122 Just the Numbers – Diversity
How are broadcasters doing in their efforts to make the industry more diverse?
132 Industry Inventory
Media business professionals tell us about their early work experiences – and how they got to where they are today
144 Over the Top
We always say that content is king. But that may not be true any more, if it ever was
24 Charisma 36 Pictory 58 Bopper
120 Fave 130 Revelator 142 Sweep
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT FROM OUR PARTNERS
115 Blackbird 72
131 Grabyo 78
Grass Valley 121 Imagine Communications 116 Lawo
57 CGI 82 Dalet 37
Sports reporter Tech highlights from the world of sports broadcast
92 Winter Olympics
Olympic Broadcasting Services was under pressure to get Beijing up and running in record time At Mediatel’s The Future of Gaming conference, we learn how gaming should be part of everybody’s business strategy
VOD Voices – Build your own brand Why your business needs video
38 VOD Voices – Social media
Vertical VOD & reaching out on social Masterclass How to create your own platform
104 Connecting stadiums with 5G 5G networks promise a new model for in-venue experience 110 In-game advertising The virtual video games space is becoming terrain for real-world advertising campaigns
89 LiveU 128 MediaKind 44 NewTek 60 Panasonic
59 Pebble 98 Riedel 90 Ross Video 20 Sony
102 The Switch 108 TSL Products 25, 140 WorldCast 34 Zixi
Few media organisations get to implement new technology without having to negotiate legacy issues. A library is built over time, in different systems, for distinct purposes and in various ways. Utilising AI to identify these differences has untold benefits. QUANTIPHI – AI- POWERED VIDEO DEDUPLICATION CATEGORY: STORE WINNER:
CATEGORY: PUBLISH WINNER: ELUVIO This entry proves once again how blockchain is going to transform media – we need to start preparing now for web 3.0.
CATEGORY: PROJECT, COLLABORATION OR EVENT WINNER: INTEL, SPIN DIGITAL, GLOBO – POWERING TOKYO 2020, LIVESTREAMING IN 8K, 60FPS, HDR OVER OPEN INTERNET
FEED:SHOW delves into the hottest headlines in the world of video workflow and distribution. We’ve got all the latest awards, partnerships and launches
The 2020 Olympics was ambitiously trailed as 8K for years, but to stream this over the open internet in
60fps, 10-bit HDR was a groundbreaking achievement. Figures on the data handling are incredible.
Words by Verity Butler
IABM AWARDS: THE WINNERS
Acknowledging outstanding innovation and achievement, FEED celebrates the 2021 IABM BaM Awards
Taking place in December with attendees from across the globe, the awards were held virtually following the cancellation of exhibitions. The two editions of the BaM Awards to have held at NAB Show and IBC were rolled into a single event.
Judging was carried out by a panel of over 40 independent judges – each with expertise in one or more of the classifications on show. See below for a selection of the award categories, as well as their eventual winners.
CATEGORY: BROADCAST/MEDIA COMPANY OF THE YEAR WINNER: BEIN MEDIA GROUP The network produced some outstanding coverage of Euro 2020 – the first major live sports event since the March 2020 global lockdown. It did this despite ongoing restrictions, achieving almost one billion views across the MENA region, combining 15 hours of live, daily studio coverage with expert analysis from local and international talent.
Blackbird is spearheading the critical issue of sustainability within the media and video industry. Its cloud-native production technology has been independently found to generate up to 91% less CO2 at source than on-premises and cloud-based workflows, because it requires no special hardware or virtual machine, runs on any laptop, uses only 2Mbps bandwidth and eliminates travel. Blackbird is delivering real, tangible benefits to both its customers and the wider world. CATEGORY: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY WINNER: BLACKBIRD
CATEGORY: CREATE WINNER: EVS – XTRAMOTION
Leveraging cloud processing and machine learning, XtraMotion enables the transformation
of footage from any camera angle into high-speed video using frame interpolation.
CATEGORY: MOST INCLUSIVE COMPANY WINNER: BT SPORT
BT Sport has taken real action right across its operation to promote diversity and inclusion. Well over 100 of its staff have taken part in a dedicated D&I programme, and it has produced a Premier League football match including all-female
on-screen talent and production staff. BT Sport is a founder of Rise Up, inspiring girls into the industry, running takeovers that let students create BT Sport shows, and its School 21 programme engages those from many backgrounds.
CATEGORY: MONETISE WINNER: EON MEDIA
CATEGORY: CONNECT WINNER: VIZRT GROUP – CONNECTING THE WORLD WITH NDI
A point solution that enables media businesses to gather more data for advertising measurement. It’s an interesting and innovative answer – leveraging image recognition technology to deliver a new use case, supported by a case study.
This submission stands out not just for being so well-placed when broadcasting in Covid-19 times, but also the enormous opportunities ahead for climate-friendly
remote production everywhere. NDI 5 brings the benefits of IP studio to the mass market with wide adoption; the Bridge enables global connectivity.
Media is an ever-changing beast, but FEED keeps on top of the latest news, so you don’t have to! Check out these stories on the latest developments in media tech TECHNOLOGY& DEPLOYMENTS
CONNECT THE DOTS Ateliere’s content supply chain platform has been made available in AWS Marketplace. An online store that helps find, buy and use services on AWS, Ateliere Connect can be bought in just a few clicks. “Purchasing Ateliere Connect through AWS Marketplace helps customers meet AWS spending commitments,” said Ateliere
Creative Technologies CEO Dan Goman. “This makes it simple to take advantage of AWS pricing, purchasing obligations and volume discount tiers. It is cost-effective to rapidly migrate content libraries and workflows to the cloud.” The solution replaces expensive on-premises infrastructure and removes duplicate media.
Artel Video Systems has released its Smart Multimedia Delivery Platform in OpenGear. A software-defined, four-channel, auto-sense SD-SDI/HD-SDI/3G/4K-over-IP multifunction gateway, Smart OG is the first to bring the family of JPEG compression engines, including those specified in VSF TR-01, TR-07 and TR-08, onto the OpenGear platform. Winner of a NAB Show Product of the Year award for 2021 in the hardware infrastructure category, Artel’s Smart OG offers exceptional flexibility in a popular frame. The gateway attaches seamlessly to the IP network, without the need for external elements. Users only have to instal hardware once, then use software updates to change the gateway’s functionality as needed.
SYNERGISED OTT SOLUTIONS
Synamedia is using Ateliere tech in its Vivid workflow-as-a-service (WaaS) portfolio, delivering refined and low-latency OTT solutions. The partnership allows integrated streaming and on-demand offerings for the market. It gives video service providers an edge when trying to attract and retain subscribers, by presenting a simplified viewing experience across all screens. “Video service providers are competing for audience mindshare in a highly competitive space, and seeking proven solutions from trusted experts to deliver a compelling user experience on any screen,” explains Synamedia senior product manager Olivier Detaevernier. “They seek to lean on
reliable partners that offer simplified implementation of new features, with rapid time-to-market and accelerated return on investment.” With this updated solution, consumers can now access live or on-demand OTT content. This includes CDVR, AVOD, SVOD, VOD and more – and directly through set-top boxes for main screens, as well as content-focused
apps on secondary screens or smart televisions. “Our low-latency OTT solution, empowered by Ateliere’s content management technolog,y restores the value proposition of video services. It combines the benefits of traditional viewing with OTT streaming, delivering the best of both worlds through a seamless experience,” he concludes.
THE INSIDE SCOOP AETA Audio Systems has added 5G capabilities to ScoopTeam. The update focuses on commentary, providing a solution for both large and small stations, which can now cover events with strengthened audio quality. “After carrying out in-depth R&D, we’re happy to offer our clients the most advanced network connectivity available today,” describes AETA general manager Yann Vonarburg. “ScoopTeam can embed a 5G network connection, resulting in safer audio links, even via wireless networks. This greatly reduces obstacles inherent to AoIP connections.”
Cirkus, a new SaaS task and project management A MEDIA CIRKUS
solution, has been released by Farmerswife, in a bid to address project needs of media brands. Cloud-based and available as both integration and stand-alone products, the solution aims to adapt to the way teams function in the real world. “Cirkus is the culmination of more than two decades of work at the forefront of project management and planning in media,” asserts Farmerswife CEO Stephen Elliott. Teams or freelancers no longer need a disparate array of ad hoc tools to communicate across organisations. Plus, it centralises processes, ensuring contact remains seamless throughout a project. “This reflects how companies are, with large internal teams, needing to work efficiently and harmoniously with external freelancers and consultants. It lets them scale and flex to manage production cycles and optimise workflows or processes throughout their organisation,” concludes Elliott.
The 5G upgrade comes as AETA also announced that the unit can embed two wireless modules. Now, ScoopTeam can simultaneously connect to both 4G and 5G networks.
Dalet has announced some major updates to its transcoding tool, AmberFin. New features include integrations with its cloud-native Dalet Flex and Dalet Pyramid platforms. These capabilities provide an improved user experience and have completed the AWS Foundational Technical Review. TRANSCODING TRIUMPHS
The newly updated Dalet AmberFin Kiosk, which supports macOS and offers expanded support for ProRes Raw and NEF, helps users efficiently offload and back up mass content. Using cloud storage, it verifies integrity and enriches metadata for correct organisation. This is particularly beneficial for those out on location for long production shoots.
CAST IN THE SAME MOULD
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NewTek launched the TriCaster 1 Pro: a live production system supporting 4K UHD switching, live streaming, recording, data- driven graphics, virtual sets, media publishing and more. NewTek has also unveiled features for its other TriCasters. Since its release in July 2020, the TriCaster 2 Elite has been celebrated as setting
new standards for a single system. It remains the flagship offering, and features selectable audio and video returns, with unmatched quality and flexibility – as well as NDI genlock. The NewTek TriCaster 2 Elite update is free and available to download now for all existing users. The TriCaster 2 Elite is available to buy for $29,995.
The New HyperDeck Studio Get broadcast quality H.264, ProRes and DNx files recorded to SD cards or SSD media!
Popular ProRes, DNx, H.264 and H.265 Files! HyperDeck supports the most popular codecs in use today! All models include DNx and ProRes file formats. However all models also include H.264 in quality up to 10 bit 4:2:2 when recording in NTSC, PAL, 720p, 1080p and true 1080i interlaced formats. While the 4K model adds H.265 when recording in Ultra HD. The Plus and Pro models have ProRes 4444 for fill and key playback! Advanced Broadcast Connections! Depending on the model HyperDeck Studio features a wide range of video and audio connections such as 3G-SDI, 6G-SDI or 12G-SDI. All models include HDMI for connecting to televisions and projectors. There’s even a dedicated SDI monitoring output on the Pro and Plus models with on screen status. The 4K model has 10G Ethernet for extremely fast network file copying! HyperDeck Studio HDMini ������������������������������������� £409 HyperDeck Studio HD Plus �������������������������������������� £565 HyperDeck Studio HD Pro ������������������������������������������ £815 HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro ������������������������������������� £1,229
HyperDeck Studio lets you record broadcast quality video files directly onto SD cards and SSD media! The new redesigned HyperDeck Studios feature modern design with more codecs and quieter cooling. All models now support recording to H.264, Apple ProRes or DNxHD files with either PCM or AAC audio. For ISO recording, there’s even built in timecode and reference generators for syncing multiple units! Elegantly Designed Professional Broadcast Deck The new HyperDeck Studio models have been totally redesigned with dozens of new features! The Pro models feature a machined metal search dial with increased mass and a sof t rubber surface that feels nice to the touch. Plus the search dial features an active clutch, just like a traditional broadcast deck! With dual media slots, you can change cards without interrupting recording! Record to External USB-CMedia Disks If recording to other types of media is required, the USB-C expansion port lets you plug in an external flash disk for recording. USB-C flash disks have unlimited capacity because they can be physically larger than an SD card or SSD. Just move the disk over to a computer and instantly start editing! There are also menus for managing external disks on the built in LCD.
SRP is Exclusive of VAT.
Broadpeak has launched an SaaS platform dubbed broadpeak.io. It offers content providers, pay-TV operators and OTT service providers an answer to delivering advanced streaming to their subscribers. The brand has specialised in CDN and video delivery solutions for over ten years. Broadpeak.io is an alternative to bulk streaming methods in the form of an API platform. “This takes Broadpeak’s trusted framework and makes it available as a service in the cloud, resulting in unparalleled simplicity and scalability,” said vice president of cloud platform Mathias Guille. It will evolve to host several applications related to advanced video streaming – the first of these an app to support contextualised streaming needs, with a blackout service.
BRIDGE THE AUDIO GAP
Bridge Technologies added audio capabilities to its VB440 technology. This is designed for the monitoring and analysis of ST 2110 and ST 2022-6 high-bit-rate broadcast media traffic. Deployable in a variety of environments such as broadcasting networks, production studios, master control centres, OB trucks and venues, the VB440 can also manage both uncompressed and compressed data, including JPEG XS and HDR signals.
The latest additions of new audio functionalities allow engineers to work with immersive audio standards at any location, simply by using an HTML5-based browser. Updates include a goniometer, loudness radar, and the ability to measure multichannel audio across 64 channels within one flow. This is on top of the surround and immersive audio standards which are now accessible to engineers. are vendor-neutral, without need for specific drivers to be written – or for manual configuration. CEO of Open Broadcast Systems Kieran Kunhya stated: “It can be hard to incorporate high-density encode and decode into uncompressed IP facilities, and so NMOS IS-04/05 allows for broadcasters to control easily, without the need to go back to legacy SDI workflows – as many have done.”
Zixi announced the integration of AWS Cloud Digital Interface (CDI) and AWS Elemental Link. New capabilities have been added to Zixi’s Zen Master live video orchestration and telemetry control plane, which makes it easy to manage inputs and outputs for hundreds of live video and Zixi streams at scale. “Zen Master reduces complexity with a set of virtual tools to configure, orchestrate and monitor delivery of live video at channel and device level – or across an entire content creation and distribution enterprise,” said director of engineering at AWS Elemental Greg Truax. “With Zen Master SaaS running on AWS, it was natural to extend collaboration with Zixi.” Available directly from Zixi, and through the AWS Marketplace, incremental flows further the interoperability of both software and hardware vendors in their production environment, at high bandwidth with low end-to-end latency.
Open Broadcast Systems’ C-200 encoders and decoders now have support for NMOS (Networked Media Open Specifications) – and work with both IS-04 and IS-05. NMOS operates as a family of open, free-of-charge specifications that allow for interoperability between media devices on particular infrastructure. The addition of NMOS means that routing of uncompressed IP flows into the C-200
BUSINESS & INDUSTRY From alliances between broadcast giants, to the acquisition of a major creative tool for film production, we cover the movers and shakers in the tech biz
FRENCH NEWS UPGRADE
A partnership has formed between France Télévisions and CGI, with the latter aiming to modernise the former ’s newsrooms with its OpenMedia solution. France Télévisions is the leading French AV group, tying in six national channels, 24 regional and nine overseas branches. For a planned period of four years, CGI will work to standardise the company’s offering – in a contract valued at over €3.5m. Specifically, France Télévisions wants to have a common tool for all its newsrooms. The project is split into two phases: • Phase 1 will involve the integration of OpenMedia NewsBoard. • Phase 2 follows with the integration of OpenMedia Infinity. Intended to be used by over 3000 journalists, OpenMedia will allow the network to adapt to market standards and facilitate collaboration between various entities.
DPP PUBLISHES METADATA RECOMMENDATIONS
Industry business network, DPP, published Recommendation DPP008 – Business to Business Metadata Exchange. Using insights from a selection of DPP members, the document is a bid to reduce friction in the supply chain at the point of content exchange – specifically around metadata. “While the interchange of content itself is well understood, the landscape for metadata is significantly more varied,” says DPP CTO Rowan de Pomerai.
“A huge range of different formats are used – many of them bespoke – leading to significant inefficiencies in the supply chain.” Recommendations are made within the document that most media organisations would be best served by implementing MovieLabs Digital Distribution Framework (MDDF), a suite of compatible standards and specifications for interchange. And it outlines a phased approach for adoption into the critical path of the supply chain.
Grass Valley has announced an enterprise pricing deal with OB truck manufacturer Broadcast Solutions Group. The deal will see investment of $31m over a five-year period, delivering on its vision to develop live content solutions for global media companies. The agreement underlines Grass Valley’s mission to be an industry leader in digital transformation and the provision of premium live content. Broadcast Solutions Group’s Nordic team will establish a new competence centre in Helsinki, based off GV AMPP. “We’ve been proud to work with Broadcast Solutions over many years, and are delighted to extend our partnership,” said Tim Banks, WORKING IN TANDEM
vice president of sales, EMEA at Grass Valley. “Formalising this relationship brings greater value for customers, ensuring the local resources and capability to support our wealth of innovative products and solutions. We look forward to
working together over many years to come.” The companies will also work on the Grass Valley edition of IP OB vans – known as Streamline. These trucks support 12-24 camera set-ups and will be made available in 2022.
ENTERING THE KOREAN MARKET
Pebble revealed the appointment of Besco as its newest channel partner, based in South Korea. This partnership serves as the largest implementation of sophisticated playout technologies in the Korean market. Combining Pebble’s automation, integrated channel and Pebble Remote solutions for CJ OliveNetworks, Besco has been
leading on a complete installation of products, which in turn have brought 11 channels to air. “Pebble has market-leading solutions that are both flexible and technically demanding, providing a combination of I/O (SDI, NDI, IP, compressed and uncompressed), extensive redundancy schemes (1+1+1), multiple graphics plug-ins,
on-premises/remote operations and much more – all in one system,” describes Pebble’s VP of sales Samir Isbaih. “Combined with Besco’s local expertise and support, Pebble is confident it can offer the Korean market the most compelling solutions in broadcast playout automation and IP broadcasting.”
ACCELERATING SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES
A team of sports broadcasters, rights owners and technology vendors have been collaborating as part of IBC’s Accelerator media innovation programme, with the key aim to support a carbon ‘net zero’ future for live productions. The first results from an English Premier League production trial were recently released – as a product of this partnership. They reveal how remote and cloud production workflows can combine to meet ambitious sustainability objectives, managing to reduce the environmental impact of live production. The team is led by BBC Sport, BT Sport, Sky Sports, the Premier
Telstra has joined the SRT Alliance, a group of industry leaders and developers working for lower-latency internet video transport. Founded by Haivision in 2017, the alliance already has over 500 members. SRT is a free, open-source streaming video transport protocol and technology. Andreas Eriksson, head of Telstra Broadcast Services, said: “Our goal is to give broadcasters of any size the most flexible, cost-effective and robust ways to manage their content. “Our collaboration with the SRT Alliance and Haivision supports us in delivering the right solutions for broadcasters, through driving technologies like the open-source video transport protocol. This tackles some of the main issues our clients face when it comes to high-performance, low-latency streaming in a secure, unfailing way across the public internet.”
League, IMG and Bafta’s Albert. They are each experimenting with multi-provider cloud technologies, formats and workflows, sharing camera feeds, audio, graphics and human resources to avoid duplication – and reduce travel, or any other energy requirements in the production chain. Key findings have confirmed that working in the cloud reduces the amount of technical infrastructure required for the gallery production of some broadcasters by as much as 70%. The IBC Accelerator sessions can be found on IBC Digital, and it is now working on the 2022 Accelerator programme.
Watch now Vizrt Production Control Suite video
MPTS 2022 IS ON!
The Media Production & Technology Show has announced that the event is back for 2022, taking place at Olympia London on 11 and 12 May. MPTS has revealed an innovative content theatre dedicated to broadcast and media technology. There will also be some new exhibitors joining the many companies that are returning to the show. On top of this, expect an interactive exhibition and seminar programme covering the spectrum of broadcast expertise. Topics include future tech investment, AI and machine learning, 5G in sport, content monetisation – and much more. “We are so excited to welcome everyone to a larger show that delivers a real hands-on experience of the latest technologies, together with world-class speakers covering all aspects of audio, content creation, pre-production, production, post and distribution,” says Charlotte Wheeler, director of the Broadcast Tech and Sport Group. Register for the show here: mediaproductionshow2022-visitor.reg.buzz
WATCH THIS SPACE
Telefónica’s Wayra has invested in Sceenic, creators of Watch Together – a software that enables OTT platform users to share content while video calling friends and family. Sceenic has emphasised that the investment will be a method of strengthening its presence in European and Latin American markets, as well as its internal growth and future product development. Paloma Castellano, director of Wayra Madrid, commented: “The entertainment sector has radically changed in recent years, and it’s a shift that intensified as a direct result of the pandemic. “Wayra’s eagerness to get behind this project is a clear indicator of Telefónica’s interest in these new forms of digital entertainment, which are increasingly found in the homes of millions of people.”
Maxon is a developer of creative tools, and recently announced its acquisition of Pixologic’s acclaimed software ZBrush. “ZBrush is an industry-leading 3D sculpting and painting solution PAINTING A PICTURE
for the most respected companies and artists around the world. By combining our world-class tools and people, we hope to delight creatives with an ever-expanding and powerful toolset for their
needs,” explained CEO of Maxon David McGavran. Used by film studios, game developers, designers, advertisers, illustrators and scientists from all over the globe, it has seen use in most major franchises – including Dune , Star Wars , Avatar , the Marvel Universe, Game of Thrones , Lord of the Rings and more. It has also been deployed on Frozen , Tangled , Zootopia and Encanto . “This has been my passion for over two decades. I can think of no better home for the future of ZBrush and its community. And I’m looking forward to collaborating with Maxon’s innovative dev team to further revolutionise ZBrush for many years to come,” enthused founder and visionary of Pixologic, Ofer Alon. “There’s never been a better time for artists to add ZBrush to their creative arsenal.”
Sony is doubling down on making customer connection a priority
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n a world where media markets are increasingly diverse and volatile, broadcasters and content producers are ever more cautious about big, up-front expenditures and
long-term commitments. The ability to pivot quickly, test business strategies and distribute across new outlets and platforms has become essential. In this environment, navigating your media technology strategy is not something you want to do alone. There are a lot of variables, and opportunities, that require good guidance to make the most of them. Recognising this need, Sony is embracing a fresh way of working with customers that puts solutions and collaboration front and centre. Years of experience in serving media companies, combined with its new cloud services portfolio, mean Sony is in a unique position to help shepherd companies with a growth mindset into new and better ways of making and delivering content. COLLABORATION ”Sony is a very good partner for clients in an environment where there is a high degree of change,” explains Tim Felstead, product and solutions marketing manager for Sony Professional Solutions Europe. “There’s high potential for new technology. But I’d like to encourage customers and salespeople to have a conversation; not about the technology, but about the business.” Sony always aims for collaboration with its customers, helping some of the biggest media producers in the world innovate solutions. But active listening has become a deliberate part of Sony’s strategy. Drawing out
a client’s real requirements, through dialogue about the job at hand, allows Sony to not only fill the brief, but anticipate needs and offer solutions or strategies they might not have even considered. This wealth of past experience, plus renewed receptivity to customer requirements, means Sony partners have a formidable knowledge base to draw on. And, as companies start to move more into the cloud, Sony will be able to offer them a solid road map. “We don’t just have amazing product specialists in hardware at Sony, but also great software and
cloud knowledge,” says Khan Odza, Sony’s solutions marketing manager for Europe. “People don’t want to put a big investment in cloud up front. After surveying customers on what would be ideal for them, we discovered they want to start with a small investment, trying different microservices. If it works, then they will scale up.” AGILITY “I’ve been told that SDI is going to be gone in five years – for the past 20 years,” says Felstead. “What is possible in software, and cloud, is still going to be bandwidth and processor limited. There are certain things you simply cannot do without having some form of hardware support.” Certainly, broadcast technology is always changing, but that doesn’t mean it’s all progressing forward in a neat, linear way. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a leap forward into cloud and remote working, which many people figured was still a few years off. At the
FULL CIRCLE Sony Media
Cloud Services can power your remote workflow
PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO PUT A BIG INVESTMENT IN CLOUD UP FRONT. THEY WANT TO START SMALL, TRYING DIFFERENT MICROSERVICES. IF ITWORKS, THEYWILL SCALE UP
same time, companies are happy to continue using old systems until they breathe their last breath. This has been called the ‘electric car effect’ – where everyone is planning on buying one, but waiting until the last possible moment, so they can start in with the latest technology. As a result, media workflows and infrastructures are multifaceted and diverse. Cloud-based editing may go hand in hand with SDI-based gear on-premises. An IP broadcast studio may need to be continually repurposed to manage shows delivered across a variety of outlets. People might build a portable production unit based on SDI, because it’s cheap and simple – but then be ready to run it remotely via a gateway to the network. Ultimately, says Felstead, the real solution is human, not technological.
“The customer is sitting at their premises, trying to figure out which technology decisions to make – which can be difficult, even for people who make the technology. They’re focused on running their business, and making media. So, finding a company like Sony to partner with is a good move.” Felstead points to a conversation with a customer who made a pledge to go 100% to the cloud by 2026. But this commitment wasn’t just a blind dash to some arbitrary technological finish line. The goal was a framework in which the company could test the limits of what was possible; a way of learning what they could adopt in the cloud and what would need to be augmented with other technologies. “You have to engage in proofs of concept. It’s similar to how the pandemic taught the industry remote production is possible – it may not have been as pretty as on-premises, but people found out what works.” Running tests and trials, and relying on the experience of others, will go a long way towards creating successful media businesses in the future. Jumping in without the proper consultation or foresight risks disaster. WELCOME ADDITION “We have experts at Sony who have been here for years,” explains Odza.
“They understand the histories and backgrounds of the industry and our clients. But we also have a new group of people who really grasp APIs and software connections.” In 2020, Sony acquired Nevion, award-winning provider of virtualised media production solutions. It has a long history of using IP, IT and virtualisation technology to allow easy media sharing. The addition of the Nevion team to the Sony family introduces tremendous opportunities for synergy between Sony’s legendary broadcast experience and innovation in the world of IP, cloud and networks. This new partnership augments what is already a vast background in the software-based world. Sony, after all, created one of the first cloud services widely used by major media companies. In 2013, the company launched Ci, which allowed Sony Pictures film and TV productions to manage and share footage. As Sony rolled out more cloud- based solutions, with Ci continuing to evolve, the company’s remote contribution tools also evolved. XDCAM Air turned into C3 Portal, allowing teams to get instant access to content faster than ever. The microservices-based Media Solutions Toolkit started to take shape alongside Media Analytics Portal,
THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS YOU SIMPLY CANNOT DO WITHOUT HAVING SOME FORMOF HARDWARE SUPPORT
which leverages AI to make the best of channel operations. All these have coalesced into the Sony Media Cloud Services suite, designed around the real-world requirements of customers. CLOUD INNOVATION Sony Media Cloud Services is a unified, cloud-native platform designed to streamline media workflows. The company has been laser- focused on solving real-world industry pain points, leveraging the latest software technologies to manage assets and workflows in a variety of environments – from shooting to delivery. The result is a vast array of available functionalities, coupled with Sony’s integration capabilities with both internal and third-party software. As a result, Media Cloud Services is a full suite intended for live and recorded productions, from capture to playout and edit to archive – to streamline your workflows. A critically important step in any media workflow is to efficiently manage teams scattered around the globe, receiving their footage as soon as possible to stay ahead of the competition. CH Media in Switzerland has been experiencing those benefits using Sony’s C3 Portal. “What I like most is that you can pull and edit the files even when the
THEY WERE SO HAPPY TO REMOVE THE BURDEN OF ADMIN TASKS, DOING DUPLICATION, MANAGING METADATA – AND FREE UP THE CREATIVITY OF THEIR TEAMS
journalist hasn’t fully finished filming,” says Silja Hänggi, head of video unit at CH Media. “Of course, this makes my work even more efficient.” Using other cloud-based products like Ci, companies can collect, transcode and index files to help creative teams produce and share quickly and flexibly. Core Ci tools include accelerated file transfer, transcoding, collaborative review, asset management and archiving. Ci has seen huge adoption over the past two years, as lockdowns have revealed the benefits of remote working. And the simplicity of the platform has made it easy to bring into workflows under pressure. “Since being built for its original purpose,” says Odza, “there have been many iterations of how Ci is used – always developed in collaboration with customers and adapting to them.” The benefits of cloud-based endeavours, combined with Sony Professional’s broadcast expertise, led to the Ci platform being embraced in multiple media sectors. ITN was an early adopter in the broadcast news space, using it as a way to create a mobile, agile organisation, before the run on cloud-based working caused by the pandemic. “They were so happy to remove the burden of administrative tasks, doing duplication, managing metadata – and free up the creativity of their teams.” Ci is becoming a valuable resource, in a world where managing content for delivery across multiple platforms is now the norm. New tools like the C3 Portal make it easy to integrate hardware in the field, with a central cloud-based hub. Production is just one part of the media workflow. Sooner or later, the great quantity of content being created starts piling up, with more complicated tasks to execute. The next step in the evolution of media company operations is to automate as many processes as possible.
As a result, Sony offers not only media management but workflow management, designed to handle hundreds of users and millions of assets concurrently. The Media Solutions Toolkit, based on microservices, offers maximum flexibility, with users free to build a full cloud deployment, on-premises infrastructure or hybrid environment. Managing the data and metadata behind the thousands of media assets produced every day becomes manageable, thanks to automation backed by AI. SOLUTIONS Sony Media Cloud Services, combined with the power of Nevion to create efficient remote and distributed productions, are being deployed by major broadcasters and content providers. Most recently, in Discovery’s coverage of the Winter Games, Nevion helped transform the way resources were connected and scheduled. ViacomCBS also uses cloud production software from Sony, with start and stop instances based in AWS, to create a nimble, opex-based production system. And, at the end of last year, Swiss broadcaster SRG SSR modernised its news and sports production across all broadcasting centres with Sony’s Media Backbone Hive, which allows journalists to easily share content between locations. “Sony is changing,” says Odza. “The pandemic has upended the way the media industry works, so we need to move forward, and help our customers do the same. You can’t trust a partner who won’t evolve.” Felstead reiterates his belief that connection and collaboration is the most important thing. “We have fantastic technological gizmos, but in some ways that doesn’t matter. What’s important is partnership – and how Sony can champion these opportunities for people.” Find out more at pro.sony.eu
IN TANDEM Sony is putting focus on working in partnership with clients
CEO: GUY GADNEY COUNTRY: UK STARTED: 2015 CHARISMA ENTERTAINMENT
What’s your origin story? My name is Guy Gadney and I am the co-founder and CEO of Charisma Entertainment. Charisma’s origins are steeped in creativity, allied with advanced AI technologies. This combination has built an innovative form of immersive storytelling, where audiences take part in the narrative. Viewers can talk directly to characters and have them speak back to them – like an interactive movie. We spotted this opportunity a few years back, building on our interactive storytelling work on Sherlock , Downtown Abbey and Peaky Blinders , then set about creating the technology that would power our vision. The BBC and Sky were our first clients, followed by Warner Bros (working on the Justice League and Steppenwolf ) and a number of media companies around the world. We also bought the rights to adapt John Wyndham’s novel The Kraken Wakes as an immersive story, which we will release later this year.
What are you working on now? We were recently awarded funding from Epic Games to link Charisma to their incredible MetaHumans technology. It is our vision that all virtual characters will be powered by Charisma. This win is an important step towards the company being a player in the future of characters in the Metaverse. After all, we want our worlds populated by interesting and engaging virtual figures, not chatbots. As if that was not enough, we have also connected Charisma to the world of robotics, so if anyone out there is making a real version of Westworld , let’s talk!
What’s next? The evolution of AI is to unlock forms of
storytelling that were previously impossible. This could be characters that can have conversations
about any topic under the sun, or stories which can weave in dynamic news, or even plots that evolve based on how audiences react. Sitting behind this is a simple desire to become closer to the stories and experiences that we enjoy. Indeed, Netflix’s rapidly growing investment in games and interactive narrative shows how the lines between linear video and interactive worlds are blurring. If you could have anything right now, what would that be? There is a small number of books and TV series I would like to adapt.
The rights to those – and an unlimited budget – would turbocharge a new creative movement. Are you listening Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Nolan?
IDEAL MEDIA NETWORK MONITORING The right system can help broadcasters offer high-quality service to their audiences, in the teeth of growing complexity
onitoring and control are vital aspects of any successful media business.
this will mean presenting the large amount of data being collected by the solution in a browser-based interface. This makes full use of graphical elements, so it can be viewed both on-site and remotely. That helps to reduce complexity, by offering a single interface with which operators can quickly ascertain the health of their network – and identify any current or potential problems. SWIFT TO DEPLOY: No matter the complexity of the network, the monitoring solution needs to be as automatic as is feasible. This allows processes such as network scan and unit discovery to take place as swiftly as possible. Look for solutions that also select the appropriate driver from a built-in library, further accelerating the process. FULLY SCALABLE: Any NMS should be fully scalable, enabling it to serve users who operate on smaller, local infrastructures – all the way up to the globe-spanning networks that interconnect and power the world’s biggest media organisations. Crucially, it should be able to transition between those states, growing with user needs. INTEROPERABLE: The best system in the world is of little use if it does not integrate into existing infrastructure. Platforms should be
But, as ecosystems have grown, the task of managing them is increasingly more complex and urgent. Effective monitoring of rapidly evolving networks is crucial to success. Downtime involving blank screens or network outages leading to significant rebuffering are widely publicised, and the organisations involved suffer considerable reputational damage. A good solution offers predictive intervention, identifying points of potential failure before they break, while also offering the key benefits of maximising equipment uptime. That’s an especially important consideration, given the globally connected, 24/7 media environment. Media monitoring via a network management system (NMS) is a very competitive market, however. Companies looking to deploy a solution need to weigh up the pros and cons of different options, to arrive at the best fit for their own individual use cases.
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open, versatile, and designed with end-to-end integration as a central tenet. This ensures a vendor-agnostic approach – regardless of device type or IP protocol – enabling the solution to be compatible with diverse equipment, networks and brands. REAL-TIME PERFORMANCE: Any successful NMS deployment needs to be capable of delivering real-time performance. This means users should have easy access – via GUIs and dashboards – to a range of data regarding individual devices in the network, from live status indicators, to browsable timelines, detailed readings and more.
THE KEY CONSIDERATIONS: •
EASE OF USE: An effective NMS is one that can be used by non- technical staff, and accessed by anyone in the company. Typically,
While a solution does not have to tick all boxes, the chances of successful, long- term deployment increase notably as you progress up the scale. And a solution that matches all the outlined attributes will certainly provide the best fit for any media business requiring agility, scale and ease of use – coupled with a powerful feature set that ensures maximum uptime with minimal failures.
On-demand video platforms are no longer restricted to major media players. Everyone, from big government bodies to local businesses, should consider a VOD strategy
f you’re a business with any kind of digital strategy, you’ve probably got some form of VOD offering. You want to show off products, expertise and personnel – and video is a highly effective way of doing that. But most of that is going on platforms owned by other companies. In fact, just a few: Twitch (Amazon), YouTube (Google), Instagram (Facebook) – and TikTok. Building your own video platform, with your own branding, can be an intimidating step – even for some media industry companies. Luckily, there are more technology solutions that can be employed, allowing enterprises to create and manage platforms. Plus, new tools for cultivating and taking advantage of that increased engagement. There are bountiful products and solutions for those who already have a big content library and healthy
revenue. While some have stuck to building their infrastructure in-house – which was the done thing when this started ten years ago – most companies rely on any number of cloud-based services. AWS is the key provider in this area, even powering Amazon rivals like Netflix. Simpler, turnkey solutions are becoming much more popular, especially for companies that don’t have a big technology team, or whose core expertise lies outside the media and entertainment sphere. SIMPLER, TURNKEY SOLUTIONS ARE BECOMINGMUCH MORE POPULAR
DURING THE PANDEMIC, THE CORPORATE WORLD UNDERTOOK A BIG SHIFT TOWARDS VIDEO COMMUNICATION AT ALL LEVELS
QUICK MOVE TO VOD Sweden-based Quickchannel was an early innovator in streaming, launching over 25 years ago with a product that allowed corporations to stream and share video internally. During the pandemic, the corporate world undertook a big shift towards video communication at all levels – and Quickchannel saw a surge in the use of its platform. The company’s customers currently split about 50/50 between corporate and governmental bodies, and include construction giant Skanska and Finnish fitness company Porihalli. It has also been certified as a secure choice for live streaming within public sector organisations by the Swedish government. “Our government customers are using our platform for webinars, live streams and on-demand channels for their audiences,” says Quickchannel
Finding solid technology is the goal. It must provide you with a branded VOD platform, but also allow for rich analytics and integration with other platforms and production technologies – plus, be easy to use. Companies like Red Bee have been able to serve that sweet spot by providing world-class, cloud-based tools and services for OTT, that media newcomers can get up to speed with amazingly quickly. As a cloud service, Red Bee provides tiers of service which allow companies to bring on more features as they gain greater experience. Brightcove, Kaltura and now Vimeo have also built up users across every conceivable sector, from finance, to sport, to industry. Fortunately, there are those with a lot of experience providing services to very specific customers.
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