Exploring the future of media technology
POP-UP CHANNELS TV DRAMA GOES VR
IRL STREAMING MIXED REALITY
UNDER SIEGE It’s a cyberwar out there. In case you hadn’t noticed.
The benefits of our digital wonderland have also brought with them a truckload of – quite scary – vulnerabilities. The ability to exchange messages with anyone in the world also means you are subjected to disinformation from anywhere in the
world. Getting access to the world’s storehouse of information or instant publishing tools for ‘free’ also means you’re granting access to your innermost secrets to the highest bidder. And ubiquitous connectivity and the promise of the Internet of Things means that a determined few can destroy a nuclear facility or – as almost happened to TV5Monde in 2015 – take a TV network offline for good. In this issue, we look at media industry cybersecurity. Often, it’s content protection or anti-piracy that leap to mind when we think about protecting data in the M&E sector. But that often obscures the more direct threats that include everything from cybervandalism, data theft, ransomware and extortion to using cyber to literally destroy physical infrastructure ( just shut down the air conditioning in a server farm and take a stroll around the block). Half the battle is knowledge – knowing you are vulnerable, but that there are steps you can take to protect yourself and the institutions and businesses you care about. If malicious cyber activity made the same noise as real-world criminal activity, we could hardly hear above the constant racket, but it’s silent and so we don’t realise it’s going on all around us, all the time. Feeling paranoid? You should.
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NEWSFEED Dispatches from the world of online video
20 38 48 53 60 66 72 76 82
STREAMPUNK Ravensbourne University in London has launched a pop-up TV channel run by its students XTREME Building a mixed-reality spectacular for the HP Omen Challenge 2019 for CS:GO fans CONTENT FOCUS Pop-up channels offer a great way to experiment with content and create new services THE LIVE LIFE In real life, streaming comes of age with new tools and easy connectivity to boost engagement SITE VISIT We tour the labs at InterDigital and get a sneak peek at the future of media tech GENIUS INTERVIEW We talk about the nature of reality with Gaël Seydoux, head of InterDigital’s immersive tech labs FUTURE SHOCK Sky VR is using immersive experiences to boost engagement with its original drama series START-UP ALLEY This month’s start-ups include podcasting solutions, news ‘playlists’ and content personalisation BRAINFEED Complete this month’s tech terms crossword and submit your answers for the chance to win a FEED T-shirt!
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25 GET READY FOR CYBERWAR Threats to cybersecurity are all around us. You need to come up with a plan SECURITY FOCUS
31 CONTENT PROTECTION Keeping viewers happy doesn’t mean they get to rip you off
6 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades
BREAKING NEWS FROM THE STREAMING SECTOR
TIME TO PUT KIDS’ PHONES TO BED?
According to a report from Childwise, the majority of children now own a phone by the age of seven. It indicates that the devices have become a fundamental part of life for most young people, with many admitting they are fearful of being without their phone and more than half sleep with it by their bed. On average, children spend three hours and 20 minutes online each day. Childwise found that YouTube is the overall favourite site or app, followed by Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and Fortnite.
53% of youngsters (based on a survey of 2,167 UK five- to 16-year-olds) owned mobile phones by the age of seven. By the age of 11, 90% had their own device, and phone ownership was “almost universal” once children reached secondary school. Thirty-nine per cent said they could not live without their phone, an increase from 33% last year. Teenagers aged 15 and 16 were most concerned about being without their phone, the report found. Of those questioned, 57% said they always slept with their phone by their bed,
44% said they would feel uncomfortable in a place without phone signal, while 42% admitted to being “constantly worried” about their phone running out of charge. Simon Leggett, research director at Childwise, said that mobile phones now “dominate” children’s lives. However, it can be difficult to parent a child’s use of the technology. “The moment a child owns a phone, it can be a challenge to monitor what your child is accessing online because it’s such a private technology that most keep, literally, close to their chest.”
7 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades
DPP’S ANNUAL CES TRENDS ASSESSMENT
The DPP’s new report on the CES show has identified trends impacting the media and entertainment industry, with simplicity the key to success. According to managing director and author of the report, Mark Harrison: “We saw some of the leading players focussed on providing high quality hardware, to software designed to simplify the consumer experience. When simplicity gets applied to how consumers find content, the implications
universe”. Harrison pointed to display interfaces combined with voice search as a key catalyst. He added that ‘drive for simplicity’ has meant content owners have put the individual brand ahead of the platform it appears on. The evolution in content interfaces was just one of a number of developments for the media industry. Others include: established players partnering with each other, as they get focussed on providing better consumer experiences; significant progress in out-of-home tech, especially around displays; and mobile phones continuing to evolve, with folding and dual screens.
MISINFORMATION AND YOUTUBE ADS
Global non-profit Avaaz has found that YouTube’s algorithms run ads from major brands on videos which promote climate change misinformation. The brands, including Greenpeace, WWF, L’Oreal and Decathlon, were unaware that their adverts were being played before and during the videos. Avaaz examined videos pushed to users when they search ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’, or ‘climate manipulation’ on the site, focussing on those given high prominence by YouTube’s recommendation algorithms. It found that 16 of the top 100 videos on the first term contained misinformation. “YouTube has previously taken welcome steps to protect its users from anti-vaccine and conspiracy theories,” force against broader misinformation and disinformation content, including climate misinformation.” The group has called on YouTube to: include misinformation in its ‘borderline content’ policy, which limits the algorithmic distribution of videos that do not reach the bar required to remove them from the site; demonetise misinformation, including giving advertisers the ability to exclude their ads from climate change misinformation; work with independent fact-checkers to inform users who have seen or interacted with verifiably misleading information; and provide transparency to researchers by releasing data showing how many views are driven to misinformation by its own recommendation algorithms. But Avaaz said that YouTube shouldn’t be the only one responsible for promoting this change. Brands themselves “must establish detailed ethical ad placement requirements for platforms that include correcting the record and detoxing the algorithm.” Avaaz said in a press statement. “But it has not acted with equal
for media are game-changing.” A big issue for the industry is
addressing the consumer challenge of how to find content in a “crowded media
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OwnZones has integrated its Connect cloud-native video supply chain platform with Netflix Backlot, so studios and post-production houses can deliver IMF packages to the OTT service via API within the cloud. This aims to solve having to download an IMF package locally and re-upload it for delivery to a platform, when using content supply chain tools in the cloud. “Here’s an all-too-common scenario: you’ve already ingested your content into the cloud, made all the required localisations and performed final QC procedures, but when it’s time to deliver your content, it could take you hours OWNZONES STREAMLINES IMF DELIVERY
upon hours to download,” says Nick Nelson, CPO at OwnZones. With more companies relying on cloud-based tools, the problem will only grow, debilitating workflows, especially those that work with high-res content. The integration with Netflix has purportedly closed this gap in cloud- based IMF delivery by removing the need to download and re-upload an entire package to a backlot. It enables users from the OwnZones Connect interface to select Netflix Backlot as the delivery destination and to send the IMF package directly to Backlot, preventing the need to pull the file down locally.
8 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades
UK GOVERNMENT ASSIGNS TV WATCHDOG TO REGULATE THE INTERNET
The British government is to appoint Ofcom as an internet watchdog, giving it the ability to fine social media companies that do not protect users from harmful content. It will oversee two specific areas covering illegal and harmful content. For the former, it will make sure companies quickly take down illegal content – with a focus on terrorism and child abuse imagery – and prevent much of it being posted in the first place. For the latter, Ofcom will make social networks enforce their own terms and conditions. This censorship comes from a lack of regulation over these areas. For illegal content, social networks
see a flurry of small changes, with the more meaningful changes taking years to work through courts. However, social networks have warned anything that imposes requirements on them to take down content quickly runs the risk of encouraging them to remove false positives, content that is not infringing, but looks close to being. Failure to comply will result in “fair, proportionate and transparent” penalties. The white paper suggested individual executives may be held to account for failures, but the government has not set out any specific policies and will not do so until it finalises its response in the spring.
currently believe that they are free from all penalties provided they are not seen to be actively supporting the content. For harmful content, the government says it needs to act to protect children
online and create a legal duty of care on the behalf of social networks, to ensure they face penalties for harms their platforms cause. On the day the law comes into practice, users will likely
BBC MAKES CUTS TO NEWS STAFF
The BBC has said it will cut 450 jobs from its news operation and cover fewer stories as part of an effort to save £80m by 2022. Head of news, Fran Unsworth, announced that journalists at the organisation would be pooled in centralised teams rather than working for specific programmes, with an increased emphasis on its online output rather than television and radio. Newsnight, Radio 5 Live and the Victoria Derbyshire programme will be among the worst affected, although the impact will be felt across the board, with management still deciding where hundreds of redundancies will fall. Unsworth said the BBC was covering about 100 different news stories a day across all platforms and this was “overwhelming” the public, with many stories not reaching
It’s estimated that around 6% of British households watch TV without a valid licence, the penalty for which is a £1000 fine. But Boris Johnson’s government is considering decriminalising the licence fee, downgrading non-payment to a civil debt with enforcement made through civil courts, and enforced using bailiffs. However, decriminalisation of the licence fee risks £200m of BBC revenue, resulting in further cuts. “Such a politically motivated move – dressed up as a concern for the mythical imprisonment of vulnerable members of society – will serve to undermine one of the UK’s strongest success stories, emasculating a brand renowned and respected across the globe,” said Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists.
intended audiences. “Producing fewer stories means we have to be a smaller organisation,” she told staff, emphasising the BBC was under attack from changing media habits, claims of bias and threats to its funding. The BBC is funded by the licence fee, established in 1923 for the owners of radio sets. It costs UK TV owners £154.50 a year and pays for the BBC’s TV, radio and online operations.
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12 NAB PREVIEW Conference Picks
Words by Verity Butler
The NAB Show is famous, but America’s biggest broadcast event also has a top conference programme and lots of associated education events, running from 18 to 22 April. Here’s our breakdown of the NAB conference scene
TRACKS ANDSTREAMS This year there are over 100 conference sessions to choose from. To keep the ballooning conference schedule under control and navigable by already overwhelmed delegates, the NAB Show has split the conferences into ‘tracks’ and ‘streams’. The streams are aimed particularly at new attendees, offering a basic way of slicing up the conference programme, but are useful for anyone who wants to easily schedule their own cross- functional experience. The streams are: • Content and Consumption • Creation and Production • Distribution and Monetization For more specific session selection, attendees can then look at the various conference tracks – examples including Women Leading Change, Future of Cinema, Content Strategies and Tomorrow’s Tech. These act as subcategory style divisions of the three streams, useful for those experienced with the NAB Show formats or wanting to focus on a specific area of interest. This means attendees can nail which conferences are best suited for them. There’s something there for everyone, but here are some of the conferences we’re looking forward to attending.
NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS NAB is a great opportunity for content professionals to learn about industry developments
CONTENT AND CONSUMPTION
No, it’s not the title of a Jane Austen novel. Content and Consumption is a stream of ten sessions that covers topics ranging from how to win consumer attention to creating compelling content for the next decade. Here are our top three: • Be There: Immersive Venues Overlay Experience and Content During this session, you learn what content looks like in immersive spaces and how consumers interact with it. You also learn how the content may change in response to the interaction or the moods of consumers in the surrounding space. This session takes place on the Sunday, 9.05-9.40am. • Can Viewer Measurements Ensure Viewer Privacy? The clue is in the name – the key topics are artificial intelligence and business strategies. This session takes place on the Tuesday, 2.30-3.10pm. • Reshaping Newsrooms for New Consumption Models This panel examines the challenges faced by newsrooms in a changing multiplatform world and how they are adjusting their workflows to address them. This session takes place on the Wednesday, 10.40-11.40am.
13 NAB PREVIEW Conference Picks
CREATION AND PRODUCTION
DISTRIBUTION AND MONETISATION
Attendees delve into dollar bills in this stream, with around 20 sessions containing a financial focus for those thinking of the future. Here are our picks: • Strategic Partnerships, Automation and the Evolution of Local Broadcast The successful evolution of local broadcast will depend on strategic partnerships. Leveraging these relationships is the only way to provide buyers and sellers with the tools necessary to bring the industry forward. This session takes place on the Monday, 2-2.30pm. • Kicka$$ Women Running Startups… And Why More Should Meet women running some of the hottest start-ups in media and technology. Hear their stories and why gender diversity at the top leads to more successful businesses, from increased revenue and company performance to accelerated innovation. This session takes place on the Tuesday, 10.40-11.20am. • Sports Betting & Media: The Greatest Fan Engagement Tool – Fact or Fiction? Learn about the emerging industry surrounding sports betting and the factors media companies should consider as they engage with the gaming industry. This session takes place on the Wednesday, 2-2.30pm.
The Creation and Production stream contains sessions focused on making content. Our top three: • Real-time Rendering
Engines: Powering New Production Opportunities Recent advances in real-time rendering engines have made them viable options for use in production and final VFX. This session discusses this cutting-edge technology and what it could mean for productions going forward. Saturday, 3.20-4pm. Is Tech Transforming Story? This session has a panel of women from the leading edge of industry transformations, who will be discussing the trends affecting storytelling and reaching global audiences. Tuesday, 1:30-2:10pm. The Business of Impact: A Different Way to Lead Media Organizations After this session, you will be armed with new ways to grow staff and customer engagement, stay relevant and a fresh perspective on the media organisations of tomorrow. Tuesday, 3:20-4pm.
NAB’s own conference is augmented by a number of other separate conferences running in tandem. These offer deep dives into specialty areas and are for delegates who know what they want. Of particular interest to FEED readers will be the Streaming Summit. The two- day event features 100 speakers from the broadcast, media and publishing industries, covering the challenges and opportunities in packaging, monetising and distributing online video. NAB is also bringing together creators, technologists and content developers at a two-day conference named Nspire, aimed at social media creators and influencers. It features
speakers from big platforms like TikTok and Google Cloud. Other conferences we’ll be dropping into are the Broadcast Engineering and IT Conference and Digital Futures, which is dedicated to the tech and business of online media. The Executive Leadership Summit is a great place to get a high-altitude view of the industry from company heads. You’ll get to hear what’s on the minds of execs and company heads and get the big picture of where the business is headed. Other conferences are the Post Production World, which offers advanced training and education for post professionals, and the Small and Medium Format Radio Forum on Sunday.
This year’s NAB Show looks to be a growing global project – its fields of events appearing to diversify with each year. The accessible division of the events allows attendees to build their own unique and personal pathway throughout the show. As always, NAB is a rare opportunity for content professionals to both educate themselves on the developments within their industries and meet diverse varieties of industry personnel on a global scale at the same time. It is an educational and enriching combination that does not come around often. The NAB Show is taking place in Las Vegas from 18 to 22 April.
14 YOUR TAKE Machine Learning
e are all aware of the pace of change within our industry. Faced with rising content volumes and the need to
1. Start by talking to people in the organisation for whom metadata (or the lack of it) is their biggest challenge. This could be the VFX supervisor at a post house or a director of operations at a broadcaster or an archivist. It is rarely the technologists. Ensure the people with the greatest need for metadata get hands-on experience using the technology. We sit with these users to understand their current processes to help them get the best out of the machine learning toolset. We find diehard sceptics often become our biggest champions when they see a practical use for machine learning. 2. Think broadly about how machine learning can be adopted and involve different functional groups.
MATT EATON Managing director, EMEA for GrayMeta, on how machine learning can help streamline your business
reduce costs, organisations cannot afford to be complacent about the way their content is managed and distributed. The attraction of AI (more accurately, machine learning) has been a major focus for the industry over the past few years and it will be no different at the 2020 NAB Show. The term, AI, seems to be tagged to almost every stand at NAB these days, however, the hype is distracting us away from an important fact: progressive content owners are already saving money and managing more content using machine learning and the data it generates. We should know. GrayMeta is a machine learning-driven metadata company that enables operational efficiency and monetisation of assets. The faster organisations adopt machine learning to increase operational efficiency and to use their content in new ways, the stronger their competitive advantage and future business becomes. So what’s stopping faster adoption across the industry? According to a Harvard Business Review article, “only
8% of firms engage in core practices that support widespread adoption” of AI*. The article points to challenges around rewiring the business and changing culture that slows AI adoption. Adopting AI is more than a technology challenge and the article recommends engaging cross- functional teams to look at its deployment from different perspectives. Perhaps most importantly, it recommends using a test-and-learn approach where end users are engaged in the projects. Here at GrayMeta, we have seen this in practice in the media and entertainment industry and so we developed a Metadata Value Accelerator (MDVA) approach. GrayMeta has helped accelerate the adoption of machine learning through our MDVA across a huge range of different content organisations, from studios to post-production houses, to traditional broadcasters and branded content distributors. Here are some of the lessons we have incorporated into this approach:
For instance, by looking at the entire content supply chain and interviewing a broad group of stakeholders, we helped a public broadcaster in Europe create a roadmap for machine learning involving news, sports, media operations, archive and audience
15 YOUR TAKE Machine Learning START YOUR MACHINE LEARNING JOURNEY
With media companies swimming in content, using machine learning to organise assets
is only a matter of when
research. Here, we can bring best practices from other organisations. The same intelligent metadata can be used for different use cases depending on the functional group. For example, automatically finding text in the lower thirds helps media operations repurpose content for OTT distribution. It can also help a third party subtitling company position overlays. 3. Prioritise and narrow down the list of use cases based on benefits and shortest route to implementation. As part of testing content, GrayMeta helps customers focus on the use case and business benefits rather than just the technology. Taking a realistic and pragmatic approach to what machine learning services work well is key to delivering value. We often need to manage expectations of the capabilities of some machine learning services. For example, speech to text is not 100% accurate today. But the technology is improving all the time – and it’s good enough to deliver measurable benefits to most use cases.
engagements. This not only applies to our machine learning models, but to how we deliver value and increase adoption across different use cases or functional areas. 6. The numbers need to stack up and we help our customers create the business case for wider machine learning adoption. The benefits can be startling. For instance, working with a magazine and radio publisher they identified savings of one day per week for one of their teams dealing with social media publishing. This saving allows them to handle the increase in content expected this year with their existing team. So when you’re walking around the NAB Show and you see signs on a vendor stand mentioning AI, think about how this technology will be adopted within your organisation. There are many successful examples where machine learning is helping content production, operations and distribution today.
START BY TALKING TO PEOPLE IN THE ORGANISATION WHERE METADATA (OR THE LACK OF IT) IS THEIR BIGGEST CHALLENGE 4. Awareness of the fast-moving pace of the field helps us spot opportunities to extend value for our clients. We recently integrated the ability to train the detection and recognition of custom objects into the GrayMeta Platform. Now a branded content agency can highlight where specific products appear in video and images, speeding up the whole production of packages for social media.
5. We use a crawl, walk and run approach, based on constantly testing and learning in our
*Building the AI-Powered Organization, by Tim Fontaine, Brian McCarthy and Tamim Saleh, HBR July-August 2019
16 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE AWS
TV’s biggest trade body honours cloud pioneers for rethinking how we do TV
he National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) has been bestowing its Technology and Engineering
Emmy® Awards for 71 years, honouring innovations in the broadcasting sector since the earliest days of television. Among the honorees for 2019 is a collection of companies being hailed for helping bring TV into the age of cloud. AWS, along with Discovery, Fox NE&O (Walt Disney Television), SDVI Corporation and Evertz Technologies have been recognised for “pioneering a public cloud-based linear media supply chain” for content ingest, management and delivery. Media supply chain is the application of supply chain management principles to create, manage and deliver content and rich media experiences from content providers, creators and owners to consumers on the devices and platforms of their choice. Moving the media supply chain to the cloud improves economics, increases flexibility and helps media leaders meet viewers’ demand for reliable, high-quality video experiences at scale. Until as recently as 2015, few broadcast tech vendors had a public cloud strategy. Around that time, both Discovery and Fox NE&O (Walt Disney Television) turned to SDVI Corporation and AWS. The result is that Discovery and Fox NE&O (Walt Disney Television) are now leveraging the cloud to meet customer demands by using
a combination of the SDVI media supply chain platform; AWS compute, storage and media services; and Evertz linear, media asset management and content supply chain solutions. By moving their media supply chains to the AWS cloud and leveraging the innovation brought by SDVI and Evertz, Discovery and Fox NE&O (Walt Disney Television) have been able to automate and simplify the ingest of a high volume of file-based content and associated workflows, minimising processes that were manual or repetitive. Discovery was the first major media company to move its entire media operation, from production to distribution, into the AWS cloud. With SDVI and AWS’ platform, Discovery reimagined all aspects of its media supply chain and operation.
DISCOVERY WAS THE FIRST MAJOR MEDIA COMPANY TO MOVE ITS ENTIRE MEDIA OPERATION, FROMPRODUCTION TO DISTRIBUTION, INTO THE AWS CLOUD
17 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE AWS
This allowed it to create an infrastructure for powering new viewer experiences. In fact, since the founding of its cloud supply chain in 2016, Discovery has received media assets from 1300 global suppliers, and has taken in more than 250,000 deliveries, with 114,000 coming in 2019. With supply chain and content in the cloud also, Discovery is able to easily move its playout into the AWS cloud, which it has done using a combination of Evertz, AWS Media Services and internally developed tools. Going all-in with cloud and automated supply chain was key to Discovery’s ability to build products like Food Network Kitchen, a first of its kind view-and-do app, which the company successfully launched last year in just ten weeks due to the ability to scale out resources using AWS.
Fox NE&O (Walt Disney Television) migrated its media supply chain to the cloud to provision and scale resources automatically for linear broadcast and video on demand (VOD) content and to meet Walt Disney Television’s distribution demands. With the SDVI media supply chain platform, Walt Disney Television leverages an AWS-resident resource management system to share media processing workloads across the group’s existing facility and AWS to dynamically provision and scale resources. This allows Walt Disney Television to prepare and package all incoming media for multiplatform distribution and efficiently manage the infrastructure. The Fox NE&O (Walt Disney Television) platform is being used by hundreds of internal and external users through a
web-based, self-service interface. Walt Disney Television leverages this platform for traditional linear playout, VOD distribution, Digital MVPD distribution and syndication. The combination of SDVI, AWS and internally developed tools allows Walt Disney Television to harness additional innovations occurring in the cloud, including machine learning, dynamic content assembly, automated quality control, transcoding, built-in disaster recovery capabilities and dynamic resource provisioning. In keeping with past tradition, the Tech
and Engineering Emmy awards are bestowed at an industry gala, held in conjunction with the 2020 NAB Show.
18 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE AWS
More than 10,000 4K 4Charity runners and walkers have taken over 46 million steps to support increased diversity and inclusion in the media and technology industries. Together with generous sponsors they have raised more than $1 million to date… DOUBLE DOWN WITH NEW 8K COURSE DURING THE 4K 4CHARITY FUN RUN AT THE NAB SHOW
ON YOUR MARKS Delegates at last year’s NAB Show get ready for the 4K 4Charity Fun Run, which this year is taking place on 21 April
ith mounting anticipation around 8K ultra-high- definition (UHD) production and distribution for one of
on increased diversity and inclusion in the technology and media industries, and celebrates advancements in video technology, such as 4K and 8K video. This April, participants are able to experience a new, expanded 8K (4.97- mile) course, in addition to the popular 4K (2.49-mile) trek. Both will take runners and walkers through the beautiful Sunset Park in Las Vegas. Momentum continues to grow for the media industry’s only 4K run with more than $1 million raised in gross proceeds since the series was founded in 2014. The 4km running and walking event is held at major industry events around the world
the world’s biggest sporting events this summer – the Olympics in Tokyo – 4K 4Charity organisers decided there couldn’t be a better time to upscale NAB Show’s annual running and walking event with its own 8K course option. The 4K 4Charity Fun Run kicks off at 7am US Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday 21 April in Sunset Park, Las Vegas. The 4K 4Charity Fun Run series provides a healthy, fun activity for trade show attendees, supports non-profits focused
including the NAB Show, IBC Show and the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, as well as a community run held in Portland, Oregon. Enabling supporters to have the most impact possible, the 4K 4Charity Fun Run donates 100% of individual registration and contribution proceeds to designated non-profit beneficiaries. The 4K 4Charity at the 2020 NAB Show is supporting two programmes from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT): AspireIT and TECHNOLOchicas. NCWIT is focused on building a more equitable industry by teaching programming to five- to 18-year-old girls and inspiring young Latin American women to pursue careers in tech. AspireIT teaches school girls programming fundamentals and computational thinking in fun, creative and hands-on environments — all while using a near-peer approach. TECHNOLOchicas, meanwhile, raises awareness among young Latino women and their families about opportunities and careers in technology by using powerful stories of Latin American women from diverse backgrounds, who are in
19 ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE AWS
WITH EXCITEMENT AROUND 8K AHEAD OF THE SUMMER’S SPORTING EVENTS, THERE COULDN’T BE A MORE TIMELY OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND THE 4K RUN
this summer’s big sporting events, there couldn’t be a more timely opportunity to expand the 4K run and support these amazing programmes,” says Laura Barber, co-founder of the 4K 4Charity. “Now, with two distance options and multiple ways to donate, there are even more reasons to get involved, so please sign up or donate today for a healthy, high-impact 4K or 8K experience and show your support for diversity and inclusion in tech!” Complimentary
technology fields and recognise the power of innovation to change the world. “We are honoured to be a beneficiary of the 2020 4K 4Charity Fun Run and its support of impactful NCWIT programmes, like AspireIT and TECHNOLOchicas that inspire young girls to make their mark with technological innovation,” says NCWIT CEO and co-founder Lucy Sanders. “We also couldn’t be more appreciative of the fun run’s participants. Together, we can make great strides in increasing the
influential and meaningful participation of women in computing.” Not a morning person or not at NAB this year? Then take a look at the 4K 4Charity Choose 2 Snooze donation-only option, which enables 4K 4Charity supporters, no matter where they are, to contribute to the designated non-profit beneficiaries. “We’ve heard from quite a few 4K 4Charity participants that an 8K course would be a great addition. With all the excitement around 8K UHD ahead of
bus transportation is available to and from select NAB Show hotels and the event at Sunset Park.
A limited number of sponsorships are still available. Please contact 4K 4Charity sponsorship manager Elizabeth Smith at 4K4Charity@elemental.com
20 STREAMPUNK Student Broadcasting
21 STREAMPUNK Student Broadcasting
UK film and TV school, Ravensbourne University, has launched a pop- up TV channel that turns learning into some serious broadcasting A NEW KIND OF UNIVERSITY RAVE Words by Laura Jeacocke
ased in north Greenwich, London, Ravensbourne University is hard to miss, with its award-winning, aluminium-clad architecture
showcasing the innovation at the heart of one of the UK’s top media schools. Boasting a range of work spaces, design studios and tech hubs, the institution now has its own pop-up TV channel, RaveTV. Ravensbourne’s production and broadcast engineering courses have been running since the seventies, and have a tradition of producing an outside broadcast for its annual degree show. It typically works with large commercial suppliers or the BBC, borrowing OB gear and even trucks, to broadcast the degree show on local community channels. Instigated by heads of faculty, RaveTV was launched as a stand-alone channel with a life beyond the degree show day. “It provides real-world experience for students, while also developing a showcase for our work and promoting the achievements of students,” says Audrey Aquilina, course leader for Digital Television Production. The students are responsible for all aspects of RaveTV, including content management, compliance, scheduling, marketing, as well as the actual production and technical operations, too. Aquilina tells us that the programming “involves everything from studio output, formats, documentaries, short films, experimental work and events”, but that essentially it is up to the students as to what is produced.
BEHIND THE SCENES Students from Ravensbourne University working on a RaveTV broadcast
22 STREAMPUNK Student Broadcasting
As with all broadcasts though, there are rules to follow. Ofcom compliance must be adhered to, and any programmes for broadcast go through quality control in order to meet industry standards. Productions have to be compliant with release forms and chain of title, in keeping with industry practice, and the channel must also be “aligned to Ravensbourne’s values, making content that is of interest to students and a similar demographic”. The RaveTV soft launch was at The Ravensbourne Degree Show back in June 2019 and a second broadcast was held in December. The channel is broadcast locally on UK digital terrestrial TV service Freeview during the summer degree show, and previously has managed to reach up to 3300 viewers. SPINNING UP A RAVE RaveTV’s infrastructure is heavily supported by Amazon Web Services, with AWS Media Services integrated into the TV channel’s cloud-based workflow. AWS Elemental Live is used for the encoding, AWS Media Live is used for managing the content and overall channel, and finally AWS CloudFront is employed for distribution. A feed from from RaveTV is also sent to Ravensbourne’s local Network-Attached
Storage (NAS) as a local master backup. Using Avid Interplay and Grass Valley Stratus systems, RaveTV also takes submaster feeds from the studio output at other points during the transmission chain to provide further backups. You can’t have too many backups. “RaveTV also uses a range of cloud software for production tools such as shared documents and, depending on the format of the content, we might work collaboratively on-location or in the edit, too,” says Aquilina. “Because Ravensbourne covers all aspects of production creatively and technically, it’s actually far more than just the transmission or studio production chain.” The project took around five months to implement – impressive considering the scale of it. “That included the business case and getting sign-off from various internal boards, securing a budget and putting in place the internal channel management under the guidance of specially recruited staff to oversee the project,” explains Aquilina. “It also meant training students, acquiring and scheduling content, commissioning new material and liaising with the annual degree show to provide coverage for some of its live events.” While a lot is already up and running, Aquilina admits there is a large amount still
CHANNEL SURFING The RaveTV soft launch was at The Ravensbourne Degree Show in June 2019 and reached 3300 viewers
under development. Work is underway on the streaming platform and embedded on-demand player. “We are building our own platform and intend to stream from our dedicated website, but this is still being planned and built by UI/UX students at Ravensbourne.” They also hope to build a metrics functionality into the platform to analyse channel and viewer data. A LiveU transmission system for remote OB set-ups is also in the pipeline. CONTENT CRASH COURSE Aquilina believes the channel will eventually “evolve into specialist strands and special events” over time. Ravensbourne students study a range of subjects and so cross- discipline programming is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Augmented reality content and game streaming are just a couple of the ideas floating around RaveTV. “Our final year
RAVETV PROVIDES REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS, WHILE ALSO DEVELOPING A SHOWCASE FOR OUR WORK
23 STREAMPUNK Student Broadcasting
students are involved in a number of projects exploring experimental technology and its creative application,” adds Aquilina. Not only has the channel been a hit with the university itself, but the students are fully behind it, too. Kyle McIntosh from the BA (Hons) Digital Television Production course says: “The opportunity to host our own television channel is truly incredible. I have been inspired by the experience and built professional working relationships with older students and industry professionals.” Despite only being a year old, RaveTV has already established a solid infrastructure for live content. As it grows and establishes more tech partnerships, it’s likely to inspire similar channels at other institutions.
25 SECURITY FOCUS Cyber Threats
Cyberthreats are all around us. You had better come up with a plan CYBERWAR IS HELL n 8 April 2015, French Words by Neal Romanek
were posted on TV5Monde’s social media. “We were a couple hours from having the whole station gone for good,” said TV5Monde director-general, Yves Bigot, in an interview with the BBC. Something called the ‘Cyber Caliphate’ claimed responsibility and, with the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris still fresh in people’s minds, the public was only too ready to believe this was the work of ISIS cyberterrorists – despite the shoddy Arabic used in the messaging, which made the claim immediately suspect. It has since been established that the
broadcaster TV5Monde was taken down by a cyberattack. All 12 of the network’s
channels were taken off the air. The carefully targeted attack delivered malware to the broadcaster’s own control systems to try to render them completely and permanently useless. TV5Monde’s regular programming was replaced with the message “Je suIS IS” (mocking the slogan “Je suis Charlie [Hebdo]”), and the alleged ID cards of relatives of French soldiers involved in operations against Islamic State terrorists
DENIS ONUOHA Chief information security officer at Arqiva
26 SECURITY FOCUS Cyber Threats
TV5Monde attack was perpetrated by APT28 (aka Fancy Bear, Pawn Storm, et al), a cyber espionage group allied with Russian military intelligence. APT28 has been implicated in a long list of hacks including the attack on the Democratic National Committee in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election and an attack on British broadcaster Islam TV in 2017. Data is the new oil – so goes the cliche – and every hour of our lives we receive and send tremendous amounts of it. Wherever media is sent and received, whether it’s being downloaded from the camera to a storage device or is leaving the phone to be consumed by your brain, is part of what in cybersecurity is called an ‘attack surface’. An attack surface is the sum total of a system’s vulnerabilities to cyberattack. In the media world, that attack surface can be very wide indeed and the stakes can be very high. SECURITY OFFICER Denis Onuoha is the chief information security officer at Arqiva, a major national infrastructure operator in the UK responsible for radio and free-to-air TV transmission as well as services for data comms and satellite uplinking. It’s Onuoha’s job to oversee the company’s information assurance, cybersecurity architecture, incident response and security awareness. “Part of my job is fending off day-to day hackers,” says Onuoha, “I also make sure we’ve battened down the hatches with regards to larger threats.”
Onuoha is also the chair of the AIB Cybersecurity Working Group. The AIB (Association for International Broadcasting, aib.org.uk) is a trade organisation that helps protect the interests of content owners distributing content internationally. A fair percentage of AIB members are major – often state-funded – broadcasters, with significant news departments and are high- profile targets for cyberattack, especially for politically driven organisations looking to make a dramatic statement. The working group’s purpose is to improve the maturity of cybersecurity across the broadcast industry. The AIB is in the process of commissioning a Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence, developed in industry can strengthen the whole media supply chain against digital malfeasance. “The level of maturity for broadcast is different for different countries. Some may care a lot about cyber, but others still don’t see cyber as a big threat,” explains Onuoha. The lucrative nature of cybercrime and the increased consumerisation collaboration with London’s Royal Holloway University. The goal is to establish an end-to-end lab where academia and
of technology has resulted in a “perfect storm”, he says, with many potential points of access available to multiple, highly motivated attackers. He points to ransomware attacks on newspapers last year, including the Los Angeles Times . There can be a lot of money to be made and attacks can be very difficult to track. “We now have a full IP world, so the risk has increased,” says Onuoha, “but my perspective, which may be a bit controversial, is that the risk was always there. It’s just that now cyberhacking is a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s not that the technology is inherently weaker – though there are elements of that – now there’s more motivation for taking things offline.”
YOU HAVE SO MANY PLATFORMS THAT ARE CONSUMERISED, IT GIVES HACKERS ACCESS TO EASY REVERSE ENGINEERING TO FIND HOLES
27 SECURITY FOCUS Cyber Threats
are consumerised, it gives hackers access to easy reverse engineering to find holes,” explains Onuoha.
AVAILABILITY, INTEGRITY, CONFIDENTIALITY
technology world. You’ve had that interplay for years in other sectors, but broadcast is starting to feel it more now.” Onuoha points out that vendors like encoder manufacturers are often reluctant to put antivirus software or other countermeasures in their products, because it could slow them down and video needs real-time processing and the lowest latency possible. The proliferation of COTS technology and public cloud introduce their own complications. “There are obviously different models of cloud, but in the case of public cloud, like AWS, Azure, everyone can connect to it. So let’s look at, for example, a denial of service attack. If you wanted to impact the more ‘traditional’ broadcast infrastructure, such as digital TV or satellite, some form of physical intervention the technical know-how. “But with something like an on-demand streaming player, all you need to do is send that player a lot of requests. And now with the dark web, you can hire compromised machines – we call them bots – and you just overwhelm the service.” BBC iPlayer suffered some DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks in 2015. And it was a surprise – DDoS attacks had previously been thought of as a traditional IT hack, not something employed against media companies. “Broadcasters now have mitigations in place for such DDoS attacks. Previously, too, there was a high barrier to entry. Encoders used to cost a lot of money. But now that you have so many platforms that is required, such as signal jamming or interference, which is expensive and you need
When people think about cybersecurity, the first threat that often leaps to mind first is content theft and piracy, but although it
is a financial drain on content owners, it doesn’t constitute the existential threat that other attacks can. “Concern about content theft is still valid, but where broadcasters should be worried is around mass attacks that can affect availability
– if you’re streaming a live event, you need it to be available at that time. The other vulnerability is integrity, with the threat of hackers swapping in a different feed.” Onuoha paints the scenario of a deep fake video, with a fake news studio being able to significantly damage a news broadcaster’s reputation and cause potential panic and financial loss. “Imagine news station XYX broadcasts that a FTSE 100 company is about to go bankrupt and that’s live on a trusted channel with the presenter looking the same as the one you’re used to and it has the same ticker, too. People are going to start dumping shares,” warns Onuoha. The security of the data harvested from viewers to personalise content or create other services is another a major vulnerability, says Onuoha. Availability and integrity have been the two pillars of broadcasting that must be protected, but confidentiality is starting to become another key part of preserving a media brand. “Just as you are able to clear your browser history, broadcasters need to give viewers the ability to clear their data. Personalised data can be used to build profiles on people, which could leave
Onuoha notes that in the TV5Monde attack, the bulk of the video infrastructure was SDI rather than IP-based, and so fairly safe from attack, but the IT management and control layer was vulnerable. UP TO THE CHALLENGE Part of Onuoha’s work with the AIB has been to get broadcasters and their vendors on the same page in their cybersecurity response. In an industry with so many traditional media companies are having to upskill their engineers into an IT world and that is further complicated by the historical conflicts between your information technology world and your operational moving parts, it’s not always easy. “You have a skills challenge. The
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