GAME ENGINE MAGIC UNIVERSITY ESPORTS FACING SCREEN
ADDICTION FEED GOES QUARTERLY
FROM QUARTERS TO QUARTERS OF BILLIONS
While most athletes have had to be patient this year, professional gamers have still been able to hone their craft and continue competing. Although big stadium events are out, esports has proven to be pretty robust. In FEED ’s third esports special, we take a look at how to build an infrastructure for broadcasting
EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 firstname.lastname@example.org
esports and growing fan engagement. We also learn about the boom in university esports and how gaming is becoming more and more popular on campus, with big scholarships on offer and broadcasting opportunities ready for the picking. This month’s Genius Interview is a sit-down with NYU professor and author Adam Alter, who studies how screens affect human behaviour and wellbeing. He reminds us that technology is rarely neutral and that screen technologies can do more harm than good when they stop putting the user ’s wellbeing first. But the big story in this issue is that FEED will be going quarterly. Our monthly magazine will now be replaced with a quarterly mega- issue, our ’conference in a magazine.’ This new schedule will mean that FEED can start to offer better and more diverse content in other areas – including a host of online engagements and content collaborations with our partners. We’re thrilled to take you with us on the next chapter of the FEED story. Get ready for FEED 2.0!
STAFF WRITER Chelsea Fearnley
JUNIOR DIGITAL CONTENT WRITER Verity Butler
CHIEF SUB EDITOR Beth Fletcher
SUB EDITORS Elisha Young & Felicity Evans
CONTRIBUTORS Michael Burns Ann-Marie Corvin
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Matt Snow +44 (0) 1223 499453 email@example.com
DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings DESIGN MANAGER Alan Gray DESIGNERS Man-Wai Wong Lucy Woolcomb
NEAL ROMANEK, EDITOR
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FEED QUARTERLY FEED is becoming a quarterly media conference in a magazine! 6 NEWSFEED Dispatches from the world Is cloud the way forward for more effective media management? 18 FEED:SHOW Product releases and manufacturer news from the streaming tech sector 20 GENIUS INTERVIEW Are we addicted to our screens? We talk with NYU professor Adam Alter about the dark side of tech 50 of media technology 10 YOUR TAKE the latest unreal applications 62 movies to games to advertising 70 TECHFEED – GAME ENGINES Game engines will revolutionise how we do content. We look at some of could win a FEED T-shirt! 82 TECHFEED – DIGITAL HUMANS A studio in Berlin is creating lifelike digital avatars for everything from BRAINFEED Exercise your grey matter with our media tech crossword – and you
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ESPORTS FOCUS! 32 UNIVERSITY ESPORTS Once a campus hobby, esports at universities is becoming an opportunity for big money
40 ROUND TABLE This month, our experts give advice on how to build and run a successful esports venue
6 NEWSFEED FEED Quarterly
ou are looking at the last monthly issue of FEED – and
having to make some of the hard choices our fellow trade publications have been forced into, and being in that privileged position has allowed us to be creative, rather than reactive. FEED has been sitting on a treasure chest of content creation services that we have only been able to roll out intermittently. The war- room mindset required to produce a high-quality magazine every month sometimes means other great projects get squeezed out. Doing FEED on a quarterly basis will enable us to
expand our content and services into long-promised areas, including a raft of digital offerings, from content on our newly upgraded website to round tables, webinars and networking opportunities. The quarterly FEED – and it will still be called “ FEED ” – will be released around the traditional big trade show dates. The first lands this December in time for what would normally be CES in Las Vegas. The next will ship in March 2021 at NAB time. The June 2021 will cover the mid-year shows, and the fourth will be in August 2021 in time for IBC.
that’s a good thing. FEED is now going to be published quarterly. And this isn’t a cutting back, so much as a scaling up. Let me explain: FEED has so far been very fortunate during this year ’s contraction thanks to being fast on our feet and the boost in demand for good journalism about streaming and cloud video technologies, which have become indispensable during the Covid pandemic. FEED has been spared the necessity of
7 NEWSFEED FEED Quarterly
FEED is upping its game and becoming a quarterly ‘conference in a magazine’
Words by Neal Romanek
A GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN A MAGAZINE
this will continue, but by any analysis it seems unlikely that physical trade shows will return to anything like their former stature. They are likely to be supplanted by more immediate and proactive networking and ever-more creative online engagements. You should think of the new FEED as a new quarterly, global trade show, with each issue a deep dive into the trends over the preceding three months and a platform for media pros to trade notes and share ideas about them. The four quarterly issues will be the tent poles for the
At the end of 2019, FEED reported that the trade shows were already on borrowed time. We cited climate change as the principal pressure that would require a slow down of international business travel. But no one expected travel to be suddenly stopped in its tracks by a global pandemic (alright, yes, science has warned us about that for years, too – thanks, Science Guy). FEED has always had strong partnerships with these trade shows and
YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE LAST MONTHLY ISSUE OF FEED - AND THAT’S A GOOD THING
8 NEWSFEED FEED Quarterly
YOU SHOULD THINK OF THE NEW FEED AS A QUARTERLY TRADE SHOW
FEED brand to extend its coverage with a wider range content in our print, digital and social outlets and bespoke content services aligned to each issue. BUT THE COVERS! I’ve been trying to keep it positive – this is a levelling up for us – but there is one thing we are sad about. The monthly FEED covers. FEED has become a chance for our formidable Bright Publishing designers to really show off. Man-Wai Wong is FEED ’s head designer and can illustrate ethereal concepts like latency and digital rights management in ways no one thought was even possible. But as FEED goes quarterly, we’ll necessarily have to reduce those 12 amazing covers per year to four amazing covers per year. Luckily, the quarterly issue will be much, much bigger than the old FEED , with plenty more opportunities for image-rich content. The new FEED will
be a graphics-intensive experience, using even more visualisation and illustration to educate and entertain in a way that we believe will be unique in the media industry. I’m aware that some people will miss the old monthly FEED . But please trust us when we say the FEED 2.0 is going to be something you’ve never seen before from a trade publication. We’ll continue to deliver the same great content you expect – detailed case studies, profiles of the latest start-ups, product news, provocative opinion and one-of-a-kind interviews. But on top of that we’ll be doing new and creative types of content in print, exciting new digital initiatives and our own live events. And there’s more that we can’t quite reveal yet. We so excited to share this next phase of our growth with you. This is a thrilling, dynamic and innovative industry and we hope FEED will continue to reflect that. The best is yet to come – for all of us.
10 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades
BREAKING NEWS FROM THE STREAMING SECTOR
DISNEY’S STRATEGIC STREAM and the company counted on a dedicated platform providing a huge revenue injection. And, as the figures suggest, it wasn’t wrong. Notably, Disney Plus saw huge success announced in August it will premiere its postponed live-action Mulan on
Entertainment has been hit hard by the pandemic. Disney saw losses of $4.7bn in three months due to the closure of its theme parks, delayed film releases and production. Considering last year it saw profits of $1.8bn during the same period of time, Disney has had to seek new ways to make up for its losses. Cue Disney Plus. Launched only last November in the US and later rolling out to other markets, the media giant claims the streaming service has already attracted 60.5m subscribers. With a track record of keeping its content off competing platforms, Disney has demonstrated a business-savvy approach to the gradual takeover of streaming. Disney’s brand is the product,
Disney Plus for a $30 (£24) fee, on top of subscription. The decision has also faced criticism from the struggling international cinema community, which has been hoping blockbusters like Mulan might breathe life back into the industry. Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight, said Disney’s streaming gains were impressive, but it would need to keep adding content if it hopes to stay competitive in the long run. ”It must continue to aggressively promote its growing suite of video streaming services given the competitive nature of this market. There are too many services chasing too few dollars,” he said.
with ‘Hamilfilm,’ a filmed version of the original cast performing the Broadway hit musical Hamilton, released on Disney Plus during lockdown. Disney realised that delivering Hamilton to an international audience that had never, and probably never would be able to, see the hit musical would act as new customer bait. Premiering on 3 July, during that first weekend alone, the Disney Plus app was downloaded 752,451 times globally. But Disney’s business decisions haven't always sat well with the fans. Disney
11 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades
Short video has become an integral part of the social media world, kickstarted by the now defunct Vine. TikTok leads the pack with around 700 million users globally. The app’s mammoth success has been under attack lately with US President Trump’s call to shut down the Chinese-owned service, prompted by allegations of data misconduct, and a complete ban by India amid rising tensions with China. Ready to fill the gap is Facebook, which has confirmed it’s been testing ‘Short Videos’ in what is its biggest market. A source at Facebook revealed to TechCrunch that its services in India have increased by over 25% since the ban of TikTok, which it has decided to SHORT VIDEO FEVER
capitalise on. Having flirted with the idea in its previous attempt (called Lasso), Facebook also added a similar feature called Reels to Instagram. In the beta, available in-app in India, Short Videos has a dedicated section within the newsfeed. It has a ‘Create’ button that prompts Facebook Camera to launch, allowing users to browse through videos by swiping up. And Facebook isn’t the only giant to take advantage of the removal of TikTok, as
YouTube has also rolled out a feature, still in its testing phase, to users in India. There has been a sense of urgency, as platforms begin to bring out their competing attempts to latch on to the short video craze, with TikTok reportedly searching for ways back into the market. Triller, an American TikTok-like video app and ’talent discovery platform,’ has moved to fill the gap in India, partnering with Indian conglomerate Reliance for integration into its JioSaavn music app.
Apple is set to launch a new subscription service called Apple One, offering different bundles of its available services. The services included will be Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and iCloud in a number of different offerings – all for one fee that is lower than subscribing to each one individually. Reports from Bloomberg suggest the release of the bundles should coincide with the release of new iPhone models. Reported to have multiple tiers, the basic package will include just Apple Music and Apple TV+, while a more expensive tier includes Apple Arcade. Apple News+ is available on the next tier up, followed by an even further expensive bundle featuring iCloud storage. It has also been widely reported that Apple is developing a new virtual fitness class service, available on iPhone, iPad A BUNDLE OF APPLE
and Apple TV. Currently codenamed ‘Seymour,’ it is thought to be included in one of the more expensive bundles, aiming to hold classes to rival the likes of Nike. Financially, the introduction of bundles to the Apple-verse are a wise step by the tech giant, by having customers make use of the multitude of Apple services available, while creating new revenues.
12 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades
NEW VIDEO CODEC H.266 After years of discussion within the
Previously due to coincide with the Olympics, Japanese broadcasting corporation, NHK, has announced it has postponed any decision about how its 8K channel will be structured until after next year’s Olympic Games. Reports in August revealed that NHK has confirmed plans to merge its satellite based BS1, BS Premium and BS4K channels into two channels, and in turn integrate them into one single channel. With an aim to reduce the viewing fees that are levied on the satellite channels, NHK is coming up with an overall viewing fee plan. Currently, there is a fee of ¥2230 (around €18) per month for terrestrial and satellite channels. The fee for ‘terrestrial only’ channels is ¥1260 per month. Critics of the broadcaster have said that it could reduce its current viewing fee revenue of ¥700bn by ¥200bn through cost cuts. DELAYED 8K DECISIONS
can do so. The significance, however, is that the H.266 requires half the bit rate of today’s H.265, making complexities surrounding its development unimportant. Tests have shown that homes will require internet connections capable of more than 85Mbps to stream 8K reliably, which is beyond what most properties have. However, this would drop down to 40-50Mbps if H.266 is implemented successfully. Although the new codec boasts impressive streaming abilities, it may not be universally embraced. Take Google, which has previously opted to use its own format, VP9, instead of the current standard H.265 to encode YouTube videos. Ben Wood from CCS commented: “To be successful, a codec has to get broad adoption from all the key players. And deciding to back one can be somewhat of a religious decision.”
tech industry, a new video-encoding technology has been introduced that claims to cut data by at least half. Intended to allow for those with a slow connection to stream in higher quality, the technology could pave the way for on- demand services to offer 8K content. The codec is called H.266/Versatile Video Coding and was announced by Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute. The institute also revealed that big names including Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Intel and Huawei had worked on its development. With an ultimate goal to implement the codec into smartphones and other cameras, the tech should allow said devices to automatically record and playback footage. Sounds simple enough? Not really, as it means that new chips need to be developed before they
14 SPONSORED CONTENT AWS
This year, live sports broadcasting came to a near standstill. SRO Motorsports found that the thrill of the racetrack translates beautifully to the world of esports
ike so many companies, SRO Motorsports had committed to a full schedule of live events for 2020. In January, the racing
locked-down environment, but of all sports-based video gaming, motorsports offers amazingly lifelike simulations. In fact, SRO had already been exploring the idea of launching an esports league, given how popular virtual racing has become. The main challenge was whether or not the new broadcast idea could be pulled off in the short time frame available. “SRO had never done anything to this scale,” says AWS global solutions architect Adam Chugg. “It didn’t have the infrastructure to meet the requirements to broadcast everywhere in the way it was used to. Using a lot of our services gave it that flexibility to go from not being ready at all to being able to put on a global broadcast.” Chugg had already been helping SRO leverage AWS services and the cloud,
and it helped that he was an experienced amateur racer himself. “I speak the same language. I’m a bridge between what a fan would want and the technical side. The folks at SRO don’t create these giant workflows on a regular basis. I can explain to them what we can do and what people might want to see,” he explains. “At the end of the day, the virtual races are still racing. The conjunction of esports and racing is interesting, because a lot of us use these simulators to practise. It’s not like I can play Madden and then I can go play football, but the racing simulators give you a close comparison of what it’s like in real life,” Chugg points out. SRO Motorsports was impressed, for example, at the ability to stream the games in high quality at 60fps to multiple
organisation deepened its collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which became the new title presenter and AI and machine-learning partner for the GT World Challenge Europe. Within a few months, it became clear to SRO that it would have to cancel its live races. Instead, SRO decided to host video game versions of all the races fans were going to miss – even down to holding them at their originally scheduled date and time. At first glance, it would seem like a sport demanding complex physical infrastructure, squads of technicians and lots of physical space would be the last to thrive in a
T HE MOST AMAZING PART OF THIS PROJECT TO ME WAS HOWQUICKLY IT ALL CAME TOGETHER
15 SPONSORED CONTENT AWS
destinations, something well outside the traditional TV workflow. The drivers operated from their homes, each with their personal choice of game rigs. AWS Global Accelerator was used to improve the drivers’ connectivity and get them quickly connected to the game server via AWS’s main US backbone, away from other internet traffic. Discord servers were used for chatting between the drivers and announcers, which were injected into the broadcast. An in-game director team, using open broadcaster software, connected to AWS Elemental MediaLive, and live commentators were also connected directly to the game server. MediaLive output streams to social media channels, while AWS Elemental MediaConnect generated a live stream using the Zixi protocol for delivery to broadcasters. The races were shown on SRO’s popular GT World YouTube channel, as well as The Race YouTube channel, Motorsport. TV and major broadcasters, including Eurosport and CBS. Online, the broadcasts earned over 500,000 live stream views, and more than 4.4m live stream impressions
were delivered across multiple platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and Twitter. With such a positive reaction, SRO is looking at how it can expand the virtual racing offering. Trialling new ways of producing and distributing content using the cloud also opens up new distribution models for the organisation. The future gameplan also includes uploading SRO’s archive footage into the cloud so it can be repurposed and reused. “The most amazing part of this project to me was how quickly it all came together. It went from an email and an idea to deciding to do a test within
a couple days,” enthuses Chugg. “And that gave SRO the confidence to
reach out to other partners and offer the stream in a lot of different formats.”
16 SPONSORED CONTENT AWS
IN LEAGUE WITH REMOTE WORKFLOWS
To adapt quickly to the big industry changes of 2020, Riot Games started broadcasting remotely. It’s using the experience to build a new way of doing content
t ’s been a challenging year for sports, but one high-octane sector has weathered this year ’s trouble spots especially well – and even
come out the better for it. Esports broadcasting originated with small groups streaming their gameplay to their peers on a personal basis. Now, those early days have come full circle, with major esports competitors circumventing the big stadium events and streaming to fans at home directly. Riot Games, publisher of worldwide online battle arena hit League of Legends, has temporarily parked its record- breaking stadium battles for studio-based broadcasts to a fan base that just keeps on growing. “Esports has been in a unique
place,” says Jose ‘Diego’ Tramullas, head of esports production, Europe. “We don’t necessarily need the physical space to have a competition. Unlike traditional sports, we have been able to continue with our competitions.” Another contributing factor to the positive run that esports has had this year is the number of people staying at home. This has led to an increase in video
streaming in general, but for Riot, this has also meant a greater uptake in players of the company ’s games. However, all of this good fortune doesn’t mean there aren’t still problems to be solved. For example, Riot had to cancel this summer ’s League of Legends European Championship. Tramullas explains: “Over the last couple years, we were trying to find new ways of doing things, but it ’s human
17 SPONSORED CONTENT AWS
nature that people find it hard to change. You are always thinking about the risk. But this year, we had no option. We had to find a way to do our show without doing it in a live arena.” The Riot team undertook rebuilding an online show from scratch, adding improvements and tweaks to the workflow week after week. “We tried things that we were scared of doing,” continues Tramullas, “but if we didn’t do it, we would have no show. We went from a fully controlled environment in our studio to everyone at home, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Our thought was how to minimise the risk. For some of the key roles, we made sure they had fully redundant internet connectivity. We also went with some LTE backup options.” Latency is always an issue in broadcast. With any great degree of latency, competitive gaming cannot function. Riot has been creating international productions with gameplay taking place in Berlin before being produced in a studio in LA and then being distributed. There is a certain amount of latency in these international workflows, but nothing that can’t be managed and nothing that is
going to affect the audience experience. “Latency in the broadcasts generally isn’t as much of a problem, as long as we bundle video and audio together. But we can’t afford any latency in the gameplay itself. You have to get it perfect,” explains
to different distribution platforms like YouTube or Twitch. Riot ended up doing its show entirely remotely, with the competitors playing in Riot ’s studio in Berlin, but with the rest of the production crew operating remotely. The biggest challenge was moving from a full studio to production to a remote production in a very short amount of time – in a single week in fact. “It took us a while to get where we are now, because we were learning as we were going. It was a stressful time, but also very exciting. It felt good to see how much we were improving with each show,” Tramullas adds. League of Legends is a legendary hit in the esports world, but Riot has recently released several other games, including Valorant and Legends of Runeterra, and it is eager to roll out content around these new titles. Tramullas concludes: “We want to learn how to scale what we do, and this experience has helped us a lot. The more we can stream remotely, the more
Tramullas. “So the only solution is to have local game servers, where the only latency is the time it takes for data to get from your PC to the server hosting the game.” The Riot Games Nimble servers were hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The servers control all the feeds that go into the game broadcast, including the player, observer and shoutcaster feeds. Some of these go to partners, others IT FELT GOOD TO SEE HOW MUCH WE WERE IMPROVING WITH EACH SHOW
we’ll be able to do for our new games and new ecosystem.”
18 YOUR TAKE Workflow Automation
Cloud looks to be the way forward for more flexible, robust and cost-effective media management
19 YOUR TAKE Workflow Automation
become more distributed. With everyone working from home, a lot of effort and urgency has gone into enabling staff to exchange files securely, reliably and quickly. ADAPTING TO CHANGE One of the key challenges that media businesses have struggled with during the Covid-19 pandemic has been quickly adapting to changing needs. For example, many weren’t ready for production and operational requirements to change as quickly as they did when employees were forced to transition to remote working, which presented the urgent need for flexible content access and flexibility. If they didn’t know before, media organisations have learned that being agile and having the ability to scale infrastructure as required are essential. Indeed, business continuity has depended on it. For example, one of our customers added 250 terabytes of ingest capacity in a single day to enable their employees to continue working effectively from wherever they sheltered. But this emphasis on agility doesn’t just apply to new workflows. Media organisations also face the challenge of quickly adapting existing workflows without impacting production. The ability to experiment with key workflows and implement changes, but with a minimal amount of downtime, has taken on a new- found importance. With employees increasingly working outside of the corporate network, security is also a greater challenge. Organisations have to ensure that only properly authorised people have access to their video content and infrastructure, while also making sure that these people aren’t misusing that content. With staff away from the production facility, companies need to track content usage and how people are interacting with production tools to guarantee a way of working that’s secure and meets video production needs. While video orchestration challenges such as these are by no means easy to overcome, embracing technologies like cloud computing, workflow automation and artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly proven its value. These technologies will shape the future of the industry. DRIVERS TO PROGRESS Let’s start with the cloud technology, where a definite inflection point is taking place. While many media organisations have typically focused on public cloud, the future will likely see a sustained move towards hybrid environments that include
ANDREA DI MUZIO IBM Cloud Integration Expert Labs practice manager at IBM Aspera
a mix of public and private platforms. Media companies will increasingly build and manage their own private cloud infrastructures, which will bring several key benefits. Having access to a private cloud puts more control of cost and security in an organisation’s own hands and provides the flexibility to add or remove components as needed. It also makes it easier to orchestrate workflows and scale infrastructure. AI will also continue to increase in importance. The more the technology grows, the greater impact it will have on media workflows – particularly when it comes to managing content through enrichment of metadata. By automatically analysing content and extracting key information, AI will make it easier for businesses to organise assets and find content that meets specific requirements, like a particular subject, location or event. This combination of cloud and AI will enable greater automation, which will reduce costs and enable organisations to scale up the amount of content they can handle. Automating mundane, administrative tasks will reduce the risk of human error and free up production staff to focus on more creative tasks. Finally, we expect to see some interesting developments around security and traceability. More than ever, media organisations need to guarantee trust in how content is handled. This will pave the way for the introduction of technologies such as blockchain, which, together with AI, will be an essential feature of future media workflows. Recent events have accelerated the shifts we were already seeing in the media industry. The future of video orchestration is quickly taking shape, and media organisations must be prepared to fully embrace this digital world. THE FUTURE WILL SEE A SUSTAINED MOVE TOWARDS HYBRID ENVIRONMENTS THAT INCLUDE A MIX OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PLATFORMS
anaging video content libraries is an evolving challenge facing everyone in the media and entertainment industry – from
film studios and broadcasters to OTT platforms, sports teams and other content owners. With IT infrastructures becoming more complex, ensuring the security and availability of video assets is no easy task. Media organisations have to manage content libraries that are growing faster than ever before, while ensuring production staff can access and retrieve assets in real time, regardless of where personnel or production sets are based. As such, more media organisations have embraced cloud computing and automated key processes across ingest, playout and archiving in recent years. These trends have accelerated recently as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. While traditionally smaller companies have been slow to adopt new technologies because of cost and lack of technical expertise, we’re starting to see a movement towards workflow automation in media organisations of all sizes. This is primarily because the amount of file movement has increased as workflows
20 FEED:SHOW Business News
There’s no business like show business. Here’s the latest video vendor news NORDIJA/EKT/VERIMATRIX stratos.tv
EASY OTT WITH STRATOS A partnership between video distribution software company Nordija, set-top box manufacturer EKT and content protection provider Verimatrix, has resulted in a system that will help telcos and TV operators remove the complexity surrounding IPTV/OTT service delivery. The new service, called Stratos, aims to enable the quick launch of a fully featured cloud video solution. “Stratos is the perfect solution for telcos, service providers and ISPs looking to quickly offer a feature-rich video platform with minimum fuss and maximum impact,” says Vikram Felix, sales director EMEA, at Nordija. In the past, operators have had to manage and engage with multiple vendors to complete long and complex integrations. Running wholly on the cloud,
ATEME X ANEVIA Ateme and the key shareholders of Anevia have entered into negotiations, which have resulted in Ateme acquiring 87% of Anevia’s share capital. Michel Artières, chairman and CEO of Ateme, says: “A merger with Anevia and its high-performance solutions for optimising video flow delivery is a key step in our expansion strategy in our customers’ value chain and the conquest of new markets.” The melding of the two companies will result in producing a major player in the video broadcasting infrastructure, with a combined revenue of over €80 million. “The shared vision of the two companies and their strong culture should enable us to rapidly create significant value for our customers, employees and shareholders.”
the Stratos bundle hopes to instead help operators focus on growing their subscriber base by enabling access to a ready-to-deploy platform. The CEO of EKT also commented, “EKT has been working successfully with Nordija and Verimatrix for the last few years. However, now bringing our ‘best of breed’ products into one cloud solution with a single point of contact exceeds a normal collaboration. This means true dedication to delivering a seamlessly integrated system that helps our customers focus on gaining market share and getting more revenue.” The Stratos system offers a single point of contact, a single contract, rapid onboarding and a simplified way to operate the system, all from one management console.
21 FEED:SHOW Business News
THE SWITCH theswitch.tv
TURKEY SWITCHES ON UK HORSE RACING
London’s BT Tower via The Switch Access service, which then in turn will be livestreamed over the club’s dedicated online channel to its 2800 betting shops around the country. The agreement with The Switch also allows TJK customers to place bets on live UK race broadcasts across the flat racing season. “Horse racing continues to be a major audience and revenue driver across the world and our deep understanding of handling time- sensitive live content means we can ensure high-quality feeds are delivered without a hitch,” concludes Nicholas Castaneda, senior vice-president at The Switch.
The Switch has been selected by the Jockey Club of Turkey (TJK) to deliver horse racing live streams from the UK to its growing audience of racing fans. The improved popularity of the sport in Turkey means The Switch will be providing live feeds from the likes of Newmarket and Ascot to 600,000 customers in Turkey. Murat Kuyumcu, the Jockey Club of Turkey technical director, says: “Working with The Switch means we only have to deal with one service provider to meet our needs, instead of coordinating multiple services.” TJK will receive the feeds, picked up from
TWINE4CAR Access has announced that its work with sister company NetRange has resulted in a car-centric app store, which is now a part of the Access Twine for Car (Twine4Car) in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system. The Twine4Car app store has a wide range of IVI applications, including: y y Leading video streaming and live TV applications y y Leading streaming audio services y y News services y y Kids content y y Location-aware services for local information and retailer offers y y Weather The Twine4Car also supports DRM (digital rights management) on devices in the vehicle for secure playback. It also enables automotive OEMs to provide branded entertainment and information services on the car-head unit and rear-seat entertainment units. Twine4Car also connects the in-car infotainment system components with BYOD devices via in-car Wi-Fi. y y Payment services y y Convenience apps y y In-car games
FILMCHAIN GETS BOOST Investor in women-led start-ups, HearstLab, announced its seed investment in London-based financial technology company FilmChain. Working globally with the film and television industry, FilmChain collects revenues and pays production stakeholders in a transparent and automatic way, using a private Ethereum blockchain ledger to maintain transaction information. “FilmChain brings transparency to a traditionally opaque process, ensuring monies are paid and putting real-time performance tracking at the fingertips of key project stakeholders,” HearstLab FILMCHAIN filmchain.co
chairwoman Eve Burton comments. Further extending its leadership in providing financial transparency, FilmChain recently launched dynamic customisable performance reports for producers, sales agents and investors – an industry first for film collection management. “Having such a great investor, committed to supporting female founders at our stage growth, made the conversation a perfect fit right from the start. We were thrilled to discover such wonderful partners, who are ready to roll up their sleeves and provide hands-on support,” says Maria Tanjala, FilmChain co-CEO.
22 FEED:SHOW Business News
TALLYMAN TRAINING COURSE TSL Products is now offering a virtual training programme for its Tallyman advanced broadcast control system to customers around the globe. Tallyman brings complex systems under a single point of control and also minimises operational complexity. The virtual training course aims to arm users with knowledge of the system, paired with broken-down sessions aimed
Ben Bate, who recently commissioned a control layer as part of a technical upgrade at Scottish TV. The first lesson of the programme is an introduction to Tallyman and device interfaces, including routing control. Routing control and monitoring is a core function of the system and enables users to access their entire signal flow infrastructure from standard common interfaces and control surfaces.
towards key customers – including systems integrators. The sessions are led by TSL customer support engineer
NEW SOLUTIONS FOR INDIAN NEWS Indian regional news channel Lokshahi News has deployed a range of Grass Valley solutions for its new playout operation. Having previously built its system around Grass Valley’s iTX integrated playout platform, the Marathi language broadcaster is producing a future-proof set-up that supports content delivery to linear and social media outlets. Lokshahi News selected Grass Valley solutions to allow the broadcaster to manage playout channels across a range of platforms as its service grows. The iTX platform delivers multi-resolution support, easily handling 4K, HD and SD, as well as the capability to simultaneously play out both IP and SDI. The channel has also deployed GV Stratus for news production and content management, EDIUS for editing, Kula 2M/E and Kula AV production switchers, the Masterpiece master control switcher, Kaleido Multiviews and Densité 3+ FR4 Frame processing solutions.
PLAYOUT AT VIRGIN MEDIA
at its London facility, along with scheduling, 24-hour monitoring and fibre delivery services. It’s also providing compliance assurance for the channel. The Get Moving channel is described by Virgin Media as a “cracking new channel featuring sessions led by Olympic gold medallists, including Daley Thompson, and some of the fitness game’s best experts, it’s never been easier, either”. It includes yoga classes, challenging fitness workouts as well as family-friendly exercise sessions.
Globecast announced in August that Virgin Media, has selected it to provide a playout solution for its pop- up HD exercise channel, Get Moving. Due to the effects of Covid-19, online and TV- based exercise classes have become high in demand. To begin with, Virgin Media initially launched the channel itself, but later decided it needed a more robust playout solution, turning to Globecast. Globecast is providing its Cinergy-based playout
NETFOUNDRY TAKES ON INDONESIA NetFoundry announced it is partnering with Indosat Ooredoo, a leading South East Asian telecom operator, to introduce network-as-a-service (NaaS) to the industry. Serving thousands of enterprises in Indonesia by addressing their business networking and cloud connectivity needs, Indosat has built a network that covers 90% of Indonesia’s population. This partnership sets Indosat Ooredoo at the forefront
of cloud transformation in Indonesia through NaaS,
paired with its IOT and SaaS applications. The partnership will combine service bundling and connectivity to increase the value proposition substantially. Indosat’s influence in the telecom sector will also be significantly enhanced by NetFoundry’s global partnership with Amazon Web Services, Google and Azure by progressing the way in which service users can access and operate within the cloud.
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NEW IN TOOLS AND TECH
All you need to know from the world of media and tech
and with external services through supplied APIs. Capabilities of the Axinom Mosaic include stakeholder management, content ingestion, encoding and transcoding with DRM, metadata management, user authentication, content synchronisation, DRM protection, billing and secure multichannel delivery to all types of end user devices. “We are building a truly modular digital assets processing, management, protection and deployment framework that works for your content-oriented platforms and applications.
Axinom has introduced Axinom Mosaic; an array of services enabling companies to choose and create their own stack for building media solutions, like large-scale streaming platforms. Aiming to standardise significant steps in digital content management, the framework will break down each workflow into independent services that fit together through front-end and back-end libraries,
With Mosaic. we do all the hard lifting so our customers can choose, build and scale with ease”, comments Ralph Wagner, CEO of Axinom.
Axinom will soon allow companies, partners and developers to get their hands on the framework and try it out for themselves.
TWO NEW PANELS Blackmagic has announced the new Atem 2 M/E Advanced Panel and the Atem 4 M/E Advanced Panel, two new control panels designed to work with all Atem switchers. The Atem Advanced Panels are large enough that the user has dedicated controls for the largest of the Atem switchers.
Features included up to four M/Es, up to 24 LCDs for custom button labels, four system control LCDs and four T-bar fader controls, and the new panel design allows both desktop use or inset mounting. “The new Atem 2 and 4 M/E Advanced Panels are exciting, because they give customers control of the largest Atem switchers, like the
Atem Constellation 8K,” says Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “With up to 24 LCDs on the 4
M/E model, combined with dynamic button labelling,
customisable colours and a massive number of controls, the new design takes the Atem Advanced Panels to a whole new level of features for live production.”
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ZERO DENSITY zerodensity.tv/euen
REALITY HUB Zero Density has launched its control integration tool, Reality Hub, to the market. Providing a unified HTML5 user interface for ‘reality,’ a virtual studio and
an on-air graphics system powered by Unreal Engine, the hub’s upgraded control applications run on multiple platforms supporting web browsing. Reality Hub also allows for seamless integration with NRCS and studio automations through industry-standard MOS protocol. Reality Hub has server and client architecture and all functionalities are developed as separate modules. Alongside the standard modules, Reality Hub allows third-party developers to develop their own modules as plug-ins and add/extend the functionalities of the
Reality Hub. This allows users to easily configure and customise their system and workflow. Reality Hub integrates the Unreal world with the external data sources such as weather, finance, elections and sports. It allows you to define rules for your data
sources and customise them to match your design. Already, one of the initial modules has been used by information news network The Weather Channel for virtualisation of real-time weather data in its reality virtual studio during its daily live shows.
MEDIACENTRAL At the end of July, Avid announced the availability of MediaCentral 2020, a media workflow platform for TV, news, sports and post-production operations. New and updated features include increased efficiency, faster search options and improved editing – alongside an enhanced broadcast viewing experience for audiences. “Whether you are a local news bureau, regional broadcaster or global news network, the ability to deliver compelling news stories quickly and efficiently is critical,” says Colleen Smith, vice-president of market solutions at Avid. With a storyboard view to see metadata together with the thumbnails in one single view, MediaCentral also includes more control and options to find the right media assets quickly, improved collaboration and improved overall useability. MediaCentral’s new advanced capabilities address complex editing needs, delivering compelling stories with increased video and audio tracks. AVID avid.com/products/mediacentral
CURATOR 3.0 IPV has announced the availability of Curator Arrival, version 3.0 of its media asset management platform. The release includes performance-based improvements that are designed to support both remote and hybrid workflows, increase user efficiency and ROI, and strengthen security. Topping the list are new features and enhancements to Clip Link and Curator for Adobe,
the workflow extension panel that allows teams to remotely collaborate on video in real time. “With the release of Curator Arrival, we’re making it easier to remotely edit and collaborate on video projects, in addition to simplifying administrative functions in Curator, improving user onboarding, and reducing cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure costs,” states James Varndell, product manager at IPV.
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DALET GALAXY XCLOUD Dalet Galaxy xCloud is a dedicated, cloud-hosted Dalet Galaxy Five system, managed by Dalet as a full SaaS service. Dalet Galaxy xCloud
processes, offering top-tier security for a truly collaborative experience at home or from anywhere in the world. “We have designed Dalet Galaxy xCloud to give our customers maximum
mobility when they need it most, whether they are at the office or facility, at an off-site production or in the field, working with freelancers or working from home, as many of us are today.”
connects to users’ existing on-premises systems and supports workflows for remote editing teams, responding to the immediate and urgent needs of today’s news content creators. “Today, more than ever, our news customers play a critical role in keeping communities informed and connected. Our tools form a foundation for creating and delivering vital news and information to millions of viewers. It’s imperative that our customers’ operations continue without disruption,” states Kevin Savina, director of product strategy of Dalet. Enabling and enhancing home-based news production, Dalet Galaxy xCloud fosters productivity and automates
AQUILA ON-DEMAND MediaKind has launched Aquila On-Demand, a video on demand solution for the processing and delivering of video files over any network to any device. Supporting the latest technologies such as HEVC 8K and CMAF, this new offering within the MediaKind Universe of solutions empowers global TV operators to offer reduced operational complexity and optimised server footprint.
The automated workflow can trigger both encoding and packaging processing from a single standalone request or can be controlled from an external content management system – such as the MediaKind CMS. Support for fast asset provisioning also enables a rapid time to market for valuable content, while embedded just-in-time packaging and encryption provides support for a wide variety of formats and DRM platforms.
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HALO DOWNMIX Nugen Audio has unveiled its latest version of Halo Downmix, which now increases the compatibility of the software. Broadening the plug-in’s channel count support to address less common output formats, Halo Downmix is now capable of downmixing from 7.1 and 5.1 to the following configurations: 7.0, 6.1, 6.0, 5.1, 5.0 and 4.0, plus LCR and stereo. With the optional 3D extension, downmixing from 7.1.2 is also supported.
“These changes allow users to fill in the audio gaps by taking productions from Netflix-compliant 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos formats fully down to lower channel counts,” says Paul Tapper, CEO of Nugen Audio. The implementation of the latest updates makes it possible for production mixers to deliver projects in a wide array of formats while enabling precise surround balancing, mix monitoring and stereo fold-down.
OBJECT MATRIX object-matrix.com
OPEN BROADCAST SYSTEMS obe.tv
MATRIXSTORE CLOUD This month also saw the launch of the MatrixStore Cloud, introduced by Object Matrix. The managed storage platform was is an evolution of the company’s MatrixStore storage solution, offered as a service amid a surge in demand for managed cloud-based object storage. The MatrixStore Cloud is a managed cloud storage platform that enables teams to self-serve access to content from work or remotely anywhere. It also comes with media-focused interfaces that makes protecting, finding and sharing content easier. Jonathan Morgan, CEO of Object Matrix, adds: “MatrixStore Cloud ensures our customers have access to their content, even if access to the building is restricted. At the same time, it is vastly cheaper than public cloud offerings and gives customers predictable costs.”
SDI CARD Open Broadcast Systems has announced the launch of its own serial digital interface (SDI) card. The SDI card features a range of operational advancements to facilitate professional capture and playback, while delivering low-latency and high-density performance. Open Broadcast Systems has redesigned the standard SDI processing functions, allowing the card to improve end-to- end latency rates, resulting in a
reduction in processing delay. On top of this, improvements have also been made to playback functionality to minimise buffering in order to improve the overall performance. Kieran Kunhya, CEO of Open Broadcast Systems, comments: “Our aim was to apply 21st- century development practices to a legacy application like SDI. The design decisions we have made have resulted in huge latency improvements. There is no other card like this on the market.”
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