Exploring the future of media technology
’m delighted to be the first to welcome you to the new quarterly FEED . We’ve been hard at work in the FEED labs, redesigning the brand, reinvigorating our content offering and forming some amazing new partnerships with our friends in the tech world. We hope you’ll treat this bumper issue as you would the gigantic Christmas catalogues of your childhood. If you’re lucky enough to be holding the print issue in your hands, curl up with it by the fire and take time to reflect on the successes of 2020 – and for all its hardships, there were bright spots – and get inspired by the innovation and resilience the media industry has shown this year. WELCOME TO FEED
EDITORIAL EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 email@example.com
FEATURES WRITER Verity Butler CHIEF SUB EDITOR Beth Fletcher SUB EDITOR Elisha Young JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Jack Nason
The new FEED quarterly is much bigger than the monthly FEED , as I’m sure you’ve noticed, and it casts a wider net in terms of the content covered. In this issue, we cover the biggest esports tournament in the world and how it put on a show despite the global pandemic, as well as how clever music companies have been bringing performances directly to fans. We sail around the world with the skippers of the Vendée Globe race, and we take a look at storage tech solutions in the age of cloud. We hope you like the new look, the new page count and the new content style. We can’t wait to hear your feedback. Get hold of us any time and, as always, let us know how we can help.
CONTRIBUTORS Michael Burns, Ann-Marie Corvin, David Davies, Adrian Pennington and Robert Takata ADVERTISING ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Matt Snow +44 (0) 7918 133 323 firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN DESIGNER AND AD PRODUCTION Man-Wai Wong
SENIOR DESIGNER Lucy Woolcomb DESIGN MANAGER Alan Gray
DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck
NEAL ROMANEK, EDITOR
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06 FEED:SHOW with the latest in product news 23 Industry inventory: Looking back on 2020
32 VOD voices: Musicians overcoming the pandemic 40 Tech study: Storage in the age of cloud
51 Around the world drama with Vendée Globe 60 Game zone: Esports’ biggest tournament
70 Case studies on a year of remote production innovation
80 Genius interview: Oscar-winner Pippa Harris on sustainability 88 Shooting for zero-carbon production
96 Broadcasters & vendors discuss the most challenging year in news 106 Data visualisation: Social media & local news
112 Start-up alley: Tech companies to watch 120 Haptics: The feelies are here 126 Over the top: Fighting for the truth
FEED:SHOW is our tech exhibition in a magazine. Check out the newest gear, software and updates serving the world of video workflow and distribution
Words by Verity Butler
PLUGGING IN TO ADOBE Avid is now enabling content creators and video editors who use Adobe Premiere Pro to collaborate with Avid-based production environments. Its MediaCentral Panel for Adobe Premiere Pro is a software plug-in that offers the advantage of Avid storage, asset management and team collaboration. The integration also enables editors to browse, search, access and edit content and metadata without ever leaving Adobe Premiere Pro. The plug-in aims to enable a more efficient media production workflow environment, allowing teams that create content for digital platforms, social media and marketing to easily share and deliver content on the same infrastructure used by broadcast teams. “The MediaCentral Panel for Adobe Premiere Pro enables powerful collaborative workflows in Avid production environments, allowing creatives to keep pace with the demands of news and sports content production,” said Van Bedient, head of strategic development at Adobe.
FLEXIBLE CONVERTERS Magewell has introduced three new models to its Pro Convert range of encoders and decoders. The Pro Convert 12G SDI 4K Plus encoder converts 4K/60fps, 12G-SDI input signals into full-bandwidth NDI streams, while the Pro Convert for NDI to SDI and Pro Convert H.26x to SDI decoders transform NDI, H.264 or H.265 streams into high-quality SDI outputs for connection to monitors, projectors and legacy equipment. “Our Pro Convert NDI encoders and decoders were among the first products of their kind, and have earned an enviable reputation for being the most flexible and reliable such converters on the market,” said Nick Ma, CEO and CTO at Magewell. The new additions bring the Pro Convert decoder family to seven models. They join HD and 4K NDI and streaming-only models with HDMI interfaces, and the Pro Convert AIO RX NDI decoder with both HDMI and 3G-SDI outputs. “We’re pleased to bring these benefits to a wider range of users and equipment with our new SDI-output decoders and 12G-SDI encoder model.”
RING8 THE YEAR Scality has recently announced its Ring8 platform for scale-out file and object storage software. Ring customers are given the advantage of an all-flash solution centred on one platform, being measured to fill the bandwidth of a 40GbE network to a cluster of six HPE Apollo 4200 servers. This equates to storing and serving thousands of high-resolution image files each second. In turn, this results in a much faster storage system, integrated hybrid-cloud data management and high levels of data durability. “With the declining cost curves and increasing densities of flash media, customers can use Ring’s scalability and ultra-high data durability alongside the ability to fully leverage all-flash for their high- performance requirements,” said Giorgio Regni, CTO and co-founder of Scality. An all-flash Ring deployed on a cluster of six servers can typically achieve over 10GB/s of throughput, and with performance increasing as Ring cluster sizes grow, Scality customers have substantial headroom to deploy scalable systems.
AMPLIFYING APANTAC Manufacturer of multiviewers, video walls extension and signal processing solutions, Apantac, has added two new cards to its line of openGear distribution amplifiers. The OG-DA-8-UHD and OG-DA-4-UHD now include 12G support for UHD applications. The models include 1x4 and 1x8 distribution amplifiers for auto-detected 12G/6G/3G/
HD/SD-SDI signals and are designed specifically for the OGX/3.0 card-based openGear platform. These cost-effective designs split one 12G signal into four or eight and are useful in almost any broadcast or professional AV environment where clean signal splitting is required over long cable runs. Cable reach is up to 70 meters for 12G, up to 100 meters for 6G and up to 140 meters for 3G signals.
MULTIVIEWER UPDATE Lawo has announced update 4.4 of its innovative theWall multiviewer control software, which has new features that it claims provide an unparalleled multiviewer layout workflow experience. With the new updates, operators can now switch to live editing mode by activating the live edit switch and, from that moment, any changes are applied to the selected monitor. When not in live editing mode, changes can be applied to the selected monitor at any time by pressing the ‘publish’ button. Also in the update comes a new snap grid option, which helps object alignment during the layout creation process. You can activate the snap grid by clicking on the checkbox on the bottom of the screen and the size of the grid can be freely selected by dragging the slider next to the checkbox. Layout names are now displayed beneath each layout and can be edited by double clicking on the name. After typing in the desired name, simply click anywhere else in the screen or hit tab on your keyboard to exit editing mode.
BUSY BEES Audience engagement specialist Never.no has announced the latest release of Bee-On, a cloud-based social and content management platform. With this release, producers have access to an upgraded scalable personal response engine, advanced historic twitter search and a trend tracker. News, entertainment, factual and chat shows can now use historic Twitter searches and trends to search for, track and report live Twitter conversations. Bee-On’s social moderation engine shows seven-day historical keyword searches, with both reactions and engagements from conversations, that can be published straight into programming – showing word clouds, hot topics and latest trends on a big screen in the studio, or overlaid and integrated into broadcast-standard graphics. Using keywords, hashtags and mentions via social platforms, producers can gather images, videos and comments relevant to an event or programme and moderate them, before queuing them up on a cloud timeline, ready to publish directly into live or pre-recorded content. Voting and polling tools natively aggregate and filter key words and interactions into manageable data lists to quickly publish and deliver audience opinion results at any point, in real time.
FISHING IN THE CLOUD Bluefish444 has added Kronos K8 support for Adobe Cloud, integrated with the Windows 2020.14.1 install package. In a bid to provide production and post-production professionals with access to SDI capture and playback support, its Kronos K8 4K-UHD SDI card will be available with Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Adobe Audition,
Character Animator and Prelude. With K8, editors using Premiere Pro are able to playback multiple channels of 4K/UHD SDI from their timeline using Bluefish’s proprietary 12-bit processing engine for maximum quality. The 2020.14.1 update also expands support for Epoch cards to the latest versions of Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Both K8 and Epoch
cards have full support for high frame rate (HFR) and HDR workflows, and SDI capture from Premiere Pro. “The combination of Adobe content creation and editing tools, Bluefish hardware and Ingestore software offerings makes for a compelling, cost-effective and unique production suite,” explained Tom Lithgow, product manager at Bluefish.
ATEMMini Pro ISOmodel shown.
Introducing ATEMMini The miniaturized television studio for creating presentation videos and live streams!
Live Stream Training and Conferences The ATEM Mini Pro model has a built in hardware streaming engine for live streaming via its ethernet connection. This means you can live stream to YouTube, Facebook and Twitch in much better quality and with perfectly smooth motion. You can even connect a hard disk or flash storage to the USB connection and record your stream for upload later! Edit and Fix Live Streams With the new ATEM Mini Pro ISO model, you can now edit your live show to fix any mistakes or make improvements. You get all video inputs and program recorded as 5 separate video files! Plus a DaVinci Resolve edit timeline is saved, so you can open the live show and make changes with a single click! It only takes a few minutes to edit and upload a perfect version of your show!
ATEM Mini is a whole television studio, miniaturized down into an easy to use solution for creating live multi camera television shows. Simply connect up to4HDMI cameras, computers and evenmicrophones. Then push the buttons on the panel to switch video sources just like a professional broadcaster! You can even add titles, picture in picture overlays and mix audio! Then live stream to Zoom, Skype or YouTube! Create Training and Educational Videos ATEM Mini includes everything you need. All the buttons are positioned on the front panel so it’s very easy to learn. ATEM Software Control is also included for accessing more advanced features! The 4 HDMI inputs allow connecting cameras and computers, plus the USB output works like a webcam for Zoom or Skype. The multiview even allows all cameras to be viewed on a single monitor! Use Professional Video Effects ATEM Mini is really a professional broadcast switcher used by television stations. This means it has professional ef fects such as a DVE for picture in picture ef fects, commonly used for commentating over a computer slide show. There are titles for presenter names, wipe ef fects for transitioning between sources and a green screen keyer for replacing backgrounds with graphics!
ATEMMini ........... £245 * ATEMMini Pro .......... £495 * ATEMMini Pro ISO .......... £745 *
*SRP is Exclusive of VAT. Price subject to change. www.blackmagicdesign.com/uk
COMPRESSING CODECS Mobile and video technology development company, Interdigital, has announced CompressAI, a new software for simplifying AI-based video compression research. The solution allows researchers to quickly design, train, test and evaluate AI-based codecs. The open-source platform, recently released to the video compression research and standards communities, is already being used to support the development of next-generation image and video codecs. “Interdigital has developed the CompressAI platform to simplify and speed up the process of deep video compression research, allowing teams to test and evaluate AI-based codecs quickly and accurately. By making our platform publicly available, we hope to be able to support the incredibly important work research teams are doing to bring the next generation of video compression standards,” said Jean Bolot, vice-president of the AI Lab at Interdigital. CompressAI automates a large proportion of the research process of the next generation of image and video codecs, to accelerate the development and evaluation of candidate neural network architectures in deep video compression research.
m2amedia.tv M2A MEDIA
IP TRANSPORT SERVICE M2A Media has announced the release of the M2A Connect Source Selector, which is the latest addition to its cloud IP transport service, M2A Connect. Aiming to enhance the capabilities of M2A Connect, the selector now gives rights owners the ability to offer broadcasters a larger selection of content on a self-serve basis. The rights owner can set up
subscription options that then allow the broadcaster to view and select from a range of live feeds, all the time maintaining control over what content is made available. M2A Connect itself was launched in May of 2020, which enabled broadcasters and rights owners to easily manage and monitor B2B live
by AWS Elemental live video transport solutions. On top of this, M2A’s Source Selector streamlines interactions between rights owners and subscribers, and subscribers have the ability to take control when routing feeds into their own infrastructure.
feed routing, distribution and acquisition over public cloud. The service is underpinned
HDR CONVERTER UPDATE AJA Video Systems has announced free firmware is available for the FS-HDR real-time HDR/WCG converter and frame synchroniser, featuring a new Colorfront Engine TV Mode, v1.4 BBC HLG LUTs and more. The Colorfront Engine TV Mode provides new colour and camera correction essentials, adding knee point and knee slope controls to better managing highlights and roll-off in SDR and HDR (HLG and PQ) conversions, greatly enhancing the image output. With this mode, more HDR image information is accessible for use in SDR down- conversions, and SDR expansion into HDR can be more thoughtfully managed.
customers in the field, taking notes and envisioning new features we can build into firmware releases like v4.0. We’re excited to bring FS-HDR users powerful new features that will simplify their day-to-day production challenges,” said Nick Rashby, president of AJA Video Systems. More than a simple curve, the new mode is powered by an algorithm based on the human visual system that maintains the source colour relationships of the original material though the transform process. To protect the colour fidelity of SDR brand colours used in graphics or in-camera, SDR to HDR and HDR to SDR transforms facilitate seamless round-tripping.
“HDR production is in a constant state of change. As more HDR workflows are implemented, we’re working alongside
EXPANDED MEDIA IO Primestream has announced major updates to its Media IO application. Media IO is Primestream’s IP-based recording and playout solution for capturing content from virtually any source and then transcoding it live into production, management and delivery workflows. Media IO Server and Media IO Desktop versions now include
expanded support for media ingest in cloud-hosted environments, as well as significant enhancements to performance and user experience. With the updates, Media IO Server now supports 4K UHD capture to drive high-end live production workflows. This provides users with a single capture platform for both HD and 4K UHD signals, simplifying and unifying workflows across the
requirements of multiple departments. Media IO Server also now features expanded format support for real- time video editing, adding support for Apple Final Cut X in addition to Adobe Premiere Pro. Since Media IO captures IP sources live and in real time, editors can preview live streams and edit them within NLE systems even as the video feed is still capturing.
AKAMAI ADVANCEMENTS Akamai has introduced new developer APIs that aim to increase operational efficiency for organisations that need to manage numerous live or linear streams, often simultaneously. These APIs have been designed in order to simplify the process of provisioning Akamai’s Media Services Live and Adaptive Media Delivery. Media Services Live now includes a live clipping feature, which simplifies the creation and archiving of highlights. Another new feature called Instant TV enables streaming providers to define the beginning of a live programme and allows viewers to utilise the Restart TV functionality in the event they want to start an in-progress programme from a start time of their choice. In the past, Akamai has supported initiatives such as low-latency DASH that reduces end-to-end latency so customers can deliver streaming experiences that are in sync with traditional broadcast. As part of its updates, Akamai has announced the support for low-latency HLS (LL-HLS). In addition, Akamai has built out capacity across the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform, which now includes more than 300,000 servers in 4,000 locations and nearly 1,500 networks around the globe. akamai.com AKAMAI
EFFICIENT INGEST Playbox Neo has added a major development to its product line with the announcement of Capture Suite, an ingest solution that is designed to increase the efficiency of television networks, post-production facilities and playout centres. Capture Suite has a client-server architecture that can be scaled up and accommodate an unlimited number of channels. “Broadcasters have to deal with receiving content from multiple live sources on a daily basis. Capture Suite elevates ingest to an entirely new level. It is a multichannel multiserver live ingest solution supporting a wide range of codecs and containers. The ingest operator controls all available ingest servers from a single user interface, ensuring very high efficiency,” commented the Playbox Neo CTO, Stanislav Petkov. Capture Suite allows users to handle the entire ingest process from a standard web browser. All necessary operations needed to control multiple ingest channels and multiple servers can be performed quickly. playboxneo.com PLAYBOX NEO
IN ITS PRIME The latest iteration of ChyronHego’s graphic solution, Prime 3.7, has been released. ChyronHego’s Prime is in use throughout the world and is resolution and format agnostic, capable of outputting high pixel density. The platform is flexible, supporting multiple use cases: Prime CG, Prime Clips, Prime Video Walls, Prime Touchscreen, Prime AR and Prime Branding.
Prime also integrates easily with any major NRCS, switcher/ vision mixer or automation control system. Now operators can save .psk and .dsk files to keep, recall or transfer their preferred shortcut key settings for playout and design. They can also save graphics as .tiff, .png, or .jpg for reference or use off the system. Prime 3.7 users also benefit from new file zipping and file management functionality. Operators can also easily tab to different areas
of the user interface. Configurable highlights allow them to see at a glance the active area of the UI. “With this release of Prime, the global community of operators who are familiar with ChyronHego’s Lyric CG will find that they can now drive Prime with the same special keys and keyboard shortcuts that are already ingrained in their muscle memory,” stated Louis Garvin, vice- president of product and engineering at ChyronHego.
CE1 MediaKind has also come out with some updates, including the announcement of the launch of the CE1. The CE1 is a media contribution encoder based on cloud-ready software, coupled with hardware acceleration. It enables new video offerings while also facilitating immersive and compelling experiences. Combined with MediaKind’s RX1, the CE1 enables an end-to-end media contribution workflow. The CE1 is available as a cloud-native deployment model and can integrate with public cloud providers to enable broadcast-quality contribution to the cloud. CE1 software is also available within a hardware platform, giving broadcasters the option to run their services on-premises. Raul Aldrey, chief product officer of MediaKind, said: “The launch of our flexible, software-based CE1 encoding platform provides secure, high-quality professional content contribution. In conjunction with MediaKind’s RX1 platform, CE1 delivers an industry-beating, highly resilient, cloud-ready, secure video contribution workflow, which enables the delivery of next-generation media experiences today and in the future. “All broadcasters and content owners can invest with confidence, safe in the knowledge they will always remain current in a world of shifting media contribution technologies and infrastructure.” mediakind.com MEDIAKIND
ENHANCING PLATFORMS Announcements have also come from Verizon Media, revealing a set of new media platform enhancements that are designed to evolve the live streaming experience. These include new capabilities that provide further fan engagement for live sports, as well as launching Smartplay Prebid’s first integration with the Verizon Media ad platforms’ OTT Smart Auction. Verizon has partnered with Phenix Real Time Solutions, marrying its network, edge computing and ad insertion expertise with Phenix’s real- time streaming technology to enable sub-second latency for live sports at scale. This capability has been critical in developing new services required by broadcasters, rights owners, sports teams and leagues to deliver live sports in the stadium and to people’s homes. On top of this, Smartplay Prebid is an ad insertion technology for long-form video with TV-style ad breaks. It enables demand partners to bid on ad space simultaneously and have those bids evaluated alongside other ad buys, leveraging the open-source prebid server technology. The ad platforms division within Verizon Media recently launched OTT Smart Auction, a header bidding-like solution for premium OTT publishers that delivers programmatic video advertising from a vast array of demand sources. verizonmedia.com/media-platform VERIZON MEDIA
Grass Valley’s new cloud-native broadcast services solution helps broadcasters get out of the linear rut
here’s a new star in the Grass Valley GV Media Universe: the GV AMPP Playout service, a cloud-first, flexible, scalable playout addition to Grass Valley’s Agile
can employ AMPP to spin up or spin down a variety of applications on a pay-as-you-go basis. Public cloud is great at being elastic and offering services on a pay-as-you-go basis, but cloud is hardly what broadcasters think of first when planning how to do playout – a part of the workflow that always needs to be on tap. “Historically, playout has been a 24/7, nailed-up service. And that’s not a great use case for cloud,” says Maycock. “If you do the maths, you often find you’re better off buying the equipment and running it in your own data centre, rather than renting it from Google or Amazon.” But content playout has substantially expanded and diversified from the single, always-on channel of the traditional linear world. Broadcasters and rights holders have the opportunity to play out content to their audiences with pop-up channels or feeds to social media outlets at any time. The speed and responsiveness of cloud means that a team can engage with a major event or secure rights, or just have a brainstorm, then launch a TV channel within days.
Media Processing Platform (AMPP) technology. “Our industry loves talking about technology for technology’s sake,” notes CMO and general manager of playout for Grass Valley, Neil Maycock. “When we go to trade shows, the conversation is often about the latest tech to get excited about. But customers don’t invest because the technology is cool. They invest because they’ve got economic drivers to do things differently.” The use cases for cloud are growing as the technology matures. Grass Valley launched its GV AMPP platform earlier this year, building it from the ground up in a cloud environment, while leveraging Grass Valley’s legacy of broadcast expertise. GV AMPP is a SaaS platform designed to offer broadcasters the power of cloud-based elastic compute and to help companies move from their long-time reliance on hardware-based systems. Fully browser-based, users
“We do a lot of market modelling at Grass Valley and we actually look at our customers’ revenue models and where their revenue’s coming from. We see they’ve got the big, traditional broadcast revenues that have a lot of inertia, but you can also see this new online world, driven by consumer behaviour, is growing exponentially.” As broadcasters look to the future, they are having to make careful decisions about their technology spend. Investing in cloud means access to greater agility with an ability to react to unexpected challenges (see 2020) and leap on sudden opportunities. A traditional technology investment with the purchase of a fixed asset is unlikely to be able to respond to a rapidly changing market. “This has been a crazy year, but I think it has driven home that point,” says Maycock. “As our president, Tim Shoulders, said: ‘A lot of the industry’s sacred cows have been slain this year.’ You’ve had to do things differently, you don’t have a choice. And then, lo and behold, it actually works.” Most of all, being agile means being able to respond to what the audience is doing. Cloud playout can
YOU’VE HAD TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY, YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE
STATE OF PLAY Grass Valley’s AMPP Playout is a cloud-first, flexible and scalable playout service
through a single, fixed outlet. Cloud can be an essential component for distributing to multiple audiences or delivering more content, which, though they may not be big money earners individually, in total can yield some comfortable revenue. Given Grass Valley’s long history in the industry, the company likely has the biggest install base of playout automation in the world. That understanding of how playout has worked in the past – as well as knowledge of its potential in a cloud-based future – has allowed Grass Valley to release a system that really works for broadcasters and leverages the benefits cloud can offer. “There’s a lot of scepticism
in the market and people have been burned,” says Maycock. “A lot of the early attempts at moving solutions to the cloud took an existing software solution, wrapped it in a virtual machine and ran it on a public cloud service, which is kind of the worst of both worlds. You’re incurring the cost of the cloud without leveraging its benefits.” The AMPP platform operates instead on multiple microservices,
WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO DEPLOY ACROSS A DIVERSE RANGE OF TOPOLOGIES
which means, instead of a solution being made up of one big block of code, the platform offers a palette of small services that can be combined to create a broadcast application. This modularity and flexibility, brought about by cloud-native applications, is a key component in AMPP’s ability to scale. “Cloud platforms are about scale. You don’t go on to amazon.com and find you can’t buy something because the site’s too busy. These problems of scale in the internet have been solved. By embracing those technologies, we bring that to the playout domain. It allows us a great range of geographic diversity as well. Whether that’s for resilience for better performance in regions, we have the ability to deploy across a diverse range of topologies, mapped to fit the customer’s business requirements.” Grass Valley’s global hardware installs among broadcasters are ubiquitous and the company hopes the AMPP platform can be an avenue to help companies transition to the advantages the cloud brings. It has made sure that its existing appliances are fully compatible with AMPP and that integrations between existing Grass Valley products and AMPP microservices are seamless. “We put hooks into the existing playout product so customers can synchronise with their existing systems. They could maybe put some of this burst capacity on top of their fixed infrastructure,” concludes Maycock. “We’ve done a lot of customer migrations over the years. It’s about enabling smooth interoperation between both of the systems.”
turn what has been a largely one-way street into an opportunity for conversation with the audience. Advertising and relevant information can be directed with great precision to relevant viewers and, with greater knowledge of the audience, new kinds of programming can be developed that would have been impractical with a wide broadcast approach. Grass Valley has been helping Eurosport in its efforts to expand its reach by delivering sporting events to multiple countries in multiple languages. Using cloud playout, Eurosport can deliver audio, graphics, scoring and every other variable in localised versions for the duration of a specific event – a strategy that would be absurd in the linear world. “The user experience and audience engagement for that sporting event is then far greater. You’re effectively producing a local feed in lots of territories. And I think that kind of audience engagement is the new kind of business model we need to be enabling. You need to think much more laterally now,” explains Maycock. Content – content rights in particular – is now more expensive than ever, and revenues are thinly spread. Gone are the days when profits could be made
The year 2020 was full of challenges, but it was also a chance to innovate and take stock. We asked some of our friends in media tech about their experiences
7fivefive Tim Burton Managing director
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? At the start of the year, we had a mixture of client requirements. Some projects were service-based and others focused on hardware installation. After the pandemic hit, we saw standard on-site hardware delivery drop off, but there was an increasing need for service-led systems integration. We’ve realised that it’s possible to achieve significant change when suppliers and customers are willing to change with you. The industry has collectively adapted to the challenges of 2020 and that has led to our clients taking some big leaps forward in their cloud-based infrastructure. What was your proudest moment? How well our team worked through the challenges to enable transformation for our clients. It meant that we didn’t need to defer any resources or furlough anyone during lockdown. It also meant we could ensure our clients and their editing teams continued to output great creative content from their own homes.
What will December 2021 be like for your business?
That’s a tough question to answer in December 2020, let alone in December 2021! But regardless of what’s happening in the industry, I’ll be celebrating how resilient and resourceful our team continues to be. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? A broader use of open-source technology, rather than companies having to reinvent the wheel. If teams could get 80% of what they need from open- source, and then engineer the last 20%, I think we’d see some really interesting innovations over a shorter period of time. Best thing(s) you watched this year? It was definitely the second season of Drive to Survive . It’s the Netflix series that goes behind the scenes of Formula One and it gives a great insight into the world of racing.
CGI Alexandra Maier Director, marketing & communications – Media Solutions
Clear-Com John Sparrow Senior systems consultant/engineer
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? We can accomplish a lot digitally – more than we would have ever thought, internally and with our clients – but it doesn’t replace live meetings and networking opportunities. What was your proudest moment? Despite Covid-19, we have successfully integrated our SCISYS business into the big CGI world, more or less all virtually, but still fairly smoothly. What will December 2021 be like for your business? Hopefully, we can celebrate leaving a nasty pandemic behind and return to a new normal life; ‘new normal,’ as we expect our working behaviour to change for good, allowing more flexibility, eg to partially work from home or anywhere else, or to take advantage of virtual meetings, if travelling is not necessary. This protects the environment and is also efficient. Still, the chance to meet people in person again, where it makes sense, is exciting. What is the best thing to come out of this year? The solidarity among colleagues, realising that we are all in the same boat. Also the fact that while going virtual does work and is good for our environment, it isn’t
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? Learning how to work effectively from home: I had a head start because my work already had become home office based in August 2019, but 2020 took it to a whole new level. What was your proudest moment? Helping our regional sales managers with some very complex and technical tender responses and actually getting positive results. That makes you feel good. What will December 2021 be like for your business? Simply getting to the end of the year! Our executive team has been excellent at managing us through the pandemic, although we know it’s not over yet. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? A small, portable battery-powered internet radio receiver, not a phone app or DAB receiver, just internet radio. Then, I can listen to myself on the radio. Best thing(s) you watched this year? I really enjoyed Tales from the Loop on Amazon Prime earlier this year, the settings and graphics were great, and I loved Ford v Ferrari (also known as Le Mans ’66 in parts of Europe).
replacing personal meetings or interactions. We’ve realised how important hallway chats and coffee machine gossip are – the little things that cannot be covered by working remotely.
Broadcast Pix Graham Sharp CEO
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? Biggest lesson: you can’t plan for everything – over the last few years, businesses were expected to accurately forecast performance from quarter to quarter, but who could have foreseen the arrival and impact of Covid on most of our businesses? Life is like sailing – you know where you want to go, but you may have to zig-zag your way there. What was your proudest moment? The adaptability and resilience of our staff. We have managed to pivot our business to provide more streaming products, which has enabled us to maintain profitability and not have to lay anyone off.
business will have returned to some sort of normality by that time. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? I am not sure it is a single thing – what I would like is the tech industry to make products easier to use! In this work-from-home environment, we are all wasting huge amounts of time setting up technology: PCs and Macs, routers, cameras, multiple video conferencing systems, microphones and speakers – why aren’t they easy to install, configure and use? Not everyone is a network expert or PC expert! Best thing(s) you watched this year? The multiple funny kid/dog/cat/wife/grandma intrusions into business video conferences – hopefully, it is reminding us all that we are human and there is a life outside of business.
What will December 2021 be like for your business?
Hopefully a great year, as we have all learned how to live with the pandemic. There’s also the hope that
Never.no Scott Davies CEO
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? Prior to the pandemic, we travelled the world to do business, but we’ve realised that we can work remotely – and it works! There’s been a huge shift in mentally, which has enabled us to work, create new business, interact with staff and generally manage a business from the comfort of our home. Not only are we getting a work-life balance back, but we’re also seeing clients continue to produce captivating content, and it’s even delivered remotely! What was your proudest moment? It’s been a particularly proud moment to see the Never.no team working so hard throughout the year. We’ve innovated and functioned naturally, adapted to new workflows with ease and strived to support our clients and developed our content management platform Bee-On. Looking back over the year, we’ve worked with some of the biggest broadcasters and brands across the globe, including Sky Sports, SBS, Channel 10 and ITV, supporting audience engagement for shows, such as The Martin Lewis Money Show and a range of football projects for the Premier League and A-League football clubs. Plus, we’ve produced and delivered virtual music events, featuring cloud graphics, audience-generated content and real-time polls – safe to say, it’s been an action-packed year!
Iconik Mike Szumlinski CCO
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? I think the importance of agility has just been reinforced for me. This year has taught me that the unexpected is going to happen. That means if you can’t be dynamic in the way you work, you’ll have a hard time weathering storms. I’ve learned to design work with dynamic processes, so I can change in a moment, without breaking the core processes. What was your proudest moment? For me personally, I installed a retro arcade into my truck and I haven’t had to shave once this year. But the proudest moments came from seeing our team at Iconik help our customers adjust to remote working with video, when they didn’t have a choice. That, and the fact that our company has been able to care for our team and remain stable through all the uncertainty of 2020. What will December 2021 be like for your business? I really hope that we will be celebrating every major media outlet using Iconik to some degree. Iconik has been growing a lot in 2020. We know that maintaining the same rapid growth month after month with a high retention rate is more challenging as a company grows, but this is our main focus going into 2021. Personally, I believe we’re going to nail it! What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? I’d love to see a solid AI solution for rough cutting. There are some basic solutions available now, but none of them are really good enough. It’s a matter of time until AI can build an entire timeline, when given a description of what you want to achieve and a directory of media. That’s going to be a huge win for the industry.
What will December 2021 be like for your business? By December 2021, we hope to be past the pandemic and working within a new progressive and open-minded industry. As mentioned,
we’ve had to adapt in so many new and innovative ways and meet rapidly evolving trends, with media workflows, content creation and media consumption. We have exciting plans for our cloud-based content management platform, Bee-On, that will continue to support broadcasters, digital content providers and brands’ needs to enhance audience engagement like never before. The year 2020 was the catalyst for the adoption of cloud-based solutions, so we expect to see an almost fully virtualised and connected industry. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? Technology that enhances and delivers a more immersive, shared sporting experience with friends and family at home. Virtual headsets have been around for years, but I’d love the tech to evolve and be more wearable and lighter. We’d then see software and apps being developed to immerse family and friends into sporting situations. Imagine sitting in your living room, watching the Olympics and sharing that experience with your best mate, in the stadium, but on the other side of the world. Sports are a global phenomenon and should be shared together. Best thing(s) you watched this year? The Mandalorian . Although it came out in November 2019, I’ve since watched it again in preparation for Season 2!
What’s the best thing(s) you’ve seen this year? With people quarantining in place, the animals seem to be taking back territory and my dogs are having a hard time with this. One day, I was able to witness a deer jump into my yard where my dogs were and they just stared it with no idea what to do. That was pretty funny.
Soho Media Club Jaisica Lapsiwala Co-founder
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? The year 2020 has been a tremendous opportunity to slow down, pause and do some deep thinking about my life. Whether that’s my commitment to things I care deeply about, my core values, who I am as a person and how I want to live my life in the future. I am only halfway through my life and have a long way to go. So, it’s been a good time to reflect on what the plan is for the next 40 years! What was your proudest moment? Getting the kids through lockdown! But also, I launched a new podcast series called Naked Stories by Soho Media Club. It has been a year of talking more openly about prejudice and discrimation in the media industry. Through our anonymous interviews, which have been heart-wrenching and, at times, painful, we hope to close the empathy gap and positively change perceptions of minorities – including race, gender, sexuality, disability and so on. We are now waking up to the fact that representation, equality, diversity and inclusion matters. Not only does everyone have the right to be in the industry, but they can fly, regardless of what they look like, what their sexual preference is or what health challenges they face. What will December 2021 be like for your business? Freedom from Covid and a warm welcome back to in-person events. Soho Media Club has a festival to put on! God damn you, coronavirus! This time next year, we’ll hopefully be getting excited about having some face-to-face fun and we’ll be celebrating what Soho Media Club is all about: people. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? An event platform that has the viewer experience and broadcast quality of a TV show, the networking capabilities of a Soho bar and slick branding opportunities for sponsors. At the moment, we see a lot of platforms doing one or none of these things well and, in a world of Zoom fatigue, we now need a platform that raises the bar and offers something truly engaging for users. Best thing(s) you watched this year? Money Heist , for sure. I binge-watched this and fell in love with the characters, the music and el profesor! Also, there was Unorthodox and a Polish production called The Woods . The attached picture sums up 2020 – there’s the beautiful sun,
Telstra Anna Lockwood Head of global sales, Telstra Broadcast Services
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? Professionally, the media technology business landscape has changed more in one year than anyone could have predicted or expected, and these changes are here to
stay. We will have to continue to innovate and adapt as an industry to survive and thrive. Personally, I’ve learned how much being in nature helps, and have a renewed realisation that we need to protect wild places and work to rewild our precious planet. Broadcast Services this year with a great team and the best customers and community. Expanding our Telstra Global Media Network into China and India, two key countries for the media and sports business. And supporting live sports and esports broadcasts to continue around the world through a very challenging year. What was your proudest moment? I have to share three: celebrating five years of Telstra What will December 2021 be like for your business? The full return of live sports to our calendar and getting ready for a busy season of sport across the globe. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? I’m looking forward to more immersive and interactive sports and wildlife experiences through media technology in the future. Put me on the savannah in the middle of a wildebeest migration, underwater with a humpback whale pod or on a footy field with the Richmond Tigers! Best thing(s) you watched this year? David Attenborough in A Life on Our Planet and Greta Thunberg in I Am Greta . Everyone should watch these two films and listen to an elder of 94 and a young girl of 15, speaking to us from the bookends of life with powerful and wise voices.
rainbows in the sky, like in our children’s artwork for the NHS, walks in the countryside, clear skies and less pollution, as our habits changed.
Rohde & Schwarz Tim Felstead Director of strategic planning
Red Bee Media Margaret Davies Chief marketing officer
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? It’s a small world getting smaller and we’re all in this together! The other lesson is for business, ‘better change’ has a much greater and nuanced meaning now. What was your proudest moment? I made a lockdown choice between hunk, chunk, drunk or monk. I smashed my personal best running the hills around my home. Though, wine intake did rise slightly nonetheless. What will December 2021 be like for your business? A stable ‘new normal’ for our business activities and being able to look back on 2020 as an ‘annus horribilis’ for our industry friends, colleagues, partners and competitors.
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? The indomitable nature of the human spirit. It has been truly inspiring to witness the creativity and capability with which individuals and teams at Red Bee have pulled together, despite the stress and discomfort caused by the pandemic. It’s been tough for everyone, with challenging personal circumstances and new ways of collaborating. And yet, every day people showed up. Online from their homes or going into our critical operational centres, they all made the best out of the situation, always delivering on the commitments to our customers and to each other. What was your proudest moment? Seeing our new refreshed website go live in June. As the pandemic took hold in March, we were on the cusp of launching a refreshed look and feel for our brand. Our marketing team had to divert all our efforts to quickly pivot towards engaging with prospects and existing customers in an entirely digital format. We’d already begun working on our new website and transforming our digital marketing capabilities, but everything had to be accelerated at warp speed, as we sought to mitigate the impact of industry trade shows and conferences being cancelled. For a small marketing team – now working full-time at home, with young families and homeschooling to deal with – it was hard. The herculean efforts we went through to get the site live were phenomenal. A few months later, it is clear it was worth the effort, with increased web traffic and conversions to prove it. What will December 2021 be like for your business? We’ll be celebrating further milestones in our transformation journey, including migrating existing customers to our new platforms. We will be proud to see many more content owners reach local and global audiences through our OTT services. But most of all, we’ll be celebrating that we’ve achieved all this having kept our teams safe and well, working either at home or in our operations centres. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? An interpreter that knits together all the learnings and analytics from all the various parts of our marketing technology stack and tells me the story of audience engagement with the Red Bee brand overall. Marketers have to be super data savvy to make decisions. And without doubt, one of the biggest challenges is to aggregate all the data to form coherent conclusions. I’d love to see a tool that just makes it easier to piece together a complete image of our brand engagement.
What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? A universal, end-to-end, frame-based, metadata schema that we could agree on and stick with. Yeah, dream on! What were the best thing(s) you watched this year? The much needed return of live sport (rugby, in particular).
Atomos Jeromy Young CEO and founder
What was your biggest lesson in 2020? People continue to surprise me. No matter what the obstacles, an amazing, loyal team are more resilient and driven to succeed than you thought was possible. What was your proudest moment? Our entire team came together, despite the challenges of Covid, to launch six new products, enable ProRes Raw support for 11 new cameras and ship three new firmware updates for existing users. What will December 2021 be like for your business? Hopefully, we can see our home town, Melbourne, celebrating a ‘Covid-normal’ Christmas. What one piece of media tech do you wish someone would invent? Given Atomos is all about inventing the next thing, I probably better not say. My wish may come true in the coming months. Best thing(s) you watched this year? My Octopus Teacher on Netflix – it’s an amazing story of the healing power of nature with fantastic cinematography.
Best thing(s) you watched this year? The Mandalorian on Disney+.
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