Exploring the future of media technology
Exploring the future of media technology
EDITOR IN CHIEF Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 email@example.com DIGITAL AND FEATURES EDITOR Verity Butler DEPUTY CHIEF SUB EDITOR Matthew Winney
SUB EDITORS Harriet Williams, Ben Gawne & Martin Puddifer
CONTRIBUTOR Sunil Mudholkar
SALES DIRECTOR Sam Scott-Smith +44 (0) 1223 499457 firstname.lastname@example.org
ep, everybody has a podcast. Or almost everybody – the people who don’t are almost certainly lying awake at night dreaming of the podcast they
Times are challenging out there for many – or most – people. And one thing we turn to in tough times is... fluffy animals. There’s a home for every possible niche in online video, but we’ve encountered a surge in channels showing off how to nurture our fellow creatures, with everything from pig farming tutorials to reptile care. For VOD Voices, we talk to creators of some seriously popular channels bringing animals relief – while lowering viewers’ stress levels. Our winter issue is always the time we ask our media industry friends what they have planned for the new year. Sometimes the future can seem uncertain, but having a vision and embracing the infinite possibilities ahead is good – not only for businesses, but for the welfare of those working in them. Here’s to the future!
SALES MANAGER Emma Stevens
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will soon be launching. But the reason this modern media sensation has become so popular is that it offers a perfect blend of quality, low cost and huge reach. Podcasts allow the immediacy of presence that video can offer, but without the extra tech and financial overhead. In this issue, we look at practical case studies, uncovering how professionals are producing podcasts for a variety of uses – and adding video on top. We talk to hosting platforms about what podcasters should look for in a host – and how to plan for the long-term future of their business.
DESIGN MANAGER Alan Gray DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings
PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck
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Audio. Control. Power.
FEED:SHOW Our rundown of the latest in media tech news and product releases
Our IBC Journal IBC was held in-person for the first time in two years at the RAI Amsterdam. FEED was there to report back IBC highlighted environmental concerns in a new way this year. We critique the green creds of industry trade shows
24 Trade Shows &Sustainability
PODCASTING 36 P odcast is Broadcast
Podcasting goes beyond audio now. With cheap and easy-to-use gear, the only limit is your imagination A Home for Your Podcast With so many hosts to choose between, the best strategy is to keep it simple
58 Masterclass – APAC
Our experts come together, giving insight into the biggest market in the world and its exciting media tech future Meet the YouTubers attracting massive, devoted followings around channels dedicated to animal care We sit down with Regina Bernhaupt, head of research for Ruwido and professor at Eindhoven University, about the future of the home TV experience
68 VOD Voices
80 Genius Interview
92 FEED:Xtreme – Masterclass
In this round table from FEED ’s sports magazine Xtreme , we talk to women in the sports media industry about their challenges – and the road ahead We think of gaming as a modern and freethinking form of media, but how well does it stack up when it comes to diversity and representation? If you have to produce sports content at a large scale, make sure you’re taking care of your editors 109 Industry Inventory – 2023 Resolutions We ask you about your plans and goals for the coming year. The consensus – provide customers with quality 118 BBC Centenary After 100 years in operation, the Beeb is still setting global standards for innovation and service 100 FEED:Xtreme – Just the Numbers 106 FEED:Xtreme – Content Production
31 Readmio 50 7th Minute
56 Hand 67
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT FROM OUR PARTNERS
28 Ateliere 57
52 Panasonic 66 Pebble 32 Sony 117 Starfish Technologies
51 Dejero 88 Grass Valley
76 Lawo 44 MPB
Catch up with fresh news in video workflow and distribution. Read on for the latest milestones,
mergers and much more
With innovation moving at pace, you need the low-down on the industry trailblazers making things happen! FEED – as always – has word on the top announcements TECHNOLOGY & DEPLOYMENTS
CATERING FOR NDI
LAB COATS AT THE READY!
A new update for Bridge Live c1.13.2 has been released by AJA, claiming to expand NDI capabilities. The update also introduces further performance enhancements for its multichannel UHD and HD live video solution, particularly for remote production, contribution, collaboration, streaming and delivery. “Bridge Live features enterprise-level processing power to support the most rigorous demands of live production and
critical streaming environments. To further simplify workflows and help teams deliver the highest-quality streams, Bridge Live v1.13.2 expands NDI capabilities for more flexible workflows,” shared Nick Rashby, president at AJA Video Systems. Expansions include support for NDI discovery servers and groups, 4K NDI output at 60fps, MBAFF H.264 interlace detection capabilities, and expanded NDI input support for over 100 sources.
New South Wales (NSW) Telco Authority has selected the NEC Corporation to build phase one of a 5G innovation lab as part of a new partnership. The lab will provide an environment where the NSW Telco Authority and public safety agencies can explore new technologies, prove interoperability and push the boundaries of mobile tech. “This first phase of the 5G innovation lab helps the NSW Telco Authority test the latest cloud-native core technology alongside Open RAN, explore cloud deployment options (to align with the NSW government‘s ‘public cloud first’ policy), build PSMB use cases and provide emergency services with the mobile broadband capacity to facilitate comms and better situational awareness,” said general manager of NEC’s 5G strategy and business, Naohisa Matsuda. Using AWS, the lab will offer immersive 5G testbed experiences in the cloud, enabling simple application building, rapid deployment, scalability, resilience and life cycle automation.
Cost-saving has never been more crucial, and so Ateliere’s recent launch of a free- to-use cloud storage savings calculator couldn’t have been better timed. It allows content creators to visualise the extent to which the deduplication of video files can save financially, in particular when using Ateliere’s proprietary deduplication technology. Many of today’s content creators produce multiple versions of media projects and titles to meet localisation, compliance and other distribution requirements. Storing duplicate media can account for additional terabytes of unnecessary cloud storage expense. SAVING FOR A RAINY DAY
US $ Costs with & without De-duplication
1,800,000 1,600,000 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 200,000
1. Cost with No De-Dupe 2. Cost with De-Dupe
S3 Glacier FR
S3 Glacier DA
Ateliere’s cloud-native media supply chain solutions have a deduplication feature that can reduce cloud storage for content creators by 70% or more, resulting in significant financial savings.
AMAGI COMES TO MARKETPLACE
Google Cloud Marketplace has added the cloud playout product Amagi Cloudport. “Amagi has been continuously innovative. Our partnership will allow the company to accelerate its solutions’
flexibility and efficiency, and help to achieve higher customer satisfaction,” said Kip Schauer, global head of media and entertainment partnerships at Google Cloud.
The partnership elevates Amagi’s SaaS offerings to its customers by combining the advantages of Amagi’s live and on- demand video infrastructure services with Google Cloud’s solutions.
COMMUNICATIONS IN THE NEWSROOM
INGESTING AND TRANSCODING
Cinegy recently announced that Turkey’s Haber Global had deployed Cinegy Capture Pro to create a future-proof acquisition and transcode workflow. As one of the country’s most watched news services, Haber Global is expanding the channels and live feeds it offers to meet growing demand for its content. The broadcaster’s new 24-channel Cinegy Capture Pro not only supports its current needs, but offers additional capacity to grow. Cinegy Capture Pro provides Haber Global with a simple- to-install ingest resource, with shared access for multiple users. The solution combines ingest and transcode functions in a single
CGI has integrated its OpenMedia end-to-end newsroom solution suite with Microsoft Teams, to elevate its offering as a unified communications platform for journalists and producers. Newsrooms can now address workflow challenges resulting from an increase in broadcasting channels – as well as remote newsgathering and production. CGI integrated Microsoft Teams’ chat and video conference features with its OpenMedia solution to streamline communications for journalists and producers. “News teams are more likely to be dispersed physically or working on multiple stories via multiple channels simultaneously,” he said. “This has been heightened by the events of the past two years, accelerating the need for a more flexible approach to broadcast news production. A reliable and unified communications platform has become a business imperative, and we believe the integration of CGI’s OpenMedia with Microsoft Teams will be a big step forward for news crews around the world,” said vice president for newsroom solutions at CGI, Michael Pfitzner.
system, simultaneously producing video files and web proxies in multiple formats ready for editing.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
SDMC and iWedia are collaborating on a 4K Android TV hybrid set-top box, which will deliver a complete set of live TV business solutions to the market. “SDMC is committed to giving customers the best product performance experience”, said Ryan Yan, senior VP of sales at SDMC. “We’re delighted to partner with iWedia, offering integrated and optimised end- to-end solutions for customers, delivering a great multimedia entertainment experience and promoting revenue growth for many brands.” The solution consists of a 4K Android TV hybrid set-top box by SDMC, which integrates with Google’s common broadcast stack, alongside a premium live TV app developed by iWedia.
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE?
Disguise recently demonstrated a definitive step into cloud with the launch of Disguise Cloud. A fresh suite of cloud-ready applications for the M&E industry, the platform is available on a free starter plan and is built to enable end-to-end remote collaboration across any M&E production. “Our goal is to simplify the creative process and allow artists to tell inspiring stories,” begins Niall Thompson, head of cloud solutions at Disguise. “After years of helping creatives leverage real-time concert visuals for artists like J Balvin and Guns N’ Roses, LED volumes for the biggest film and VFX studios, as well as live broadcast graphics on Eurosport, MTV and ITV, we know that ambitious productions are not possible without remote teams who can work together.” Whether it’s for video playback or a complex project with 3D files, Disguise Cloud will make collaboration easier, connecting remote clients to technical operators and directors on-set.
SYMPLY THE BEST TRANSPORTER
DataCore Software has announced a partnership with Symply, creating a brand-new, media-optimised and highly mobile on-set appliance. SymplyTransporter, powered by DataCore Perifery, is a highly scalable, flexible and secure object storage platform that allows for content capture, pre-processing, categorisation, searchability and seamless content integration. It also provides the movement of content to other archive systems or primary storage. Equipped with this appliance, users in the M&E industry can quickly and securely capture and transport content from the field and on-set locations to their in- house facilities.
Playbox Neo has been deployed by vertically integrated distributor of Spanish and English language pay- TV channels in the US, Olympusat. Its expanding programming rights and global distribution provide an original content library from West Palm Beach, serving multiple time zones over the US and Latin America. It has 26 servers with the latest-generation channel-in-a-box handling playout of 30 Full HD channels.
“We can play one channel in real time while delaying it for playout in eight time zones – all from one UI and server,” said Olympusat operations manager, Michael Kohl. “We don’t send a separate feed to
the time-delay box. We dial the delays we want onto the server’s interface. The stream delay function is built-in. It’s an easy, practical way to handle large-scale playout across different time zones.”
THAI TV REIMAGINED
Amarin TV 34 added a new HD playout system from Imagine Communications to its Bangkok HQ. Based on the ADC automation and Nexio+ AMP media server, the asset allows better efficiency and reliability, integrating new playout and asset management systems with previous server and distribution architecture. Amarin TV 34, a terrestrial Thai digital TV channel, has been on air since 2012. When its playout system became obsolete, it looked for content management and delivery systems, identifying Imagine as offering the best solutions for its needs. “We had a clear idea of what we needed to achieve with a new playout
automation network for our affairs today, as we develop our workflows – and as a building block to a file-based future,” said Cheewapat Nathalang, CTO of Amarin TV. Central to the new system is Imagine’s ADC automation; software that integrates with the Nexio+ AMP channel playout servers and Nexio Motion asset management software.
STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE
Harmonic added a new CableOS cloud-native core platform; the Pebble-2 distributed access architecture (DAA). Pebble-2 provides cable operators with a foundation for Remote PHY, Remote MAC- PHY (R-MACPHY), DOCSIS 4.0 frequency division duplex and full duplex DOCSIS deployments, setting new standards for space, power and cooling efficiency. “Our Pebble-2 device features an agile, modular and unified design that supports multiple DAA deployment scenarios, providing operators with a solution for sustainable broadband service expansion,” said senior VP and GM, broadband business at Harmonic, Nimrod Ben-Natan. “In the race to 10G, Pebble-2 is a solution bringing unparalleled flexibility and power efficiency to operators, and offering a growth path for the future.”
Digital Nirvana is a provider of media monitoring and metadata generation services. It recently announced that its SaaS-based tool, MetadataIQ, supports Avid CTMS APIs. Now it can be used to extract metadata directly from Media Composer or MediaCentral Cloud UX – instead of connecting with Avid Interplay first. This new capability will in turn help broadcast networks, production houses, sports organisations, houses of worship and other Avid users that do not have Interplay in their environments to benefit from MetadataIQ.
MAKE LIVE PORTABLE
Newsbridge is partnering up with iconic German football club, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, to deploy its media hub to access, store, manage and share its media assets – including a 20- year archive (consisting of approximately 3000 hours of video recordings). “The granularity of Newsbridge’s search engine is incredible as we bring 20 years of club archives to the cloud. The platform’s integration with Stats Perform lets us easily pinpoint, clip and collate specific player and match highlights, past and present, and share them with our fans and sponsors much faster. We’re pleased to be using Newsbridge for our cloud media hub,” stated head of content at Bayer Leverkusen, Jan-Philip Kirschke. Leverkusen will also use Newsbridge to ingest and auto-index future games, interview footage and live photos for its top-tier men’s and women’s teams, along with its U19 and U17 youth teams. INTEGRATING AND INDEXING News came from LiveU of the release of its new portable encoder, with new 4K and HEVC capabilities. The Solo Pro portable bonding encoder combines the 4K and HEVC to deliver high-quality video coverage, also combining six IP connections with four 4G/5G cellular modems – as well as Wi-Fi and LAN which leverages LiveU’s patented LRT (LiveU Reliable Transport). “Our goal was to deliver a cutting-edge product that will service all streaming needs for years to come, including 4K,
HEVC and extreme reliability. I firmly believe that our users will find the Solo Pro a future-proof investment for their workflow, providing peace of mind for live streams using proven broadcast-quality tech,” said Daniel Pisarski, LiveU CTO. On top of this, the new encoder can be used for virtually any kind of live event – indoors and out. Examples include corporate, entertainment, sports, government, religious and IRL streaming – as well as for content creators using Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and TikTok.
Japanese broadcast giant Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS) used TVU Networks’ TVU One live video system in Osaka for its video production. “We’ve been very impressed with the remote operation,” said an MBS spokesperson. “Our on-site camera crew turns the power on and the rest of the production is done from HQ. Reporters can transmit from anywhere – we don’t need them at a studio to deliver our coverage reliably. The quick start-up time, convenience and high-quality transmission were the decisive factors in our selection of the TVU ecosystem.” Deploying multiple TVU One mobile transmitters and transceivers for both live news and sports coverage, TVU was selected by MBS after a rigorously competitive process. TRANSMITTING FOR JAPAN
BRAZIL’S BROADBAND JUST GOT BETTER
News came from video streaming and ad tech supplier, Velocix, that Brazil’s third-largest broadband operator, Oi, chose its content delivery network (CDN) software to enhance its streaming platform architecture, as well as expand the Oi Play OTT service. Oi Play is an application that has become the central focus of the operator’s video growth strategy. The multiscreen offering features 70 live channels, restart TV and VOD content paired with an advanced user interface. Users in Brazil can access Oi Play with
smart TVs, Android TV streaming devices and mobile apps. To support robust market demand for Oi Play, the operator tapped Velocix to build out an open video network architecture featuring enhanced intermediate caching and twice the CDN throughput capacity.
BUSINESS & INDUSTRY Get your ear to the ground on mergers and acquisitions – plus steps taken to expand the virtual studio workforce and some top green credentials
AIMS FOR THE FUTURE
THE AMAZING SPIDERCAM!
A key update recently shook up the industry: the acquisition of Spidercam by Ross Video. Austria-based Spidercam is a global supplier of broadcast cable camera solutions, and made its television debut in 2005. It’s now the market leader in cutting-edge cable camera solutions used to create unique outdoor shots for sporting events, concerts, esports and TV shows around the globe. “Spidercam’s technology creates visuals that are simply spectacular, and we’re thrilled to integrate them into our production universe,” said CEO of Ross Video, David Ross. “We’re committed to continuing Spidercam’s excellent customer experience as a part of Ross, while offering more capabilities to even more customers. On a personal level, I just love cable cameras, they’re such an awe-inspiring and dramatic technology.” The Spidercam system is suspended on four cables with winches that navigate a camera dolly in 3D space utilising a stabilised head to provide HD or 4K video. System rentals include an accompanying technician, pilot and camera operator. The company recently launched a fixed mini solution for smaller production environments. “Becoming part of Ross Video is an incredible opportunity to unlock the potential of Spidercam,”
The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (Aims) has announced more membership access to individuals such as consultants, engineers and educators. This will include employees or proprietors who don’t formally represent a company within the media industry. This membership level is also open to students, researchers and anyone associated with an institution of higher education. “Aims Individual Membership expands access to the work we are doing to promote adoption of IP-based media workflows across broadcast and pro AV, giving us the benefit of more diverse participation and perspective,” said Aims board chairman, Steve Reynolds. “We look forward to welcoming individual members and to the valuable contributions they will bring in helping facilitate the shift toward standards-based IP media workflows.” Annual dues for an Aims Individual Membership are $175, and membership will be subject to approval by the Aims board of directors.
enthused Spidercam CEO, Herbert Neff. “We are looking forward to the benefits of integrating our camera systems and services into an innovative, end-to-end live production company. We have already been working together producing live augmented reality with the combination of ours and Ross’ technology – and there’s a lot more we’ll be able to do in the future. Our camera solutions extend the current robotic solutions from Ross Video by offering unique and creative images.” Notable Spidercam production work includes major international sports leagues and tournaments, award shows, entertainment events and esports competitions watched worldwide.
SPORT HAS A NEW SOUNDTRACK
Deezer continues to take leaps and strides into the livestreaming market, with a recent announcement unveiling a partnership between itself and Italian live sports platform DAZN. The newly formed alliance symbolises a conglomeration of music and sports that gives licence to DAZN subscribers to enjoy their favourite tracks, albums and playlists on Deezer, with hi-fi quality. DAZN will be deploying features like Songcatcher, lyrics
with translation and the Flow algorithm, plus personalised song recommendations that are adapted to their moods. “Building strong and ambitious partnerships is key to our success – and we’re excited to join forces with DAZN to begin expanding our market presence in Italy,” commented Charles Jaubert, VP partner strategy and business development at Deezer. “Music and sports create unique emotions and sincere
engagement for people every day, which makes DAZN and Deezer a perfect match.” On top of this, the collaboration will be enriched with special contents dedicated to sport and music – with new formats made available on the DAZN app. A six-month free trial of Deezer Premium is available to DAZN subscribers, from now until 31 January 2023. After this initial launch, other preferential offers will be put in place.
Dock10 is one of the UK’s leading television facilities. It recently announced the appointment of two junior virtual studio developers in a bid to tackle the skills shortage in virtual studio production. The move represents an extension of the facility’s in-house training scheme for TV studio craft talent, established back in 2020. “At Dock10, we’ve seen an explosion in demand from programme makers wanting to incorporate virtual elements in sports, entertainment, children’s and factual TV,” states head of production innovation at Dock10, Richard Wormwell. “But there’s a skills shortage in virtual studios in the UK. We recognise it is our responsibility to help grow the talent pool and invest in practical training.” Key advantages to the training programme include the potential for sustained, meaningful on-the-job experience, working on multiple different shows at the studio. SOLVING THE SKILLS SHORTAGE
Based in Bergen, Norway, Everviz offers cloud-native charts visualisation SaaS. It recently announced that Fonn Group had invested in the company, in a bid to add to its portfolio of cloud-native production and journalistic tools designed to overcome M&E industry challenges. “Everviz has seen strong organic growth over the last few years, and we believe Fonn Group’s investment will benefit our customers by allowing us to scale our product development to another level, launching new killer features,” described Everviz co-founder and CEO Håvard Tveit. Everviz’s solution allows users to create and publish charts, maps, tables and layouts onto multiple platforms from just one user interface – all in a web browser application.
STRIDES IN SUSTAINABILITY
EVS has been awarded a silver medal for its sustainability performance from Ecovadis, the world’s biggest provider of business sustainability ratings. The Ecovadis sustainability assessment evaluates how well a company has integrated the principles of sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) into its business and management system. Its methodology covers seven management indicators across 21 sustainability criteria in four themes: environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. Driven by the vision that ‘sustainability is not what we should do, sustainability is what we need to be,’ EVS has been focused on delivering
HANDING OVER THE VP BATON
A school in Kokkola, Finland called the Kpedu Media School recently invested in a virtual studio infrastructure to lead the education of new broadcast and media talents – in that region and beyond. An increasing trend among academic institutions, the main goal in equipping the school with a virtual studio environment was to provide students with cutting-edge technology at the forefront of the media industry. That decision in turn was part of a larger development programme designed to boost the community and economy. Because of that programme, Broadcast Solutions Nordic has designed and delivered a 50 sq m
virtual set covered by four PTZ cameras all mounted on
robotic systems by Technopoint. Virtual production itself runs with Zero Density’s real-time broadcast compositing system Reality Engine, which leverages Reality Engine Ampere workstations. Part of the EU-funded project’s goal is to use the set for product presentations and workshops with nearby companies to support the local business community. After the system was fully implemented, broadcast solutions engineers trained the Kpedu staff and students to work independently and thus become self-reliant with the technology.
a truly positive impact for environmental and social concerns for many years.
WAVE GOODBYE TO LOW QUALITY
Imax has acquired Ssimwave, a provider of AI-driven, video- quality solutions for M&E companies. The move marks an expansion of Imax’s strategy to deliver the highest-quality video on any screen – driving new, repeat revenue and growing global leadership in entertainment tech. Through its patented technology, Ontario-based Ssimwave enables streaming and broadcast providers to deliver the best possible image on any device for on-demand and live video. “Ssimwave does revolutionary work at the intersection of human visual perception and image enhancement. Putting the power of our global brand behind its award-winning team and product suite, Imax takes a big step toward a new horizon in our ability to deliver the best images for any creator, on every screen,” said Richard Gelfond, CEO of Imax.
STAYING IN SYNC
A new strategic collaboration has been formed between ‘in-video intelligence’ service provider Synchronized and enterprise software platform Whip Media. Synchronized’s AI-driven products, such as smart thumbnails and smart preview, allow users to generate artwork and accelerate the selling and buying of content. “In today’s media landscape, companies need high-quality in-video metadata as they license their content globally. Synchronized is a recognised leader in providing this, to enable creators, rights owners and distributors to more strategically distribute and sell their content,” commented Alisa Joseph, SVP strategy and business development at Whip Media.
TIKTOK TOPS THE CHARTS
It comes as little surprise that video-sharing platform TikTok now ranks among the social media apps generating the highest revenue, and is one of the highest-grossing apps of all time. Data compiled by Finbold indicated that in September 2022, TikTok generated $2.5m daily on Android and iPhone devices. That value translates to approximately $104,000 an hour. It recorded the highest revenue among social media platforms, with the value for Google Play standing at $35.14m. On the Apple Store, TikTok’s revenue reached $40.66m. The colossal success has pushed other social media companies to emulate it by cloning popular TikTok features.
To maximise revenue, you need to be ready to manage every type of channel
he differences between traditional linear channels and digital-first services are narrowing. Audiences want the premium values of linear, with the ability to
AVIATOR – A SOLUTION FOR CONVERGED TV
Live broadcast (Traditional linear)
Aerial / terrestrial
view content when and where they like; the two are starting to converge. This has implications in three areas. First, in business. Today, 70% of revenues – subscriptions and advertising – are spent in linear television. Forecasts suggest that by the end of this decade, the split will be 50/50, but only because the total addressable market will grow. Linear television revenues are eroding very slowly, remaining almost flat, while digital services are expected to grow at a pace of 15% annually. The second consideration is technology, where the direction of change is toward common standards, video over IP, data-driven decision engines – or the cloud for elastic deployments. That translates into services like dynamic ad insertion, providing a more targeted offering. Content owners want to give a personalised experience to their viewers and guarantee loyalty. Finally, operations are affected. Media businesses recognise that audiences are fragmented and their viewing habits unpredictable. The natural choice is to have a unified platform that can reach out to all of
Cable / satellite / fibre
OTT (Streaming & VOD)
Laptop / desktop / smartphone / tablet
Smart TV Connected device Gaming console
Connected TV (CTV)
Make TV allows production of sophisticated linear channels across all platforms and device types from a unified origination system. The software allows channels to be established and populated at lightning speed, so new FAST channels can slot into market opportunities, or pop-up channels can serve immediate needs. Monetize TV combines cross- platform campaign management and sales with ad placement and ad serving in a single intelligent system. It ensures campaign targets are achieved with optimum use of advert inventory across all outputs, ensuring maximum revenue opportunities. With this combination of features, Aviator answers the challenges of convergence – supplying powerful, intuitive tools to increase revenue, while providing superior viewing and advertiser experiences respectively to both brands and audiences. For more information, please visit: myimagine.tech/aviator-plan- make-monetize
them. The current silos for both digital and linear look increasingly outdated. Enter Imagine Aviator, an origination and monetisation platform introduced by Imagine Communications. Aviator is a cloud-native system providing all the functionality needed by broadcasters, MVPDs and digital-first providers to plan, make and monetise their offerings – delivering multiplatform, premium video services from a single system. Aviator brings Imagine’s experience in channel playout, campaign and content management, plus advertising sales all together in an end-to-end offering. The software is modular, allowing users to build the exact functionality they need, and facilitates integration with third-party systems. Aviator can be divided into three key pillars: Plan TV, Make TV and Monetize TV. Plan TV allows media companies to manage rights and schedule channels, including controlling the many variants needed for different delivery formats, as well as regional and localised services. Programme content, commercials and station branding are combined into a single, frame-accurate playlist.
MODERN PROBLEMS Convergence of television requires integrated solutions
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Attracting over 37,000 visitors from 170 countries and presenting 250-plus speakers – all alongside more than 1000 exhibitors – IBC made its return to Amsterdam a triumphant one
Words by Verity Butler
e feel safe in saying that the Dutch show’s big comeback this year serves as a striking
wanted to harvest from this year’s crop the latest trends swirling to the top of the industry’s agenda. For us, there were three clear topics on everybody’s mind: for essentially having to do as little as possible has inarguably grown. With that comes the resulting product releases and software updates. 2. Personalisation: The cries for as personalised a viewing experience as possible are getting louder. This theme particularly centres on the smattering of ad-insertion technologies that felt strongly present in practically every hall. be repetitive here at FEED . However, once again, the cloud was the resounding word on everyone’s lips. 3. The cloud: We hate to 1. Automation: The demand Here’s an overview of the technologies that support the above claims, as well as those who we felt stood out at IBC 2022.
statement to all. Trade shows are back, and they are here to stay. Previous figures from the show do, however, speak of another story: a sizeable decrease, with 2019’s data proclaiming a record-breaking total attendance of 56,390 in comparison to this year’s 37,071. Is this due to this year’s show being the first post-pandemic? Most likely. Is it also to do with a shift in the way our industry ticks? Without a doubt. However, was it perhaps a snub to the show’s haphazard display of organisation at the end of 2021? These questions can only truly be answered when we have future attendance statistics. In any case, a small fraction of this year’s attendees can be accredited to the FEED and Xtreme teams. When we weren’t chillaxing at the RAI’s sandy beach bar, we were out on the show floor in full force; ready to meet as many exhibitors as possible. We
‘Simplifying workflows’ – how many times have we heard that phrase in the past few years? The reality is: less is more, which is a truth that technology providers and
broadcast networks picked up on quite some time ago. This is plain to see, from the reams of MAMs, AI technologies and media
workflows gushing into the broadcast space. Particularly post-pandemic, automation has never been more crucial for all of us.
An interesting company we encountered was Ssimwave. Perhaps just as noteworthy as their exhibition was the announcement that came after the show, revealing Imax’s acquirement of the firm. Having already partnered up with Disney, Paramount Global and Warner Bros, it serves as a bold statement from Imax; formally emphasising the official dipping of its toes into streaming waters. So, what is Ssimwave, and how does it link to the topic of automation? Its technology enables streaming and broadcast providers to achieve the highest possible image quality on any device for on-demand and live video. Its Ssimplus VOD monitor product on show at IBC helps streaming services to scale and automate quality validation in their workflows.
DIVINE DUBBING It was also exciting linking up with a start-up featured in our autumn 2022 issue, Papercup. Its AI-powered solution transforms dubbing
into a scalable translation option, with synthetic voices that sound genuinely human – and a team of translators that check every word.
Brainstorm was proud to present the most recent developments in its extensive product range at this year’s show, unveiling both Suite 5.1 and Suite 5.2 – the latest versions of the flagship InfinitySet, Aston and eStudio. Edison 5.1 was also on display – the new version of its applications for immersive, live presentations, deployed as a simple-to- use virtual studio in a box. On its booth, the company offered a live XR theatre demo with LED screen manufacturer Alfalite.
THE FUTURE WORKFORCE
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It’s always energising to see key industry players taking an active step in the facilitation of the production industry’s future. Zero Density was keen to share the success of its online learning portal, launched earlier this year. Featuring over 50 in-depth video lessons, Zero Density Academy enables broadcasters to learn future-proof skills and earn a globally recognised certification – all available for free. Pixotope is striving for the same, with the launch of its education programme (PEP) for virtual production students. Developed as a response to the limited talent pool, the PEP provides access to software and tools that drive virtual production – while connecting educators to experts from the global Pixotope community.
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THE BIG BLU
We also got to catch up with FEED Genius Interview alumna, Paulette Pantoja of Blu Digital Group. With its media workflow software and media services team, it allows networks to focus on distributing great film and television stories. It prides itself on being hassle-free, asking customers to kiss goodbye to using Excel, email and the telephone to manage projects – instead using its proprietary, cloud-based suite of enterprise applications for a better, more agile distributed workforce.
Dalet’s Flex solution is an industry classic when it comes to automation and organisation. It divides neatly into Flex for teams and Flex for enterprises. The former is where the SaaS offering democratises key media logistics use cases – such as library management and multiplatform distribution – through affordable, pre- configured workflows. The latter is where the platform powers the entire content supply chain through custom options that fit the specific needs of customers. To use Dalet’s simple but punchy slogan: less work, more flow.
TERRIFIC TAGGREGATION Tag Video Systems was proudly showcasing its award-winning Media Control System (MCS). The MCS serves as an aggregation engine, system manager and orchestrator for data collected
by Tag’s multichannel monitoring solutions. Using an open-source paradigm, the MCS exposes every piece of probed and monitored data to third-party analytic and visualisation applications.
The ability to aggregate demographic data at practically the push of a button is a must for any network or OTT service provider. The industry has quickly learned
the power of data such as location, watch patterns, gender, age and more. Some have coined the phrase ‘hyper- personalisation’ in response to the eruptive
nature of the product releases, solutions, and upgrades – and many of these were prominently showcased at this year’s IBC. Here are some we found…
THINKING OF THE END USER
A standout contributor to the buzz surrounding personalisation was Ateme. Its dynamic ad insertion solution for OTT adds precisely targeted ads in OTT ABR streams for live, VOD and DVR streaming. Broadcasters and service providers can target based on a variety of criteria. This includes regional, per device, time of day – or even household. Its product portfolio includes Video Content Delivery and Analytics & Orchestration.
Partnering up with Ateme on targeted ad-insertion, as well as building personal live channels, Viaccess-Orca (VO) has been making waves in the personalisation space. Its offerings are wide, having been a leading global solutions provider of OTT and TV, content protection and advanced data solutions for more than 22 years. VO was excited to share with us that it had partnered with Sofast to provide pre-monetised FAST channels and AVOD content.
Based on the SaaS approach, the solution ensures seamless integration of Sofast content into VO’s ecosystem, which allows for quick, flexible deployment. VO has also recently worked with Orange France, with the provider using its secure video player. The player is deployed on smart TVs and mobile/tablet applications, which in turn enables Orange France to gain deeper insight into how millions of end users experience video streaming quality in real time.
FEEL THE MUSIC
FEED also managed to have a brief catch-up with the Deezer team. In case you aren’t already aware (note the sarcasm), Deezer is a music streaming app that gives you unbridled access to over 90 million tracks and other audio content including podcasts. What was Deezer doing at IBC, you may ask? Well, it turns out that it wanted to share news of the launch of its RTL+ music app in Germany – a product of its recent partnership with network giant RTL. Germany will now have access to the aforementioned 90 million tracks, over 5000 curated playlists and a user-friendly interface with key music streaming features. The music streaming service is a critical component in the expansion of RTL+ into a cross-media entertainment product.
Broadpeak was also ready to throw its own dynamic ad insertion as a service software hat into the ring. “Broadpeak.io is the first self-serve software solution to offer DAIaaS that’s agnostic to the different components of the video delivery chain,” noted cloud platform vice president at Broadpeak, Mathias Guille. “This reduces the complexity typically associated with end-to-end advertising ecosystems and speeds up the monetisation of advanced OTT services.” Ultimately, Broadpeak’s DAIaaS enables streaming providers to immediately and fully leverage the monetisation potential of linear and asset catalogue ad inventory.
LTN’s latest addition to its ecosystem, LTN Arc, is also a key solution contributing to the industry-wide focus on personalisation. It is a fully managed production service, that simplifies live event versioning at scale for digital audiences. This in turn enables rights holders to repurpose and decorate centralised feeds into customised streams for global cross-platform distribution. DEFINING THE ARC
Last, but by no means least, we got chatting to the team at the Imagine Communications booth. They shared the latest behind Imagine’s Surefire, its video ad server that acts as an ad decisioning solution for OTT. Surefire leverages common broadcast rules and audience data across VOD and addressable linear platforms. On top of this, it also enhances and expands the digital monetisation service, providing cross-platform ad sales, traffic and billing – in turn maximising revenue and controlling quality. WILD IMAGINATION
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You are now arriving at your final destination: the cloud. Find your safety exits here, here and… oh wait, there are none. Everything loops back to the cloud.
Cloud adoption is well and truly a must for any broadcast provider that wants its technology to stay both functional and relevant going forward. In an already
highly saturated market, it’s often tough to navigate the sprawling array of options and approaches. Here’s a sample of what we found…
WORK EVERYWHERE Founded in 2004, Editshare builds network-shared storage and media management solutions – which then power workflows for the media and entertainment industry. The key message the team wanted to convey was just how much this solution can boost your production by working in the cloud. Its products allow for efficient remote, on-premises and post- production scenarios. Central to this is the ability to use Editshare storage spaces and Flow tools, to synchronise popular NLE platforms. The latest release of core Flow software allows complex
RALLYING THE TROOPS Forming a major subset of the cloud are the asset management systems that can sit within it. For example, SDVI Rally – on show at IBC – brings together tools and infrastructure needed to prepare content for distribution. This lets operators manage the whole system, rather than a collection of parts. Rally-managed supply chains can crucially be deployed on- premises, or in the public cloud – unlocking the capacity to seamlessly scale productions.
projects to be transported between Editshare media management and whichever edit environment the creative team use. In its IBC showcase, we found the latest suite of Editshare Flex software solutions. These are for out-of-the-box cloud and hybrid workflows, accommodating a ‘work everywhere’ environment. “The post industry is changing, in part reflecting the shifts enforced by the pandemic, and in part because creative talent is looking to shift the work-life balance,” reflected chief revenue officer for Editshare, Said Bacho.
There has been a running commentary for a long time over the very evident lack of diversity in the broadcast media and technology spaces. Trade shows are no exception – and unfortunately this commentary was more than present post-IBC. Yes, women were undoubtedly there – myself included – and it was clear that the IBC conference sessions made great strides in bringing female panellists on board. But it’s not enough. I encountered one comment about how, at IBC, you never had to queue for the women’s toilets as they were always utterly deserted. For an event with almost 40,000 people present, the empty cubicles were a symbol of how far we have to go. And there is little one can say about one exhibitor’s ill-judged decision to decorate its booth with provocatively dressed women – other than ‘Wow... who thought that was a good idea?’ I have seen responding comments about how actions are being taken, the wonderful organisation Rise being a prime example of this, and that you can’t expect a fully diverse workforce to appear with the wave of a magical woke wand. There is also the suggestion that, as exhibitors send smaller teams, the ones that go are a handful of higher-ups, who are often men. Sure, these comments make sense, but they don’t deal with the issue. There is always more that can be done, until that day when every single female and disabled toilet cubicle of the RAI is filled.
THE TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN It’s difficult to get around the influence of AWS when it comes to any discussion of media cloud services. It was rare to have any conversations with exhibitors without the mention of the almighty three-letter combination. It’s hardly surprising, being as it holds roughly 41.5% of the cloud computing market. For context, Microsoft Azure holds 29.4% and Google Cloud a meagre 3%. At IBC, AWS had four key demo stations taking place at its booth:
• Content production • Broadcast
• Direct-to-consumer & streaming • Media supply chain & archive
AWS simplifies how content creators, rights holders, producers, broadcasters and distributors use the cloud to build, deploy and reinvent media workloads, making it easier to select the right tools and achieve faster time to value.
Words by Neal Romanek
There are still changes to make and not much time in which to make them, but the media industry is finally beginning to take sustainability seriously
’m not saying the sustainability gods were literally present in Amsterdam this year, but I do want to point out that those of us who travelled to the show
IBC said: “IBC will continue to push for assurance that the quality of service will be improved dramatically before IBC2023.” On the show floor, the majority of companies, when asked, said that sustainability was becoming increasingly important to them and their customers. But what became clear after a few of these conversations was the reluctance to talk about the climate emergency as an actual emergency. Whether you’re a manufacturer, service provider, politician, the CEO of Schiphol Airport – or even a media industry publication – it’s hard to accept that the future will be very different from the past. And harder still to talk about it. However, the climate crisis is very real, and it’s going to have a very real effect on the media tech industry and
by Eurostar enjoyed a cushy, wallet- friendly journey. By contrast, those who travelled by air had to queue for hours – and hours and hours – to the point that they missed their flights. IBC managed to extract an apology from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which was posted on the IBC website: “As a national and international airport, Schiphol must return to the level of quality that passengers and airlines are accustomed to. The current CEO of Royal Schiphol Group and the supervisory board acknowledge this and a successor is now being sought for the current CEO, who has today stepped down from his position.”
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THERE’S RELUCTANCE TO TALK ABOUT THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY AS AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE IN TECH – IBC2022
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