IBC 2019 Reflections: Tata’s Brian Morris on giving valued exposure to lower-scale productions
Sports that reside on the fringes of the production spectrum rarely get viewers from outside the venue. Nowadays, these niche sports can gain exposure and impact with viewers, via continuing efforts in remote home production.
At the SVG Europe Sport Production Summit in Amsterdam last month we sat down with Brian Morris, vice president and general manager of global media and entertainment services for Tata Communications, to discuss new trends in sports contribution and distribution as evidenced by the IBC show. We began by asking what’s new from Tata at the show?
Brian Morris: “The first thing is our low latency network. We have about the lowest latency network on the globe right now, and it’s interconnecting many sports properties around the world.
“We were doing maybe 500 events per year three years ago; now we’re doing just sub 6000 events a year right now. So it’s growing and it’s enhancing the capabilities of the sports industry.
“The other important thing we’re bringing along is remote production. We’ve got remote production instances in place throughout India, Europe and North America now.
“Some of the big ones we can point out are the Cricket World Cup that took place in the UK this summer, across about 40 days. All of that content was picked up in London and brought to Mumbai, and all the post production work was done in Mumbai.
“No people were sent to the events; all of it was done remotely. It helps efficiency, it helps cost and, believe it or not, it even helps quality.
“We’re doing the same thing with MotoGP: they’re bringing I would say 30-40% of the work that used to be done on the track back to their hub in Barcelona, over that same low latency network.
“You can look at ESL leagues in North America: we’re doing almost 1,000 events that really couldn’t be done cost-effectively in the past. But with remote production the cost of actually creating that content comes down dramatically.
“The other thing that we’re also bringing in is production-type capabilities in the cloud – the ability to edit, create short vignettes, the ability to post content in a cloud-based environment from your hotel room or your office, or from anywhere.”
What about growth trends in live sports production, especially in Europe. What are you seeing in the marketplace at the moment?
“The thing I’d like to mention that is very different to two or three years ago is the ability to do remote production. This is helping the big guys bring their cost down.
“It’s also helping the people who couldn’t afford to do their content to be able to do it in a cost-effective manner and get that content out to viewers. We have multiple properties we’re working with right now where the business model in the past would not have been cost-effective.
“We’ve seen about 11x growth in our sports properties over the past three years. It’s growing quite dramatically. The ability to do remote production over low latency networks is actually helping to increase the size of the sports market.
“For us, IBC is an aggregation point. We get to see existing customers – I’d like to call them friends – and we get to see new customers. We have an environment where we can show our wares – what our networks do, low latency, OTT environments, and the remote production tools are high on the priority list this year,” said Morris.