FutureSPORT 2019: DAZN and NEP discuss how new technologies offer new flexibility for sports production
What happens when DAZN, a globally produced and distributed OTT sports streaming service, taps into NEP Group, a globally distributed production services company? That was the subject of discussion at the SVG Europe FutureSPORT 2019 conference at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium.
Claire Da Silva, DAZN VP production operations, said DAZN has a global production operating model that focuses on being agile and scaleable in order to most efficiently create localised content. And as NEP continues to embrace concepts like data centres and remotely connected control rooms it gives DAZN the flexibility it needs.
“Speed to market is important to us and we have grown,” she explained. “Utilisation is key as we want to use production services anytime and anywhere.”
Given that DAZN’s workforce is located around the globe, one of the challenges is figuring out how to maximise their output. That means making sure there is as little duplication on things like cutting highlights or press conferences.
“Each team is focused on new and unique content rather than having the same people cutting the same content across the globe,” said Da Silva.
DAZN is an example of a company born out during a transformational moment in the industry. As such they can create fluid content creation and delivery frameworks and work outside of the normal, controlled broadcast environment.
“It is huge to be outside of that as there are cost savings and it has been surprising how quickly the production and talent has adopted the remote workflows,” said Da Silva. “We have great production ambassadors and they see the benefits.”
“A lot of our production workflows are supported by technology instead of limited by physical infrastructure.”
James Pearce, DAZN, head of global engineering, said that NEP’s hub in Hilversum, Netherlands is where the majority of DAZN services are running from. Also contributing is NEP’s Andrews Hub in Australia and a new hub in Washington, DC, will also play a part. IP networking is an important part of a process which is looking to run on virtualised platforms.
“A lot of our production workflows are supported by technology instead of limited by a physical infrastructure,” he said. “NEP allows for things like multiple audio tracks and multiple regions to be served without having to be localised to just one place. And we don’t know much in advance what we need to do so we can do frame rate conversion a couple of days before and then spin it up as playout.”
Also driving the efforts is a DAZN production facility in Madrid that opened in the summer has multi-purpose production suites that can handle everything from editing to commentary and then scale up with flypacks when needed.
“Flexibility is the key as we can hit concurrencies of 23 event parts in one night and even have up to seven commentaries being done from the announcers houses,” said Pearce.
Daragh Bass, NEP Media Solutions, head of sales, said a dynamic media environment reflects changing consumption habits and puts pressure on everyone (and all facilities) to be more agile, create more content in less time, and remain within tightening budgets.
“Margins are getting tighter and tighter, so utilisation is a key point,” he said. By leveraging IT technologies to effectively extend a home production facility out to the remote site resources that may not be available in the OB unit on site can be dynamically added to the production.
“With huge rights deals driving growth the resources around an event can be added around it and then release it back into the pool,” said Bass.
Trucks, he added, will be rolling for a long time and facilities like NEP’s iOB unit gives producers and directors a chance to smell the grass and be on site. And NEP’s Mediabank facility is home to the DAZN asset management and archive.
FutureSPORT 2019 took place on 26 November at Stamford Bridge in London