Guest Comment: Nevion, live broadcasting and the remote production revolution
At a time when OTT and VOD services are threatening to draw audiences away from linear television, broadcasters need to deliver even more compelling television, writes Nevion CEO Geir Bryn-Jensen. Nothing captivates audiences more than a live sporting event, where anything can happen and where audiences can join in a live digital conversation online. This kind of television programming is a powerful asset for broadcasters.
That said, the cost of production of live sports programming is extensive and can become prohibitively expensive – especially when the event takes place at a stadium or a specially-built facility miles away from a broadcaster’s home production base. As production values have continued to rise, so have costs.
The Winter Olympics in Sochi was a perfect example of an event that drew huge audiences, but the cost of which was great. Many individual events took place at the same time and at different venues which added expense both for additional crews and physical equipment. Shipping bulky equipment to locations is costly and while equipment is being transported, it can’t be used. This low utilisation of kit results in a much longer return on investment.
The costs involved in live production has even led to some smaller and more niche sports not seeing air time. Broadcasters view these events as lower value and can’t justify the production costs involved. Now, however, there are solutions available which can address the costs and complexity of live production, to ensure that the coverage costs don’t outweigh the benefits of production. Remote production infrastructures allow broadcasters to put operations back into a broadcasters’ production base. Remote production is now a practical, deliverable and proven proposition for broadcasters. This ‘remote revolution’ has been enabled by the ability to reliably transport multiple signals at once. This transport can take place either via dark cable or over IP which enable the carriage of signals with high security and low, predictable latency.
Recent technology advancements from Nevion, such as media gateways and advanced monitoring and management solutions, make IP highly reliable for real-time distribution of broadcast-quality content.
From easy-to-install ‘plug and play’ solutions featuring small form factors and low-resource remote production to end-to-end solutions encompassing multiplexing, intelligent switching and a high degree of interoperability, advanced technologies and streamlined solutions are enabling improved quality, greater efficiency, and far-reaching live broadcasts.
This kind of streamlined and integrated workflow delivers multiple benefits. An efficient remote production infrastructure requires less equipment that must be transported to a venue, therefore dramatically decreasing transportation and shipping costs.
This migration of operations also means many members of the production team can work from the broadcaster’s base. In addition to saving costs, entire production teams can now work from suites set up to their preferences in their regular offices. Working in a familiar environment can mean increased productivity and consistency, among other benefits.
Remote production that utilises dark fibre or IP networks enables faster delivery of live sports at a lower cost. This capability in today’s budget-restrictive and speed-conscious environment is tremendously beneficial, opening doors to new types of sport and helping broadcasters realise more revenue in their sports coverage.