Guest Comment: What is involved when NEP supports a host broadcaster?

Supporting a host broadcaster requires services, equipment and teams as unique as the events that are being produced, writes Brian Clark, sales director at NEP’s major projects group.

When NEP is trusted with the task, we draw on our experience earned from supporting hundreds of news, sporting, government and non-sporting events all over the world.

Brian Clark NEP major projects group, sales director

The first thing we emphasise to our teams has nothing to with kit, project management, workflows, or logistics. Instead, we start by focusing on delivering outstanding customer service, with a diverse group operating as one team, united and aligned toward achieving a common goal.

Events come in all sizes, in all corners of the world, with timelines that could best be described as ‘varied’. Satisfying the service needs for broadcasting teams that are operating within their own challenging constraints is a constant focus for any team supporting a host broadcaster.

We also look at how we can deliver that level of service to the other rights-holding broadcasters, especially on larger events, as the support team is not just working with the host broadcast organisation. Video and audio signals are going out to various broadcasters and multiple end clients, some of whom will be on-site, and some of whom will be thousands of miles and many time zones away.

To make sure everyone is able to deliver content up to their standards, we give great care and attention to our interactions with these other broadcasters and their myriad technical requirements.

NEP’s years of experience and geographic reach helps us not only to anticipate those service needs but to also bring the right resources to bear as challenges inevitably arise. For equipment and crew, this can result in hard cost savings in terms of freight and staff travel. Savings can also come from local knowledge of venues, regulations and language, allowing scarce resources to be allocated to content creation instead.

The next piece, and typically the most visible, is kit. Supporting host broadcasters requires abundant cutting-edge equipment, configured in ways that may not exist yet but may be needed for the delivery of that specific event. Those items could be the latest speciality cameras, the newest UHD/4K equipment, brilliant LED panels or maybe the tools and expertise required for complex live RF event coverage. Whatever the specific client and venue requirements, we work to provide them.

NEP supported the AELTC this year as its Wimbledon Broadcast Services brought the host broadcast production in-house for the first time

Beyond kit, the next piece of supporting host broadcasters these days is delivering expertise, services and products around content ingest, management and distribution. Whether it’s through NEP’s Mediabank or other Asset Management products, supporting the host broadcaster requires tools, engineering and workflows that allow content to be captured, tagged, and distributed to relevant media outlets quickly and consistently, ensuring the widest possible audience is able to enjoy the content on their relevant device at a timeframe that is convenient for them.

The final piece, and sometimes the most critical bit of support, is the overhead portion of the event, or what could be more creatively titled ‘everything else’. A host broadcaster may be involved in large-scale and multi-year project management, crewing, security, accreditation, facility planning and construction, electrical/utility setups, uplinks, contingency planning, logistics & shipping, sponsor support and service, technical planning, and engineering, just to name a few.

They need a partner who not only has deep experience in those areas but also has staff who get excited by the opportunity to play a part in delivering large, challenging, world-class events with competing priorities and personalities.

Host broadcasting is a complex task, but we endeavour to simplify as much as possible our clients delivery thanks to our extensive range of equipment, integrated services, our global reach that makes everywhere a local event, and the incredible depth of proven experience and knowledge from our accomplished worldwide team.

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