Inside Dyn Media and NEP Germany’s hybrid production operation

Since August 2023, NEP Germany has been providing production support for the sports streaming service Dyn Media. Zlatan Gavran, managing director, NEP Germany, and Andreas Heyden, chief executive, Dyn Media, spoke with SVG Europe about the collaboration and its positive implications for sports enthusiasts in Germany.

Germany boasts a vast market for sports like handball, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, and hockey, with an estimated 23 million enthusiasts. However, the absence of quality streaming services has long frustrated fans. Recognising this potential gap in the market, former DFL boss Christian Seifert created the streaming platform Dyn in 2023 to service coverage dedicated to these underserved sports.

“I stopped looking at games for quality purposes in November. Now, I just watch games for pleasure. And as a fan of these sports, it’s fantastic to see the end product”

Providing professional coverage – both main leagues and lower leagues – at a highly competitive €14.50 per month for the end consumer, Dyn’s recipe has already proved to be successful with 1700 matches broadcast since beginning operations last summer.

At the heart of this endeavour is NEP’s innovative production strategy. Drawing on both remote and decentralised approaches, Dyn has been able to provide groundbreaking sports coverage for a mixture of different tiers of sports and matches.

Hybrid production
Both Gavran and Heyden agree on the term ‘hybrid production’ to describe NEP’s approach. Giving NEP remote production capabilities are six mobile production units dubbed ‘venue kits’. Each converted VW Crafter has a core rack in a flight case with three stage boxes, connected over fibre. Typically, six cameras plus minicams feed into the core rack, along with microphones and other audio sources, all using SMPTE ST 2110 standard equipment.

These kits, compact and versatile, enable seamless coverage across various locations, with signals routed to NEP Germany’s Munich and Cologne headquarters for centralised management.

NEP’s proprietary broadcast control platform, TFC, is used at both facilities and within the venues to make setup, use and management of the 2110 infrastructure faster and more intuitive. Gavran says TFC and NEP’s global experience deploying it is the key to the successful launch of Dyn Media’s hybrid production solution in less than 10 months.

Converted VW Crafters with a core rack in a flight case with three stage boxes

“If you are coming from a conventional broadcast infrastructure and moving to an IP network, TFC guides that transition,” Gavran says. “If you are having a traditional EIC (engineer in charge) operate a network, you need to have something in between, and that’s TFC.”
Traditionally, numerous OB vans parked outside the sporting venue would take care of production, NEPs flexible strategy allows all direct video signals to be distributed, produced and edited remotely.

In practice, this approach allows for a match to be covered in Hamburg, with all signals being sent to the production room in Munich, with the commentator sitting in Cologne. Having such a hybrid approach allows the team at NEP to radically rethink the traditional approach of live sports production, opening the door for providing more coverage of lower tier sports events.

Elevating lower tier sports
Whereas previously it may not have made financial or logistical sense to send several OB vans to cover and produce a lower tier sporting event in a remote part of Germany, NEPs hybrid approach makes covering even the most remote matches possible – with the same production treatment as higher tier games.

Heyden was also keen to underline the fact that the remote venue kits enable the coverage of different events simultaneously. As a result, Dyn has the ability to cover and stream a number of lower tier and main league events on the same day – an approach which it is hoped will attract new audiences to the diverse world of sports in Germany.

Shift in work culture
The partnership between Dyn and NEP is also unique for its active embrace of remote working habits. Although the topic is still potentially controversial in an industry where being present at a venue can be at the heart of coverage, Dyn and NEP made it their mission to have an inclusive hybrid work culture integrated into the ethos of their collaboration.

Responding to evolving work culture dynamics, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, NEP’s embrace of remote work preferences, facilitated by mobile units, anticipates a growing desire for flexibility among younger generations to work in a decentralised manner.

Gavran says: “We knew we needed to change something in our approach after Covid, because it was clear that people don’t want to travel thousands of kilometres anymore – especially when the technology is there to be doing it remotely,” comments Gavran.

“Working around our two production hubs in Munich and Cologne, we’ve found no problem in attracting great talent who are appreciative of our model.”

And while Gavran and Heyden both agree that the magic of producing on site will inevitably attract production staff during key matches and headline tournaments, their remote production model goes hand in hand with the desire to cover all kinds of matches nationwide.

Gavran adds: “The way people want to work will be a differentiator for the company that we are building.”

Reducing carbon footprint
Building the Dyn platform from scratch allowed Heyden and his team to develop a platform based upon a set of ideal principles. Aside from adapting to the shift in attitude to remote working, notably, sustainability was one of the key cornerstones of Dyn Media’s ethos.

By eschewing traditional OB vans in favour of venue kits, Dyn Media and NEP Germany have created a conscientious approach to reducing carbon footprint while maximising operational efficiency.

Adds Gavran: “NEPs partnership with Dyn is successful because sustainability is at the core of what we do. By switching the ensemble of OB vans with our flexible venue kits, the scale of on site support has been drastically reduced, thus drastically reducing our carbon footprint at each game we cover.”

By offering professional coverage of both main leagues and lower-tier matches at an affordable price, Dyn Media hopes to democratise access to sports in Germany.

“Before launching Dyn, there were many companies who pulled out of the process. NEP, on the other hand, were determined to make it work, even with the restrictions in place regarding budgets and bandwidth,” concludes Heyden, who says he has watched over 700 of the 1200 broadcast matches on his streaming platform.

“What’s really great is that I stopped looking at games for quality purposes in November. Now, I just watch games for pleasure. And as a fan of these sports, it’s fantastic to see the end product.”

Create Share Engage 2024, sponsored by Appear, is a one-day event for sports federations, leagues, associations, clubs and other rights owners, as well as broadcasters, agencies and producers, that will focus on creating and distributing sports content, and engaging fans, across social media, streaming and other digital platforms.
For more information and to register click here 


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