Interview: EVS CEO Serge Van Herck on innovation and exceeding expectation

With EVS celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2024, chief executive Serge Van Herck spoke with SVG Europe’s George Bevir about the evolution of the live video technology company and what the future holds for the business.

When SVG Europe caught up with Serge Van Herck, he had just returned from a trip to the Super Bowl. While the EVS chief executive didn’t stick around to watch Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers, he was able to check in on the company’s presence at the Allegiant Stadium where EVS replay kit featured in the NEP trucks supporting the CBS broadcast to some 123m viewers in the US alone.

Serge Van Herck: Appointed chief executive of EVS in 2019

EVS has been a regular fixture at the largest global sporting events, routinely part of the production infrastructure at Summer and Winter Olympic Games, FIFA World Cups, UEFA European Championships since the Atlanta Games in 1996 – two years after the company was formed in February 1994 by Pierre L’Hoest and Laurent Minguet in Liège, Belgium.

The company began as a pioneer in tapeless technology and launched the now ubiquitous Live Slow-Motion (LSM) system, which has become the dominant replay technology for broadcast sporting events across the globe.

“We know that every broadcaster has different opinions on how they want to develop their workflow. So, we listen to that feedback and we create solutions that are flexible enough to be used in their environment and their workflow alone, because every broadcaster in the world has a different opinion.”

“Going from tape to digital recording and providing the interface and the ability to manipulate slow motion images for highlights was a huge revolution for industry, and it was the start of the company in the 1990s,” says Van Herck, who provides an overview of the evolution of the company.

“Since then, we’ve been adding new capabilities and new products, like XFile to facilitate live production, and then later we introduced IPDirector as production asset management tool which was important in our history.

“We started with XTVia, our latest server generation in 2018, when we started to support IP and 2110. That’s a major evolution. And in 2020, we introduced the LSM-VIA our new interface for our replay service, and that has been a major milestone. So now you’ll see two types of LSMs – the legacy LSM and the LSM-VIA which has been a major milestone also for enabling remote operations.

EVS chief executive Serge Van Herck is speaking at the SVG Europe Football Summit in Brussels on Thursday 29 February. 

For more information, visit

“And, with the acquisition of Axon, we introduced a family of media infrastructure products which provided SDI and IP video routing solutions. With that acquisition we also acquired Cerebrum, which is control and management software that we continue to improve. And finally, and we are in a transformation, going from products to solutions; those are the important evolutions that we’ve seen over the past 30 years.”

Having built a portfolio of product and services spanning replays & highlights, video assistance, asset & workflow management, routing and media infrastructure, EVS is now a global company with headquarters in Liège, Belgium and over 20 offices and development centres around the world, including North America, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Dubai, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom with a team of over 620 employees.

EVS employees celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary

Over the past three decades, revenue has continued to grow. From €2m in 1995, to what was then a company high of €138m in 2012. Following a few years of decline to 2020, revenue was back up to €138m in 2021, and then grew to €148m in 2022. And, just after SVG Europe spoke with Van Herck, the company announced record-breaking revenue for 2023 of 173m – even though it was an odd year without the rental income boost from an Olympics, World Cup or European Championships.

When asked what has driven EVS’ growth over the past 30 years, Van Herck lists three things, speaking first about a strategy of “customer intimacy”. He says: “We try to bring solutions to our customers by listening to the expectations their needs. We know that every broadcaster has different opinions on how they want to develop their workflow. So, we listen to that feedback and we create solutions that are flexible enough to be used in their environment and their workflow alone, because every broadcaster in the world has a different opinion.”

Van Herck also lists “reliable solutions and service” – essential when dealing with high value live content – and thirdly, he points to continuous investment in new technologies and solutions.

Left to right: CTO Alex Redfern, CEO Serge Van Herck and chief marketing officer Nicolas Bourdon at EVS’ headquarters in Liege

Over the last ten years, EVS has moved from replay-centric and mainly capex products predominantly in OB vans, to media solutions, an opex and on-demand model and the deployment of products and solutions increasingly in broadcast centres. To support this shift, investment in R&D is essential, adds Van Herck.

“Half of our colleagues are within our R&D team,” he says. “And of those, around 20% are working on hardware and 80% are working on software. So, it is clear that more and more we are a software-oriented company. And while the marriage with hardware is important, we are fully investing also in increasing the quality of our software, and fully understanding that the value for our customers is not only in the hardware, but also in the software that we are providing.…innovation is key for us bringing solutions like generative AI through XtraMotion (an AI-based service that allows live and recorded footage to be converted to super slow motion content), or a new media asset platform, VIA MAP; those are  innovations that keep on pushing the boundaries of capabilities.”

Future growth

Looking ahead, Van Herck says the focus for EVS will continue to be on the live production environment, with an expansion in the company’s product portfolio to continue to boost its market share.

When asked what is missing from the company’s range of products and solutions, he says: “We have a vision of a complete solution portfolio. Today, when we don’t have that solution, typically, we will enter into a technology partnerships with partners to fill up this hole. And in the future, we have the ambition to do further acquisitions to complete our product portfolio. And when you look to our portfolio, well there are certain holes such as audio systems, graphical systems, and even in the news environment specific news solutions that we’d be happy to add to our product portfolio. So we definitely see opportunities to grow our product portfolio.

“We also expect that our business with our channel partners will further increase and that’s something that has been part of our strategy over the last few years. Channel partners are an increasingly important channel for us to increase our revenues. And, they’ll bring us in to contact with customers that we did not serve before and that we might not serve in a direct way, but with channel partners.”

Sustainable goals: leading the way

At the end of 2023, EVS set out its ESG (environmental, social, and governance) ambitions. “We have an ESG working group within the company, which includes about 30 colleagues from different departments and offices around the world,” says Van Herck.

“We have specific objectives per team and even individuals within the company, and also in our product roadmaps. We know for instance, through carbon footprint analysis, that the biggest impact for our customers comes from power consumption. So it’s clear that designing to reduce power consumption in the future is high on our agenda. And that is both in our hardware and in software. Also, when we look at our supply chain, we provide objectives for our suppliers.

“And it’s important to remember the ‘S’ in ESG, so the societal role is important in our approach. And then on the ‘G’ part – governance – we make sure that we take care of our customers and our team members. And when we look at the different ways of auditing ESG and ESG certifications, we’re happy that we’re in the top 10% of companies worldwide, so we are leading the way with these objectives.”

For Van Herck, the biggest challenge facing him and the EVS leadership team is continuing to bring “simplicity and reliability” to customers in an increasingly complex technology environment.

He says: “We know that our customers have limited resources, so we have to be that partner that helps them bring simplicity in complex technology environments.

“We need to keep innovating, while bringing that simplicity and that reliability to our customers; there is no doubt that that’s our number one priority.

“The second part is we will continue focusing on customer and also on team member satisfaction. For us, making sure that that our NPS (‘Net promoter score’ which measures customer satisfaction) continues to increase and that we keep our team members engaged and that we keep our top employee status. And that’s that second major objective.

“And last but not least, the objective that we set ourself for 2030 is to become the number one in our industry, and do that in a profitable and sustainable way. We want to do this by keeping also our ESG rating in the top 10% of companies worldwide.”

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters