Live from the World Cup: Colombia’s Conchal finds ratings wins; new belief in LiveU

Colombia’s team continues to deliver ratings gold for Columbian broadcaster Conchal Television as the over-the-air network’s HD broadcasts continue to draw huge audiences in the nation of 47 million people. “Everybody is happy with where we are now as this is the first time ever that the team has gotten this far,” says Juan Pablo Cañizares Arango, Caracol Television, director of special events the day before Colmbia faces off against Brazil. “And if Brazil wins we will be more than happy because we know it will be a good show.”

(l-to-r) Juan Pablo Cañizares Arango, Eymard Cabrales, and Victor Manuel Muñoz Mogollon inside Conchal’s IBC studio.

(l-to-r) Juan Pablo Cañizares Arango, Eymard Cabrales, and Victor Manuel Muñoz Mogollon inside Conchal’s IBC studio.

Conchal TV is broadcasting about four hours of World Cup content every day as well as the matches. And when Colombia is playing the amount of content extends out to include expanded pre- and post-game show coverage that can begin as early as two hours ahead of a match and extend as long as two hours afterwards. There is also a daily wrap-up show called “That’s the Way the World Cup is Going” at the end of each day.

“We have a small studio here at the IBC and also do a lot of reports from the streets and the Copacabana Beach as well as from Sao Paolo where the team trains,” explains Arango. “We had about 50-60 people in Sao Paolo covering the training sessions.”

Along with the studio is small master control area that has EVS servers as well as a Grass Valley Kayak production switcher.

All told the team in Brazil is about 120 people strong, a four-fold jump from four years ago in South Africa. Ten ENG crews and well as a four SNG crews (one in Sao Paulo, one in Rio, and two that follow the team) are on the move using a mix of SNG vehicles, flypacks, and LiveU cellular-based transmission systems to send content to master control in Bogota, Colombia. On match days one flypack is used for coverage inside the stadium while the other is used outside and Sony XDCAM is the recording format of choice. Laptops allow reporters to edit their own packages, if needed.

Conchal's IBC master control area.

Conchal’s IBC master control area.

The use of LiveU is a bit of a surprise as Conchal used it during the Confederations Cup last summer and data rates were very low on match days.

“But now it is working beautifully and perfectly,” adds Arango.

The biggest challenge working is, of course, not technical but rather logistical. For example, tomorrow’s match in Fortaleze is against Brazil and the local interest from broadcasters across the nation has made it hard to operate as normal.

“It was almost impossible to move our people to Fortaleze and hotels were very, very hard to get,” says Arango. “But technically everything is working very smoothly.”

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