Miranda report: sports production could see ‘strong shift’ in format preference

A new study commissioned by Miranda, which surveyed sports production professionals at broadcast, cable and production organisations, found that the production formats used by sports broadcast professionals could see a strong shift in format preference three years from now.

These findings, and others, will be discussed during a free webinar entitled, ‘Industry Report: Sports Production at the Crossroads. Is 4K UHDTV the Future of Sports Production?’ hosted by Miranda and the Josh Gordon Group on Thursday, September 26 at 11:00 AM EDT. Registration is available at www.miranda.com/prod-spot/2013/24-WEBINAR-SPORT/index.html.

While this information may seem to be a confirmation of a popularly held notion, the details of the study tell a multi-layered story. The study found the most frequently used production format today to be 1080i, with a majority (54.4%) of sports production professionals reporting that they use this format “most often” for their work. The next most frequently selected formats were 720p and SD (standard definition) which tied for second place, each with 18.1% of respondents.

In interviews conducted for the study with sports production professionals, some expressed surprise at the low counts for 720p, especially with two of the most prolific producers of sports programming, ESPN and FOX, standardising their operations on it. But among other cable networks, and especially among broadcasters, the use of 1080i for sports dominated. Other expressed surprise at how much standard definition television (SD) equipment is still in use. But the survey found many organisations repurposing their older SD equipment for streaming applications.

Only 7% of current respondents report shooting on 3G most often, and only 1% for 4K. But when the same sports professionals were asked what format they would anticipate building a facility or production truck with three years from now, 3G was the top choice with 33.5% of respondents; 4K was not far behind in second place at 28.6%.

In interviews, proponents of 3G cited practical reasons for their choice. A 3G production truck could handle any live format from 3G down, while there is no current 4K transmission standard. 4K advocates cautioned the wisdom of betting against progress, and expressed optimism that business models could be worked out, especially with premium services.

The webinar is scheduled to take place at 11:00AM EDT on Thursday 26 September. To register, visit www.miranda.com/prod-spot/2013/24-WEBINAR-SPORT/index.html.

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