NEP Group companies launch MediaCityUK remote production centre
The NEP UK and NEP Connect divisions of the NEP Group have launched a new, integrated remote production centre in the MediaCityUK complex in Greater Manchester.
NEP’s teams built out the facility in under three weeks to open in time to support Sky Sports’ return to live football coverage on 17 June for the first game of the Premier League re-start between Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
For the restart, Sky Sports moved part of its replay operation, normally on-site in an OB truck at the stadium, to NEP’s MediaCityUK facility.
This updated workflow reduced the number of Sky Sports personnel on-site, which allowed for optimal social distancing while enabling the Sky Sports team to retain production and operational control.
The launch of the integrated facility follows a successful test of NEP’s centralised production platform earlier this year: the capturing of a Premier League match at Villa Park in Birmingham through one of NEP’s Data Centre’s in Hilversum, with production using NEP’s iOB (intelligent outside broadcast) control room in Manchester.
“We have had operations in Manchester for some time, and this is a great example of us bringing together our services and our talent to expand and support our clients.”
Simon Moorhead, the managing director of NEP UK Broadcast Services, said: “I couldn’t be more excited about the opening of our MediaCityUK facility in time for Sky Sports’ broadcast of the EPL re-start.
“It was fantastic to be a part of this return to live sport and to be working alongside the Sky team again, who have always been early adopters of NEP’s production innovations and our remote capabilities.”
Built to each client’s and event’s needs, and able to scale rapidly, NEP’s facility can be used as part of an end-to-end remote workflow solution to extend any onsite operation either as a remote broadcast extending one of NEP’s OB trucks, or as a centralised production space using one of NEP’s Data Centres.
Connectivity is provided through NEP Connect, NEP UK’s sister company, and the robust AnyLive fibre network, which moves data, communications and video from the Manchester facility to over 240 venues in the UK, across Europe and beyond with very low latency.
“The connectivity we can provide our clients has grown tremendously in the last few years,” said David Meynell, Managing Director of NEP Connect.
“We’re now able to give our clients a direct link to national and international audiences through our MediaCityUK facility powered by NEP’s technology and the fastest growing media network in the UK. We’re very proud to have been a part of this project.”
Importantly, NEP’s Manchester production centre has been built with numerous safety measures to protect personnel and visitors from COVID-19 and other viruses, designed to enable them to work safely and efficiently.
Workstations are positioned with ample distance between them, separated by perspex screens, and are staggered in their floor layout throughout the facility. NEP has also implemented stringent health and safety training for its staff and clients, with a “safety captain” on-site for every production.
Finally, the teams follow a heightened cleaning protocol at MediaCityUK and in all of NEP’s facilities, including cleaning of all shared surfaces and shared equipment before and after each use, and the labelling and sanitisation of individual equipment such as microphones and headsets.
“I’m pleased we were able to accelerate some of our plans, and I am very proud of how the teams have worked against the current challenges and in such a short time frame to put together this fabulous setup,” said Steve Jenkins, President, NEP UK & Ireland.
“NEP has a pedigree in remote operations and connectivity along with a depth of experience in a number of services. We have had operations in Manchester for some time, and this is a great example of us bringing together our services and our talent to expand and support our clients. I look forward to what else we will be doing in operations like these.”