Producer Mike Grey discusses the present and future of MUTV

Last month Manchester United TV and Aon launched a new video which delves behind the scenes of the hugely successful, fan-oriented MUTV service. To mark the occasion of the new mini-movie – which can be seen in full here – SVG Europe caught up with MUTV producer Mike Grey to discuss the HD transition, the creative and technological manifesto of the channel, and future plans.

How many people are working behind the scenes at MUTV, and to what extent has the team grown over the last few years?

We have 50 to 60 full time staff working behind the scenes at MUTV, so it’s a fairly large core team. We also have 20 to 30 freelancers who work with us; they’re deployed across different events for MUTV, which can be quite varied.

Our team has definitely grown, but it’s been a slow steady growth over the past two to three years, rather than quick spurts. Our freelancing team has definitely grown too.

What are the core elements of the technological set-up at MUTV? Any notable new/recent additions?

A key step was our switch to HD; we were the first football club channel to do so. As our technology progressed, we actually moved our production office from Deansgate to Old Trafford. This move heralded a new era in terms of MUTV’s production set-up; we have a brand new studio and gallery, with the studio being built in a corner of the football ground, which brings MUTV even closer to the action.

What is the overall stylistic and content manifesto for MUTV?

We aim high. Stylistically, we look to match the standards of high-end sports channels like Sky Sports. With football being an extremely popular sport, and with a number of great pundits around various channels, you’ve got to make sure you’re offering content which matches other paid-for channels. We look at the match-day content of a broadcaster like Sky Sports, and then think about ways we can better it.

Being the official TV channel for Manchester United, we have the advantage of being able to break news relating to the club before anyone else. Pundits and media will always speculate about things like transfers, but we are the first to break the club’s footballing news officially. We therefore don’t need to speculate on rumours. Instead, we ensure we get official news out there via MUTV as quickly as possible, straight to the viewers.

In what ways will MUTV look to incorporate new broadcast techniques and technologies, eg 4K, in the future?

We look to offer services and insight which other broadcasters may not think to, or be able to. For example, we have done 1.5 hour long live feeds for viewers at the training ground, ensuring that the viewers are kept right up to date with latest developments – something that is completely unprecedented. We’ve just settled into our new studios, so there will be further developments in terms of how we implement new tech to improve our broadcasts.

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