SIS LIVE confirms intention to exit OB sector

SIS LIVE, which has provided outside broadcast units and services to the BBC since purchasing the BBC OB units in 2008, will wind down and eventually withdraw from the OB sector by the end of March, 2014, following the loss of BBC sport contracts last month. Operations in SIS Link and SIS Betting are unaffected.

In a statement, Gary Smith, SIS LIVE’s chief executive, said that the company will operate for a period of about six months while meeting its contractual obligations to the BBC and others.

“During this period we will consider opportunities that may arise to sell the business, parts of the business or assets, such as trucks and equipment to interested parties,” he said. “We expect to complete this process by around the end of March 2014 when our activities in the OB sector will cease.”

In a note sent to existing customers Phil Aspden, SIS LIVE’s commercial director, explained that over the past few years it has become apparent that the outside broadcast market has changed significantly.

“More and more, it has become a commodity marketplace, driven by ‘spot’ contracts, where price is the dominant factor,” he said. “For SIS this is a problem. As a group, across all of our business divisions, our culture and our business focus has tended to be geared to long-term projects and relationships, with a commitment to delivering the highest professional standards, rather than the lowest possible prices. Our difficulty in reaching terms with the BBC over the renewal of their sports tender contracts offered a vivid reflection of the problem. We have always sought to be competitive and flexible in our pricing to offer the best possible value to our customers; however, we have never been prepared to sacrifice quality to achieve this.”

He added that, for those reasons, SIS LIVE is withdrawing from the market and is now seeking to engage with those who have an interest in the future ownership of the SIS OB business or any part thereof.

“In the event that agreement cannot be reached to transfer ownership, the SIS LIVE OB division will terminate its trading activities by the end of March, 2014,” he added.  “This decision will now allow us to focus with renewed confidence and determination on the other parts of our business, including the SIS Link division, where our commitment to excellence continues to be reflected in strong market demand and a high level of customer satisfaction.”

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