SVG Europe Sit-Down: DELTACAST International Sales Manager Erik Kampmann on virtual graphics and emerging production opportunities
Recently confirmed as an SVG Europe Gold Sponsor, DELTACAST has a heritage that reaches bach to 1986 when it began working on FPGA design and imaging applications. OEM custom designs and video interface cards followed, and in time the company developed a firm focus on sports graphics – finding favour with service providers and OB companies covering sports around the world.
On the eve of an IBC that promises to herald a number of significant launches from the Belgium-based company, DELTACAST International Sales Manager Erik Kampmann discusses current activity levels, the changing nature of broadcast consumption – and why sport is in DELTACAST’s DNA…
How would you describe the overall activity levels in 2016 so far, compared to last year?
The overall activity levels in 2016 have been great so far, with a 20% increase in business compared to 2015. Every year where there are big competitions such as the Euro or FIFA world cup, it’s a great opportunity for us to promote our product line.
What would you say have been the main areas of growth for Deltacast this year?
There are two main areas of growth for DELTACAST this year. The first one is the development and release of new enhancements of our high-end product line which resulted in winning bids in two major projects. This product line includes two of our flagship products: DELTA-live, for the live generation of virtual graphics in OB units; and DELTA-highlight, used typically in studio for post-game analysis. In addition to the new developments brought this year, we will introduce a new version 10 at IBC (7.A14), that we cannot wait to present.
Some of the key features include a major upgrade of the assistance in the calibration process, making it almost fully automatic for the operator, reducing considerably the set-up and production time of sequences. We will also introduce a live team-line up feature, among others, that can be added over the football field to introduce teams on the live feed. We are working hard to create solutions that are very easy to operate, while being autonomous and simple to set-up, allowing the most creative freedom. The trick is to be able to propose the best and most advanced features on the market, with this development mindframe.
The second area of growth is the release of new products for our low-end segment products in collaboration with NewTek. Those include DELTA-stat IP, a multi-sport interface solution, to create and generate high-end on-air graphics which has been particularly successful in Europe, and DELTA-stadium, for in-stadium giant-screen graphics. We also made some key partnerships for the US market, and are looking to grow even more in the region.
How important is sports broadcast to the Deltcast business as a whole?
Sports is part of our DNA at DELTACAST! Our entire business is dedicated to sports graphics, which is the only thing we do and focuses on. This approach allows us to be especially innovative at what we offer, by focusing on a single area of expertise. This resulted in our solutions being used in more than 20 countries, and being recognised worldwide. So sports broadcast is very important for us!
What are your latest solutions aimed at the sports broadcast market?
Well, our two flagship products DELTA-live and DELTA-highlight are still very popular, so year after year we try to innovate and propose new modules and ameliorations to our customer base, as I already explained. We will introduce a new version at IBC this year, with new breakthrough functionalities that are unique to DELTACAST. Additionally, we want to get more into the low-end market, and are currently looking to develop new solutions to complement our product line in this segment. With more and more producers looking for alternative high-end budget solutions, we want to grasp this opportunity and be part of this market as well.
To what extent do you think OTT, live IP production and 4K will transform the production – and consumption – of sports broadcasting over the next few years?
On one side consumption remains traditional for big events; people view them live on their TV. On the other side, sports shows will be watched more and more on internet and social media platorms. This can be reflected in the Chinese market, for example. This shift will complicate the situation for traditional TV broadcasters, who will have to manage lower audiences and thus lower revenues.
The production will have to adapt to the evolution of consumption. Major TV broadcasters will go on improving the level of sports shows, with more cameras, more effects, more graphics and better video quality, with 4K imposed as a standard in the future. Live IP is an opportunity for them, since it will reduce production costs. This will take some time but the future is clearly there.
In parallel, the new modes of consumption require less expensive production; a smartphone video can go viral pretty quickly on the Internet! A lot of systems now appear on the market, to manage sports production with various levels of budget and quality. This is great for the public, who will have access to more and more sports on the screen.
These challenges are great opportunities to be even more innovative in the solutions we provide.
Finally, please nominate a sports highlight of your own from recent years…
Tough question as there are so many, but I’ll say Nafissatou Thiam, our Belgian athlete who brought home a Gold medal in Athletics at the recent Olympics, and the Belgian Red Devils in the Top 3 of the FIFA ranking!