SVGE/IMG Tour & Conference: David Shield discusses current responsibilities, future aspirations for IMG Media
Bringing to a conclusion SVG Europe/IMG Media’s highly successful Sport Facility Tour & Conference on Friday 10 October was a forward-looking presentation from David Shield – IMG Media’s SVG global director of engineering & technology – about IMG’s current workload and the prospects for future project-related expansion.
As Shield made clear, IMG is already heavily engaged with technical enhancements on multiple fronts, including the replacement of nearline storage with Isilon Scale-Out Networked Attached Storage (NAS), greater virtualisation of servers, new MAM deployment and more BNCS integration.
And in keeping with developments across the industry, closer convergence of corporate and broadcast IT is also in prospect. “Nick Wilson, the CTO of William Morris Endeavour [which acquired IMG in 2013), is a very go-ahead guy and has been brilliant for us and really got into what we are doing here,” said Shield. “He is interested in beefing up our IT infrastructure, so I think we are going to see a convergence of [IT teams for corporate and broadcast], with some areas joined together and some personnel able to operate on both sides.”
This enhanced infrastructure will be brought to bear on a sports production portfolio that continues to grow from an already extensive base. Premier League Productions, notes Shield, constitutes “nearly 50% of what we do”, while IMG’s many other ongoing studio-based commitments include the Football League Goals Exchange, the BBC Football League Show and Trans World Sport.
A robust OB production roll-call includes Channel Four Racing, BBC Snooker, BBC Darts, FIVB Hall & Beach Volleyball, OCA events, ESPN Open Golf, Open Gold live@ TV and radio, European Tour Productions, Ryder Cup, Wimbledon world feed and highlights, and Wimbledon live@ TV and radio.
Forthcoming projects cited by Shield include the 2015 Rugby World Cup – for which IMG will be providing the IBC, preview coverage and highlights – and the continued evolution of IMG Gaming: “It’s an initiative from our rights’ guys whereby rights can be sold separately into betting chains. Through a partnership with Livestream, we currently have 20 streams going into betting shops.”
Shield wound up the presentation – and the entire day, which attracted more than 80 delegates to IMG’s facility in Stockley Park – with a rundown of future targets for IMG Media, including: the addition of more studio clients; the further development of its signal acquisition, distribution, streaming and clipping capabilities; the pursuit of more host broadcasting clients; and extra work with other sports federations. He also expects the archiving side of the business to be “quite busy – I think what we have done with Cambridge [Imaging Systems] on the ATP achive is a good example of what federations will want on the B2B side.”