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Viacom18 distribution among IBC finalists as Voot sees 77% visitor-to-video hike

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MUMBAI: IBC has announced the shortlist for the IBC2017 Innovation Awards. Demonstrating a breadth of innovation in the electronic media, entertainment and technology industry, the international judging panel reviewed an array of compelling entries, settling on 11 finalists from around the world, all offering very different solutions.

The shortlist covers everything from a major football final to e-sports; from virtual studios to channel marketing; from mobile OTT on a massive scale to seamless content delivery on high speed trains. Taking to the stage during IBC Awards Ceremony on Sunday 17 September will be representatives from Toronto to Singapore, the UK to India, and Spain to the USA.

For 2017, IBC’s 50th anniversary year, categories in the Innovation Awards were updated to reflect and respond to the shifting industry landscape. Three awards will be presented for the most innovative projects in Content Creation, Content Distribution and Content Everywhere. What has not changed is the emphasis on collaborative work to tackle a real challenge, and the trophies are taken home not by the technology partners but by the broadcasters, media enterprises and service providers who commissioned the project.

“I was astounded by the quantity, and most important the quality, of entries this year,” said Michael Lumley, chair of the judging panel. “It took a lot of intense discussion to get down to 11 finalists – it was a very tough task and there were many excellent projects which did not make the shortlist, often by a very fine margin.”

“The international spread of 2017 finalists reflects the global reach of IBC, and the global significance of these most highly-coveted awards,” Lumley added. “I look forward to congratulating all the finalists and hearing the winners announced on Sunday night at IBC.”

Content Creation – three finalists

ITV in the UK has been shortlisted for its Project Phoenix. The broadcaster needed to develop a system which managed the production of promos and trailers from commissioning to transmission. The result creates more than 1,000 marketing assets every month, with almost all versioning carried out automatically. Technology partners alongside ITV were 100 Shapes, Cantemo, Codemill, NMR, Pixel Power and Vidispine.

Leading broadcaster Mediacorp made the shortlist for implementing a service-oriented architecture to break down silos across its global campuses and create a seamless production and delivery environment. Its new centre includes a 3,000 square metre newsroom producing online, television and radio news in four languages, together with six studios and a large theatre, more than 100 edit suites and OTT and broadcast delivery. Systems integrator Qvest Media brought in an enormous number of technology partners, including Actus, Adobe, ATCI, Autoscript, Avid, Axon, Baton, Blackmagic Design, Cisco, Dalet, DHD audio, EVS, Fairlight, Grass Valley, Harmonic, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Ihse, Lawo, Lund Halsey, Netia, Octopus, Oracle, Raritan, RCS, SAM, Scheduall, Shotoku, Sony, ST Electronics, Telestream, TriplePlay, TSL and Vizrt.

Groupe Média TFO has transformed itself from a small, French language broadcaster in Ontario, Canada, into a major online presence producing much-loved children’s programming. Its Laboratoire d’univers virtuels, or LUV, took a fresh approach to virtual sets, using the power and cost-effectiveness of the Unreal games engine from Epic Games. Today TFO produces as many as 40 short videos, in real time, each day, from a single studio. As well as Epic, technology partners were CEV, stYpe and Zero Density.

Content Distribution – four finalists

Arena Television is a UK-based outside broadcast provider, and led the industry in Europe with its first all-IP truck. It is regularly used to originate BT Sport’s 4k Ultra HD coverage of the English Premier League. Technology partners for this pioneering truck (and a second which is now also in service) were Cisco, Grass Valley, Lawo and Videlio Video Solutions.

Dutch media company DMC has migrated from broadcast playout centre to comprehensive media logistics service. As part of this it has migrated to a fully virtualised private broadcast cloud that provides DMC’s clients with the asset management, publishing and distribution services they need, linking international content owners with 700 million European viewers. The new platform was developed with Cisco, Equinix, Pebble Beach Systems, Red Hat, Super Micro and VMware.

Sinclair Broadcast Group operates 233 television stations in 108 US markets. As part of its programme to provide a common platform for on air and online services, it has developed a revolutionary approach to terrestrial transmission. The usual American model is “high tower, high power”: a single mast and transmitter. The new approach – developed by TeamCast and ONE Media for Sinclair – takes a cellular approach, using mini-transmitters just where they are needed in a large single frequency network.

Viacom 18 is a joint venture in India between media giant Viacom and local service provider Network 18, running a multi-channel OTT network called Voot. Faced with the prospect of delivering content to the 300 million smartphones in India, across networks which are often crowded and at high data costs, it took a fresh approach, developing a progressive web service that delivered high performance without taking valuable memory space. Within just a few days Voot saw a 77% increase in conversion from visitor to video viewer and a 39% increase in session time per user. Google provided technology support.

Content Everywhere – four finalists

BT Sport was host broadcaster for the 2017 Champions League Final in Cardiff, Wales, and went all in to engage with as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible. Separate trucks covered the game in HD and in 4k Ultra HD with Dolby Atmos sound – using the Arena truck nominated for the content distribution award. A unique 12 camera VR operation provided a rich 360˚ feed, including in-vision graphics, live replays and a separate commentary. The content was available online to all platforms as well as broadcast. Technology partners included Dolby, Ericsson, Moov, SAM, Sony, Telegenic and Timeline.

ESL, the Electronic Sports League, is an eSports company that organises gaming competitions worldwide. For the finals of the 2017 Intel Extreme Masters tournament, held in Poland, it needed to find a delivery partner that could deliver live feeds to 13 broadcasters in multiple regions, with additional OTT and digital cinema delivery to some territories. ESL partnered with Deluxe to enable the delivery of live ESL broadcast feeds over the public internet. The eSports tournament reached more than 46 million viewers.

For a decade Google Earth has given us the ability to explore the world using just the internet. Now we can immerse ourselves in its wonders using Google Earth VR. The new app uses touch, sight and sound to engage the viewer and to receive control feedback. New techniques render imagery smoothly, maintaining the immersion without confusion or motion sickness. Technology partners were Ant Food, Even/Odd, Joshua Moshier and Richard Devine.

The final project on this year’s shortlist is a real content everywhere application - ensuring consistent media delivery on trains travelling in excess of 300km an hour. Renfe, Spain’s national railway operator, worked with Telefonica to ensure its 19 million high speed rail passengers can access premium content and live sports on trains and at stations as if they were at home. The project was led by Telefonica, with technology partners including Accedo, Cires21, Cisco, Hispasat, Iecisa, Indra, Nagra, Signiant and Teldat.

The winners of these three awards will be announced during the IBC2017 Awards Ceremony, on 17 September. Special guest host for the evening is scientist and broadcaster Dr Helen Czerski. As well as the Innovation Awards, the ceremony will see the announcement of the Judges’ Prize, also in the gift of the same panel of international editors and consultants who have judged the Innovation Awards. Other awards to be presented during the ceremony include the IBC International Honour for Excellence, IBC’s highest award.

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