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IP dominates Innovation Awards

The three winners of the IBC Innovation Awards each reflect the rapid changes in the media industry, with an app, an IP installation and cloud delivery taking the prizes. They also illustrated the essence of these awards: new, collaborative solutions to real issues, creative, technical or commercial.

Taking the award for content creation was the UK’s Channel 4, also a finalist last year. Their entry was a creative way of getting people to engage with a live programme. In TheSinger Takes It All the audience voted on their phones to move competitors either into the gold zone or into oblivion.

Two very different projects were highly commended in this category, and both involved centralisation of equipment for efficiency, one of the recurring themes of the evening. BBC Local Radio put all its digital hardware in one central location but kept the talent inside the 40 stations, for the first broadcast as a service implementation.

The National Basketball Association in America brought all its video replay technology together in its Secaucus headquarters, managing as many as 15 simultaneous games yet still getting the replays back within seconds.

Staying with sport in America, ESPN took the award for content management, thanks to its fully IP connected production facility, the first of its kind in the world. Digital Center 2 is home to five studios, 16 edit suites and six control rooms.

ESPN fought off tough competition, not least the IP developments at fellow US broadcaster Disney/ABC. This is a new distribution facility for more than 200 affiliated stations across the USA. dock10 in the UK was also on the shortlist for file-based innovation, this time allowing producers to connect in to the network, uploading dailies and editing wherever they are.

One of the most interesting features of this year’s IBC Innovation Awards was that each category featured an audio project. In content management it was SBS Broadcasting, based here in Amsterdam, which has been developing new ways to maintain the excitement of soundtracks while meeting the latest loudness regulations, all in an automated workflow.

Going home with the award for content delivery was international broadcaster Sundance. It wanted to add a Brazilian variant of its Latin American feed, but the economics for a complete new channel did not add up. Cloud delivery of the regionalisation content, and watermarking to trigger dynamic content replacement was the solution.

Norway is planning analogue shut-off of its FM radio services as early as 2017, and transmission authority Norkring was on the shortlist for rolling out DAB+ to 99.5% of
the population of this challenging country.

Back to the USA, back to sport, and back to IP delivery for the last highly commended finalist. Pac-12 broadcasts an incredible 850 live sports events from 12 west coast universities, but rather than sending trucks to each one, only the cameras and the commentators travel: all the production is done in three control rooms in San Francisco.

You can find full details on all the IBC Innovation Award finalists and winners at