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BT shines the spotlight on 5G, remote production

BT Sport and Media and Broadcast talk to TVBEurope about their plans for IBC2019

At this year’s IBC, BT’s Media and Broadcast team will welcome colleagues from BT Sport to their stand. The partnership is aimed at promoting the strength of the BT Group and the partnerships within the company.

At the stand (0.D02), the two will showcase their work with a number of new technologies including 5G and remote production.

“Media and Broadcast supports BT Sport enormously from our Premier League coverage, rugby coverage, all the way through all of our output, as well as all the service stuff we have the opportunity to showcase with EE around 5G trials etc,” explains Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer at BT Sport. “First and foremost, BT Sport is a broadcaster, but more and more we also provide facilities for other broadcasters.”

“There’s a lot of stuff we’re we’re doing which is quite groundbreaking, and has a far wider reach and remit than just what we do for BT Sport,” continues Hindhaugh. “So, we thought it would be good to reinforce the breadth and capability of BT Group in the UK broadcasting landscape, to drive conversations and interest with other broadcasters, to halo some of the other suppliers within our frameworks and to also support Media and Broadcast from a much more commercial approach with regards to our capabilities in broadcast and production.”

According to Hindhaugh, the joining of BT Sport and Media and Broadcast shows the “ever decreasing circles as regards where people sit within the perceived supply and delivery chain.”

Visitors to the stand will be able to watch a Premier League match in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos, which will be introduced by former footballer Robin van Persie, as well as live remote production over satellite/4G. “We’ll also have our OTT platforms there, just demonstrating a) content creation, b) the content delivery, and c) the proliferation of content and how it goes on different platforms,” adds Hindhaugh.

“I personally want to start getting people to think about content distribution, not linear, OTT, etc, because the feeds that we produce and distribute are the same feeds that we are broadcasting, but just on multiple platforms. Of course to enable all of that Media and Broadcast are a huge part of what we do and we take all the credit for it a lot of the time! We’ll also have information there about the fact that we have facilities and studios, and our production services, for example we’re producing Amazon Prime Video’s Premier League coverage with Sunset and Vine.”

From Media and Broadcast’s point of view, IBC offers the opportunity to showcase their high-bandwidth network technology, which can be found in their trucks, as well as their latest HEVC equipment. “That technology allows the guys in Stratford to be creative, and not feel like there’s a restriction on what they’re doing or on what they want to achieve,” explains Dominik Wrona, head of outside broadcasting at BT Media and Broadcast. “BT Sport’s mission to be the most innovative broadcasters in the country pushes us to the extent where we also arrive early with BT Sport at having that technology which enables other broadcasters to follow, whether that is a year in advance, or a few months later. It allows us to actually be ready and have the solution to get into the market or to sell to the market and that stimulates the entire industry.”

“One really, really important point in all of this is how we support each other within BT groups,” adds Hindhaugh. “In the past, if an organisation was looking at remote production, they would probably pick up the phone and talk to Dominik about how they do the connectivity element to enable remote. Now Dom can talk much more broadly about that because we’ve got galleries that are connected and you can start talking about the full flavour of remote, and different elements within that. I think that’s really, really important in supporting any commercial organisation because you can start giving customers choice and showcasing the strength of what’s already in place.”