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ITBW dynamic is here to stay

TVBEurope's first IT Broadcast Workflow conference in London was an outstanding success with around 150 delegates and 22 sponsor companies attending, writes Fergal Ringrose.

TVBEurope’s first IT Broadcast Workflow conference in London was an outstanding success with around 150 delegates and 22 sponsor companies attending, writes Fergal Ringrose.

It was standing room only for the first session at the Royal College of Physicians venue (apologies again to late-arriving delegates!), as we set off on our journey into file-based broadcast operation.

Full coverage and analysis of the case studies, Q&As and comment from the floor will follow from our writing team of Richard Dean and David Fox in TVBEurope’s January issue, along with comprehensive photography from James Cumpsty. For now, let’s briefly look at some reasons why this event was such a success.

Firstly, the one-day event was focused not on the recession, nor the global economy, nor the state of the electronic media ad market, nor even the technology. It was all about the work: how people work in broadcasting as we move into tapeless and file-based operations across the enterprise.

To that end we focused exclusively on user-case studies. A day of users talking about what they do – rather than vendor-driven panels or vested-interest consultants. Here we must really thank the vendors who understood that dynamic and worked with us to secure high level operational managers from broadcasting organisations around Europe for our agenda.

After the event, some people said ‘Oh well done, you picked a hot topic there’. Well, the simple reason it’s a hot topic is because as we move inexorably into IT-based enterprises – all of us – the fact remains that IT people and broadcast people still don’t understand each other!

This is the driving dynamic. And it may sound like a peculiar thing to say, given the series of end-user success stories we heard in London – operations that have navigated paths through the complexity encountered when moving from traditional operations into an IT-based approach to the working integration of production, scheduling, MAM, business, promotions, transmission, marketing, new media, legal etcetera etcetera.

How did they tackle that inherent complexity? How did they guarantee time/frame accuracy and live delivery, whilst avoiding the little egg timer on the screen while waiting, IT style, for systems to catch up?

Where would you start from? There is no common approach. This is why both broadcasters and suppliers (our audience was a mixture of both) were keen to attend our first IT Broadcast Workflow conference – and will remain a key driver for us in planning print, digital and face-to-face events for this marketplace in 2010.

TVBEurope would like to thank our end-user speakers, in order of appearance, for their time and considerable effort: Darren Breeze, director of Broadcast Engineering, Discovery Communications; Jake Robbins, technical director, Television Versioning & Translation; Sebastien Valere, operations and marketing director, L’Equipe 24/24; James Elliott, Multimedia IT business manager, The Press Association; Egon M Verharen, director engineering, Nederlandse Publieke Omroep; John Morgan, senior manager Broadcast IT, Turner Broadcasting System; Israel Esteban, technical manager, Unitecnic (SI for Gol TV Barcelona); Ricki Berg, technical manager, SBS Broadcasting Networks; Shane Tucker, Technical Architect, Channel 4 and Ian Wimsett, senior technologist, Red Bee Media.

We must also thank all our ITBW sponsors, for making this event possible: AmberFin, building4media, Dalet Digital Media Systems, Digital Rapids, EVS, Harris Broadcast, IBC, Isilon Systems, MediaGeniX, Netia, Oasys, Pebble Beach Systems, Pharos, Publitronic, Quantum, S4M, ScheduALL, Snell, Softel, Technicolor, Telestream and Vivesta.