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Deltatre and the evolution of media: convergence between TV and online

Deltatre is considered a global leader for tv production especially concerning the sport business: digital, mobile, social, broadcast, results, content and professional services.

With offices in Turin, London, Manchester, Geneva, Paris, Munich, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Mumbai, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney, Deltatre has over 30 years' experience at the highest level of international sports.
We met Roberto Sciarretta, Deltatre Business Development Director, and asked him details on the main trends on tv graphics, remote production, IP workflow, and what they call "convergence".

 

"TV Broadcast and graphics"
Inside the broadcast domain, Deltatre provides official TV graphics for international sport events using the latest generation of MAGMA, its Graphic Engine completely re-developed for the recent World Cup. The engine support natively 4k in the formats 1080p, 1080i, UltraHD SDR, UHD and HDR.
Some new features introduced in tv graphics are the goal trajectory in real-time with the integration of the tracking data, providing the experience of a virtual camera, such as a spidercam.
Technologically speaking, MAGMA is developed using Unity, a 3D engine used in the gaming industry.
Today, TV Graphics requires skills that go far beyond simple titling. For example, Augmented Reality, provided in television studios and competition venues, requires never-before-seen complexity.
In Deltatre, although the content is extremely important, it is equally important to identify the correct distribution channels. This is particular important with the new generation of users that are used to consume the content with an increasing variety of different devices.
This challenge has been addressed by the market with two different approaches. One way is enabling the ability to serve online channels simply adding new features in parallel to the already existing systems. The benefit is a faster time to market, but the main drawback is to not overcome some technological boundaries from the legacy. Another direct consequence is the inevitable duplication of efforts with a consequent of an increased overall complexity of the solution and, besides not being cost-effective, even the risk of bringing an inconsistency of the brand among the different channels.
Deltatre's approach is much more radical. The MAGMA 3D solution, previously thought for the broadcast domain only, has been completely re-engineered and merged with Unity in order to natively support any new emerging channel. This means that today, with a minimum effort, a television broadcast can be easily distributed through an OTT channel using potentially a dedicated graphic, able to adapt to the different devices (such as mobile phones)."

"Remote production and IP workflow"
Although timidly, with the Work Cup in Moscow, Deltatre started to remotize part of the operations. Besides having centralized the unilateral and infotainment services at the IBC, part of the scouting of the matches was delocalized at the Deltatre Operation Center in Turin.
The advantage of this kind of approach is a considerable reduction in term costs and logistic complexity with an increase of the quality of the service provided.
An operator within his shift can follow more events, and typically the processes at the HQ are more robust with the benefit of a greater flexibility.
An example is ATP with Tennis TV where the production is remotized in London, with the data collected by the on-site referees, while the graphics are operated remotely.
UEFA, during the U17 in Poland in 2017, has been able to test a remote production workflow with six cameras from the stadium through a fiber connection at 100 Gb, thus realizing a transmission in 4k not compressed with a minimal latency around 36ms.

"Convergence"
In the Deltatre's strategy, the remote production is considered only a transition (even if still fundamental) in order to reach a bigger objective for the market that they call "convergence", i.e. the possibility of merging the broadcast and the online domains to provide the maximum "exploitation" of the contents, removing any barrier typical of the two fields.
The first fundamental step is the full adoption of the IP workflow in replacement of the traditional SDI one.
This should happen in two intermediate stages: first, the communication among the venues through fast fiber connections; and the second, with the wiring of the arenas in order to make the whole infrastructure adaptable to any kind of event.
As per today, telecommunications costs to support broadcast quality are still considerable high.
For this reason, the second fundamental step will be the virtualization of the production in order to mitigate the overall costs.
This not necessarily means an exclusive use of the public clouds (Amazon, Microsoft, Google etc.) but a more probable approach with a hybrid model based on a mix of private and public clouds.
At Deltatre, convergence will enable, through IP workflow and virtualization, to provide the content in real-time at low cost in an adaptive way for any channel.
Financial models will shift from CAPEX to OPEX, enabling the market to unlock both the budgets and as well technology innovation that are currently committed because of the amortizations over the years (typically for 3-year cycles).
The new platforms will be "future ready" and they will easily integrate with the new emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.
This will also open up new horizons in the monetization models, that is, among the most relevant, a transition from the today's programmatic advertising approach to the addressable/responsive one as it's already happening in the online field.
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