NEP Broadcast Solutions, a division of NEP Group, and Tata Communications, a leading digital infrastructure provider, have successfully completed the remote production and broadcast of VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) for Star Sports, the number one sports broadcaster in India and subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. The 2018 VIVO IPL season was Star Sports’ first since it acquired the global media rights for USD $2.55 billion/INR 16,347.5 crore for the next five years. This marks the first time that a sports series of IPL’s scale has been produced remotely in India by harnessing superfast connectivity.
The tournament consisted of 60 matches taking place over 50 days in nine cities across India: Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Indore, Mohali and Pune. Each fixture featured customised feeds in local languages including commentary in six languages – which went up to eight languages for the final. To tackle the challenges stemming from the back-to-back schedule of events, the long distances between the match locations, and the need to localise content for different regions, Star Sports worked with Tata Communications and NEP to centralise many of its core operations and manage them remotely from its production hub in Mumbai.
This first-of-its-kind remote production initiative brought together NEP’s expertise in the centralised broadcast of live events and Tata Communications’ video distribution capabilities. Star Sports production crew along with NEP’s engineering team, including cameramen, sound assistants, talent producers and the production management team, were on-site at the venues, while the production personnel, including the director, vision mixer, audio engineers, EVS operators, producers and graphics team members, operated out of the central Star Sports facility at Urmi Eastate in Mumbai. With NEP’s new flight pack Broadcast Lite — which allows a quick set-up in minimum space without any compromise in functionality and quality — the team was able to distribute eight unilateral camera feeds and 15 HD host feeds, along with associated AES audio feeds, back to Star Sports’ Mumbai hub.
The two NEP teams — often with more than a thousand kilometres between them — were able to collaborate seamlessly and reliably with the Star Sports team enabled by Tata Communications’ ultra-low-latency Video Connect network. With fewer than four frames per second latency and hitless switching capability, this digital infrastructure enabled NEP’s remote production by ensuring the smooth transmission of a combination of signals and camera feeds at each IPL fixture to Star Sports’ Mumbai hub. Remote production can be more cost-effective than conventional onsite production. It allowed Star Sports to efficiently produce customised feeds in multiple languages for different regions, enhancing the viewing experience for the millions of cricket fans following VIVO IPL 2018 across India.
“VIVO IPL is one of the most sought after sporting spectacles in the world, which means that from a broadcasting perspective, there is simply no room for error,” said Brian Morris, Vice President and General Manager, Media & Entertainment Services, Tata Communications. “With 60 matches taking place back-to-back across the country, you need a finely tuned, very reliable production operation. In a high-pressure environment like this, remote production, enabled by an ultra-low-latency video network, can have a truly transformational impact.”
“The teamwork displayed by the team of Star Sports, NEP and Tata Communications demonstrates how leading organisations working closely together can drive innovation in the broadcasting industry,” said Saeed Izadi, President of NEP Broadcast Solutions. “We’ve successfully introduced cutting-edge remote production technology in other parts of the world and were proud to support VIVO IPL 2018 with our capabilities. Together, we have redefined the production of sports events in India.”
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Tata Communications Limited (CIN no: L64200MH1986PLC039266) along with its subsidiaries (Tata Communications) is a leading global provider of A New World of Communications™. With a leadership position in emerging markets, Tata Communications leverages its advanced solutions capabilities and domain expertise across its global network to deliver managed solutions to multi-national enterprises and communications service providers.
The Tata Communications global network includes one of the most advanced and largest submarine cable networks and a Tier-1 IP network with connectivity to more than 240 countries and territories across 400 PoPs, as well as nearly 1 million square feet of data centre and colocation space worldwide.
Tata Communications’ depth and breadth of reach in emerging markets includes leadership in Indian enterprise data services and leadership in global international voice communications. Tata Communications Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India.
Home to a number of leading domestic and International sports, the Star Sports network with twelve channels broadcasts premier sporting events which include cricket coverage under the purview of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) and Asian Cricket Council (ACC); Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL); Karnataka Premier League (KPL); VIVO Pro Kabaddi; Football under Hero Indian Super League (ISL), Premier League, Bundesliga; Badminton under Badminton World Federation (BWF) events, Premier Badminton League (PBL); including the recently launched Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT); and other premium sports such as Formula 1; Wimbledon, The French Open and US Open.
For over 30 years, NEP has been a worldwide outsourced technical production partner supporting premier content producers of live sports, entertainment, music and corporate events. Our services include remote production, studio production, audio visual solutions, host broadcast support, premium playout, post production and innovative software-based media management solutions. NEP’s 3,000+ employees are driven by a passion for superior service and a focus on technical innovation. Together, we have supported productions in over 85 countries on all seven continents. NEP is headquartered in the United States and has offices in 24 countries. Learn more at nepgroup.com.
Certain words and statements in this release concerning Tata Communications and its prospects, and other statements, including those relating to Tata Communications’ expected financial position, business strategy, the future development of Tata Communications’ operations, and the general economy in India, are forward-looking statements. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including financial, regulatory and environmental, as well as those relating to industry growth and trend projections, which may cause actual results, performance or achievements of Tata Communications, or industry results, to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from such forward-looking statements include, among others, failure to increase the volume of traffic on Tata Communications’ network; failure to develop new products and services that meet customer demands and generate acceptable margins; failure to successfully complete commercial testing of new technology and information systems to support new products and services, including voice transmission services; failure to stabilize or reduce the rate of price compression on certain of the company’s communications services; failure to integrate strategic acquisitions and changes in government policies or regulations of India and, in particular, changes relating to the administration of Tata Communications’ industry; and, in general, the economic, business and credit conditions in India. Additional factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from such forward-looking statements, many of which are not in Tata Communications’ control, include, but are not limited to, those risk factors discussed in Tata Communications Limited’s Annual Reports. The Annual Reports of Tata Communications Limited are available at www.tatacommunications.com. Tata Communications is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements.