Interview with Simon Farnsworth, EVP European & Sports Technology
Eurosport is currently a global reference in sports productions. What technical milestones would you say that have allowed you to reach this stage?
From a technical standpoint, the Olympic Games was immensely challenging and complex. For Discovery, we delivered across 48 markets, in more than 20 languages, from 17 studio locations and multiple outside positions. We are pleased with our achievements, which also provided learnings for ourselves and the industry about how such broadcasts will be carried out moving forward.
We are pleased to have delivered on our promise to the IOC to bring the Games to more people, on more screens, than ever before. Delivering every single piece of content that we produce to every screen available for the consumer.
PyeongChang 2018 marked the first time we’ve integrated the technical delivery across Discovery’s assets – free-to-air, pay-tv and digital – at such scale and across multiple countries, which we were able to accomplish seamlessly.
The Wide Area Network (WAN) we installed to link all our production sites performed brilliantly. The IP multicast technology was critical to the whole operation. It allowed us to encode content once in PyeongChang and we were able to then distribute the same feed to many sites simultaneously. We think this is the first time this has ever been achieved at this scale. The experience with the WAN at PyeongChang 2018 provides Discovery and Eurosport an excellent foundation for delivering remote production moving forward. We will certainly expand on this in the future.
Discovery’s use of cloud technology at this scale we believe was an Olympic Games-first. Data delivery to the cloud worked very well. The cloud powered a range of our services, such as data-driven graphics, MAM, all remote commentary services to multiple locations and countries, and it all worked extremely well.
Tell us about your facilities. Apart from your headquarters, where do you have physical presence? How many studios do you have?
Discovery’s delivery of the Olympics covered 48 markets in Europe, in more than 20 languages, from 17 studio locations and multiple outside positions. There were ten main technical operation sites across Europe and in Korea.
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