This time I want to talk about the rights on pay-tv. In Brazil there are many pay-tv channels not to talk about the sports and movie channels. All those channels people have to pay for to watch as the name describes.
But what are we paying for?
Let's pick GNT for example. This is one of the biggest pay channels in the country and yet they show so little. People pay for reprises. Some programs have 2 seasons a year and they are being repeated over and over throughout the year. And that's the case for almost all channels. If you see the programming for a week the same episode passes sometimes 3 to 4 times.
It's a vicious circle. Because of this people will more and more move to platforms as Netflix where they can watch tons of new content every day and these pay channels will lose more viewers and make less money. That’s a real threat. So pay channels need to invest more in new content, especially now it’s crisis in Brazil and people will spend more time watching tv at home instead of going out.
That brings me to another part of pay-tv. In Brazil among a growing amount of other countries people have to pay to watch live sports. We have nowadays FOX sports, ESPN, Esporte Interativo and SporTV in Brazil. Besides those channels there is as well Premiere. Premiere is a pay per view channel where you can watch only some soccer matches. These are matches from the same championship as the matches that pass on SporTV and FOX sports for example.
For example, a viewer from Rio de Janeiro can’t watch in many occasions the match of their favorite team from Rio. Those matches are blocked for the state of Rio but in the rest of the country you can watch those matches on SporTV. So the matches are only blocked in the state of the home team or the state where the match is being played. The viewers who want to see the match of their favorite teams are obliged to buy the game at the pay per view channel even if they bought a package of sports channels at their provider. That is for me the biggest example of screwing your viewers. You can see all soccer matches except for the ones that you really would like to see. Imagine a Chelsea fan who pays monthly to watch the matches in the premiere league but he can watch all matches except the ones from Chelsea. To watch a match of Chelsea he needs to buy a pay per view.
At this moment, especially, pay channels need to think what is important to them; happy customers or a lot of money. Because if they continue like this the money option is ending and that will result in less and less customers, read viewers, to whom they can sell their content and commercials.
Brazilians are crazy about sports, but they are not crazy!!
Telecom and Pay-TV Services Markets in Brazil Set to Grow at 2.3% CAGR During 2017-2022
Number of subscribers of select pay TV providers in Brazil from April 2016 to April 2017 (in thousands)
Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions
On the weekend of 17 October the HSBC Arena in Rio hosted the NBA Global Games. The match between Orlando Magic and Flamengo. We started our preparations on the Friday prior to the match by checking all the videos to be played out the day after and organizing ourselves. I’ve been working on the UFC events in Brazil and so I have some experience in working with Americans. Although this event was produced and directed by a Brazilian crew, the event is American and was broadcasted live around the world with as most important countries the USA and Brazil.
When working in Brazil for a national basketball match, no replay-wipe, or other videos are involved. The commercials are played out by and at the network as well as graphics, at the location there is only a small truck, 6-8 camera’s most, and about 15 crew members. No script is involved, nothing is pre-produced and almost everything is improvised. But, and that’s unfortunate, this might be the only way to broadcast basketball live in Brazil. Only if you keep the production costs that low it might be possible. As well as broadcasting a third division soccer match on a monday afternoon, yes that happens! Brazil is crazy about sports, and especially soccer.
Comparing this to an event like the NBA Global Games, which is a friendly match, is pretty different. On Friday, we got a script with all commercial breaks, and special clips coming from EVS, all sponsored of course. We played the sponsor videos out from EVS and not from the video mixer, which is normal in the US. This may be done this way because the director is also switching himself. So, there is no technical director (TD) to do that for him. Then we had some rehearsals, meetings, and checks until the end of the afternoon.
On the match day we had the last rehearsals and meetings about changes in the format and we got ready for the match. Basketball in the U.S. You can’t compare it to basketball anywhere else in the world. I’ve worked on several American productions and always some things surprised me, the attention to detail, the size of the production, how much money there is involved in American entertainment and that people are paying the amounts of money to watch matches. That’s just incredible! I watch it jealously and wished Brazil would have this same sports climate, because the culture they already have.
THE game Orlando Magic vs Flamengo:
I remember before the Worldcup Soccer started the international media told that Brazil would not be ready in time. I visited the Itaquera stadium in São Paulo 1,5 month in front of the start of the Worldcup myself and that did give me more trust that all will be finalised in time. Of course lots of things had to be done, but Brazil would manage this, I never doubted that. I was afraid of Brazilian audio visuals and companies not getting jobs at the Worldcup because of their knowledge of English, because of the import-tax they have to pay for professional equipment while foreign companies just import their equipment temporary and not paying the import tax. Was I wrong? No, I was right and that is sad.
Several foreign companies and broadcasters took major parts of the Worldcup AudioVisual work. Like the Euro Media Group. They bring equipment, people (120) and their OB-vans to Brazil because their price is maybe better than Brazilian companies and that is weird. A company like NEP from the USA has an OB-van in Brazil, they work together with the Brazilian company Casablanca Online.
Ok…Globo SporTV had a new OB-truck you say? but they have money (a lot) and very important connections. Also in smaller productions we heard that most foreign ENG crews brought their own people and equipment to Brazil. Of course Brazilian audio visuals and companies were working at the event and even sometimes for foreign companies but still the 'sharks' did far better I think. There is always involvement of foreigners.
We are curious at Broadcast Brazil if you did work at the Worldcup, what was your function and if your payment was alright.
Next big event will be the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro in already 2 years, now we all know what's about … be prepared, Let somebody with connections in Brasilia mention the position of the Brazilian Audiovisuals and stop this 'temporary import' for such events so also the locals get a chance. For all other i can just say.. rehearse your english till you are on a good level. When you try to work at big international events like Formula 1, UFC , X-Games and such let yourself pay in wages compared to foreign ones. They expect the same quality so let yourself pay for it i the same way.
UPDATE 30 of March 2015:
BBC -Worldcup leaves Brazil with bus depots and empty stadiums
UPDATE 25 of March 2015:
Rapid TV News - Globo profits dip despite Worldcup
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap
World Cup soccer 2014
Euro Media Group
My first column for Broadcast Brazil is about formats… no… i am putting it not right here. It is mainly about the speed of development in this last 10 years of audio visual formats and what this means for Brazililian Audio Visual companies.
When i started my work in Broadcast we have had some formats. U-matic, C-format and Betacam SP. The company where i worked for at that time had to switch their recorder between edit-suites and OB-vans all the time. The Betacam recorders where pretty expensive and my boss just did not have financial possibilities enough to keep them in one place. But life was easy and clear in the analog SD (standard definition) time and as a company you had the chance to earn back these recorders by renting them as much as possible for the next 5-8 years… or even longer.
In 1993 we got Digibeta, Betacam SX in 1996 , Mpeg IMX in 2001. Meanwhile HD (high definition) was set into the market. Last 6 years HD became the standard for most Broadcasters, also in Brazil where the XDCAM HD format is used by TV Globo. In some parts of the country they still shoot and edit in SD but this is changing rapidly in Brazil.
Last 5 years the industry also pushes a 3D format to Broadcasters and consumers, but is seams that this is not something that will stay much longer… why? I think because of those glasses you need to put on….. but also because 1 new format just started to become mainframe…. 4K, and the first 8K demo's could already been seen at the last 3 versions of the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam.
In the last 10 years most broadcasters needed first to step from SD to HD, some of them just managed this last year. Even a big event like Formula 1 has it's first year of HD, besides the camera's on the cars which are still SD. The first 4K equipment enters the market rapidly, it means that broadcasters have to invest heavily again?… by knowing the 8k format can be available in some years from now. I think for most broadcasters this is too fast, the investments are too big. Not only the equipment but all what is connected to it has to change. This means some troubles ahead for a lot of companies because, who has a bag of money or a sponsor can invest in these latest formats. The ones who cannot will see their company shrinking or even disappearing.
With the Worldcup 2014 Brazil coming up a lot of Brazilian audiovisual companies have to step up to at least HD. With the tax the government puts on pro-equipment it is already difficult to invest in Brazil. In 2016 the olympic games will be held in Rio de Janeiro and of course this needs to be transmitted in 4K.. some major companies will push this for sure. I think that most Brazilian Audio Visuals do not have that bag of money again in 2016 and will loose a lot of opportunities to foreign companies (the sharks) . For the local market i think it is more honest to transmit the Olympics in HD, just to give the Brazilian Audio Visual world some support so they can be the event at this very important event for the whole country.
In the example shown above, assuming a 4 channel audio configuration, the top level of (blue) buttons are programmed so that channels 1-2 are a mix of the action and the ambience mics and channels 3-4 are a full mix of stereo program. The lower level of (green) buttons are programmed so that channels 1-2 receive the individual camera’s shotgun mic and channels 3-4 are a full mix of stereo program. The (yellow) button for camera 6 is an audio-only button programmed so that channels 1-2 are the pre-fade reporter’s mic.
For surround shows router configurations are of course, more complicated. In practice, audio elements are configured as stereo pairs and recombined in the mix desk prior to transmission. A surround synthesizer can be inserted across a stereo channel or mix bus to process stereo sources for surround transmission.
The routing switcher is fed audio signals from various outputs on the desk. Group sends, aux sends, direct outputs and multitrack outputs are fed to various inputs of the router for distribution e attribution for the video equipment, transmission, etc.
Many VTR’s are limited to 4 channels of audio. Hard disc video recorders like the EVS are often configured for only 4 audio channels as well.
When working in surround reproduction and transmission it is possible to use a surround decoder/encoder set to route a surround imaging matrix to a stereo pair. This signal is then routed through a decoder and played back as a surround source through the audio desk. This would enable a machine with a four channel configuration to be used to reproduce surround material. Of course only one playback machine would be available at any given time. (see image below)
More sophisticated VTR’s and EVS recorders allow 8 channels of discrete audio recording.
It is therefore much simpler to maintain surround signal integrity in a live broadcast situation.
(see image below)
Microphones Positions for Specific Sports:
Basketball is most often played and telecast from an indoor arena with a hardwood floor, concrete walls and (hopefully) thousands of animated fans. Indoor sports arenas are generally very reverberant and often any acoustic problems are exacerbated by using PA systems that are much louder than they need to be.
Lapel mics (Sony ECM 77’s or similar) are mounted behind the baskets, on the backboards, in the rubber frame that surround the edge. A short shotgun mic (Sennheiser 416 or similar) is mounted on the stanchion pointed at the free-throw line and a long shotgun (Sennheiser 816) is mounted on the handle of the handheld camera behind the end zone. If there is a handheld camera at midcourt it also would have a long shotgun. An ORTF pair is mounted at midcourt.
Tennis is unusual in that although the action is oriented side to side like most other sports, the perspective presented by television is from one end. Therefore the stereo perspective is perpendicular to the net rather than parallel.
A stereo pair is set in the announce booth and another pair is mounted on the umpire’s chair to capture crowd and ambience sounds. A lapel mic is laced into the net. 4 short shotguns are mounted on short mic stands behind each baseline. Shotguns are also mounted on courtside cameras and beneath the umpire’s chair.
US Open Tennis Championship, 2007 Louis Armstrong Stadium, USA
To cover soccer (football) a combination of operated and stationary mics are used. I place an ORTF pair in the announce cabin and use long shotguns mounted on tall poles for the response of the cheering sections.
Opposite the team benches are two mobile operated mics. All cameras on the field have shotgun mics. The difficulty lies in trying to capture sounds from a great distance. Compression can help accentuate individual mics. It is extremely important for the mic operators to wear headphones to monitor their equipment, to be very active and to anticipate the direction of play. Over exaggeration of sounds that are close to mics, such as corner kicks, will make the other, more distant sounds seem inaudible by comparison. A careful balance must be maintained.
One of the most challenging sports to cover is golf. The arena for the sport is huge and there are only 2 areas where sounds are easy to capture: the tees and greens. Every microphone (or pair of mics) must be available prefader with processing as a router source. For a typical golf course, this would be 18 stereo tee mics, 18 stereo green mics, 10 wireless handheld cameras with mics, 8 wireless operated shotgun mics as well as ambience and crowd mics, about 62 stereo and surround microphone sources in all. Additionally there are between 1 and 6 announce cabins, 2 to 4 wireless reporter units, a trophy presentation area, 18 VTR’s, 4 EVS and edit suites as well.
Verification of the installations with the Autor on the PGA championship, Medina, IL, USA, august 2006
This level of complexity is also common in track and field, gymnastics and Formula 1 racing. Each of these sports has specific peculiarities and challenges including:
Widely varying sound pressure levels,
Difficulties with microphone placement
Difficulties with signal transport and cable paths
Difficulties with weatherproofing
Multiple events occurring simultaneously
Many channels of wired and wireless mics and electric points
Many channels of wired and wireless intercommunications
Interconnections between analog, digital, copper and fiber optics
Facilities and crews that are shared between different broadcasters and production teams.
The process is never simple. Audio production for television requires significant planning in advance, flexibility on site, troubleshooting and rapid decision making while confronted with many variables. However, with careful organization each broadcast can be presented in its entirety with the accuracy and creativity that will create a sense of realism and excitement for the home viewer.
Daniel Littwin , director New York Digital.
São Paulo, Brazil
Sony ECM 77
Sennheiser MKH 416
Sennheiser MKH 816