From its roots in Bergen, vizrt has evolved into a global player help­ing broad­cast­ers stay­ing rel­e­vant.

How a Nor­we­gian tech­nol­ogy firm is help­ing the largest broad­cast­ers stay rel­e­vant in the dig­i­tal age

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - HENRI VIIRALT

As the world con­tin­ues to em­brace dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ers are turn­ing to soft­ware com­pa­nies in or­der to gain a ‘dig­i­tal edge’ and help re­tain the younger, ‘cord-cut­ting’ gen­er­a­tions.

Nor­we­gian Vizrt - short for vi­su­al­i­sa­tion in real-time - is one of the com­pa­nies they turn to.

Vizrt is a world­wide mar­ket leader in the ar­eas of real-time 3D graph­ics, stu­dio au­to­ma­tion, sports anal­y­sis and as­set man­age­ment tools for the me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. This in­cludes in­ter­ac­tive and vir­tual so­lu­tions, an­i­ma­tions, maps, weather, story and video edit­ing, com­posit­ing, mul­ti­plat­form VOD (video on de­mand) and live play­out tools.

It has cus­tomers in more than 100 coun­tries world­wide and the list keeps grow­ing each day. This is made pos­si­ble by the 600-strong work­force in in 40 of­fices around the world, work­ing with many of the world’s lead­ing me­dia com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing CNN, CBS, Fox, BBC, BSkyB, Sky Sports, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Al Jazeera, NDR, ITN, ZDF, VICE, The Wash­ing­ton Post, TF1, CCTV, and NHK among oth­ers. Fur­ther­more, many world­class pro­duc­tion houses and cor­po­rate in­sti­tu­tions such as the Lon­don Stock Ex­change use Vizrt sys­tems.

“Dig­i­tal me­dia is start­ing to play a ma­jor role in dig­i­tal broad­cast­ing since the changes in con­sumers’ me­dia con­sump­tion be­hav­iour, mean­ing they are mov­ing away from tele­vi­sion to sec­ond screens, de­mand­ing ac­cess to con­tent any­time, any­where,” says Yu­pa­pak Tawanna, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Greater Thai­land. “Since our new CEO Michael Hallen joined the com­pany in Au­gust 2016, he has been ac­tively re­vis­ing the global busi­ness plan and strate­gic pol­icy to align the com­pany with these mar­ket changes in or­der to de­liver the best tools for our clients.”

Thai­land serves as the head­quar­ter for the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, which the com­pany con­sid­ers to have higher growth po­ten­tial in re­la­tion to ma­ture mar­kets in Europe and the US. In Thai­land and Asia-Pa­cific, Vizrt is tar­get­ing an an­nual rev­enue growth of 20% within 2017, and to dou­ble its rev­enue over the next three to five years glob­ally.

The way Vizrt in­tends to achieve this is by re­duc­ing com­plex­ity, in­creas­ing ef­fi­ciency and trans­parency, all the while of­fer­ing com­plete so­lu­tions and on­estop ser­vices to sup­port the me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­tries.

“One of our cur­rent key of­fer­ings is Viz One, a cut­ting-edge me­dia as­set man­age­ment plat­form, which cre­ates a solid back­bone for TV chan­nels and

helps man­age all dig­i­tal me­dia as­sets that can be re­pur­posed via mul­ti­plat­form chan­nels, de­pend­ing on ne­ces­sity,” Ms Yu­pa­pak says.

Viz One makes it easy for teams across en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tions to find, up­load, pre­view, log, cut, send, and man­age me­dia. The pri­mary tool, Stu­dio, is web-based and ac­ces­si­ble from any desk­top, so users can edit and ap­prove me­dia re­motely. As­sets are search­able within sec­onds of in­gest, and can be browsed and edited di­rectly on a lap­top or desk­top us­ing proxy-based video edit­ing tools. Ac­cord­ing to Vizrt, many cus­tomers do more than 90% of their edit­ing with Viz One proxy-based video edit­ing tools.

“An­other so­lu­tion we’re re­ally fo­cus­ing on in Thai­land and In­dochina is VIz Opus, to help au­to­mate work­flows, in­crease ef­fi­ciency and lower head­count in pro­duc­tion con­trol rooms – cut­ting down from 20 to 4-5 peo­ple.”

It is an all-en­com­pass­ing sys­tem to pro­vide all vi­tal com­po­nents for the pro­duc­tion con­trol rooms, such as er­ror­free au­to­ma­tion and highly con­fig­urable user in­ter­face, pro­vid­ing users with the abil­ity to store and in­stantly re­call in­ter­face con­fig­u­ra­tion set­tings. Story el­e­ments such as cam­eras, clips, and graph­ics are as­signed to but­tons, al­low­ing quick and easy ac­cess. De­signed with multi-chan­nel/multi-plat­form news de­liv­ery in mind, Viz Opus is the heart of the TV sta­tion of the fu­ture.

“In mov­ing to­wards new me­dia, there are sev­eral pros and cons, es­pe­cially in de­vel­op­ing re­gions like South­east Asia, where in­ter­net band­width speed is still a mas­sive hur­dle to over­come for broad­cast­ers that want to stream their con­tent to sec­ond screens.”

The num­bers cer­tainly seem to back it up. Ac­cord­ing to Aka­mai’s State of the In­ter­net Re­port in Q1 2017, Thai­land’s broad­band band­width av­er­ages 13.7 megabytes per sec­ond (Mbps) and mo­bile at 5.8 Mbps, In­done­sia at 5.9 Mbps and 6.9 Mbps re­spec­tively, and Viet­nam at 5.1 Mbps and 2.8 Mbps.

“We at Vizrt still be­lieve that the pre­sen­ta­tion and the over­all qual­ity of con­tent are cru­cial fac­tors that broad­cast­ers and me­dia com­pa­nies have to fo­cus on in or­der to re­tain their au­di­ences in the long term, es­pe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tion who ex­pect great qual­ity and in­for­ma­tion pre­sented in a fast, ac­cu­rate and in­ter­est­ing way - and this is where we def­i­nitely can pro­vide the most value to our clients.”

Apart from hav­ing a pro­fes­sional TV-pro­gramme pro­duc­tion team, sta­tions are now tasked with build­ing so­cial me­dia teams to cre­ate and pub­lish com­pelling sto­ries, util­is­ing video and in­ter­ac­tive, high-qual­ity graph­ics which can be re­pur­posed from on-air to on­line and so­cial me­dia chan­nels, such as of­fi­cial web­sites, Twit­ter, Face­book and In­sta­gram.

In Thai­land, Vizrt is al­ready work­ing with most of the ma­jor broad­cast­ers, such as Chan­nel 3, which has been their client since they were and ana­logue chan­nel and Vizrt is now of­fer­ing one-stop so­lu­tions for four of their chan­nels. Other clients in­clude Chan­nel 5, Chan­nel 7, True Corp, PPTV, and Thai PBS. Ms Yu­pa­pak jok­ingly refers to Thairath TV as their na­tional show­room since they have al­ready im­ple­mented most of Vizrt’s lat­est tech­nolo­gies.

“One of our faster grow­ing coun­tries in In­dochina is cur­rently Myan­mar. Since they opened up the coun­try we’ve been ob­serv­ing sev­eral im­prove­ments to the in­fra­struc­ture and their me­dia ca­pa­bil­i­ties. There is sig­nif­i­cant growth in the coun­try, which will help it be­come a re­gional pow­er­house in the long run.

I’m per­son­ally very ex­cited to be work­ing with our part­ners there and one of our key projects is cur­rently the re­brand­ing of MRTV, the only sta­te­owned TV chan­nel. The first phase of the re­brand­ing started two years ago be­cause we had al­ready been a tech­nol­ogy provider to them, so they asked for our as­sis­tance. The project cov­ers ev­ery­thing from logo de­sign to mod­ernising how they present graph­ics. We’ve now en­tered the sec­ond phase with the sup­port of the newly elected gov­ern­ment and the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion.”

In eye­ing the fu­ture, Ms Yu­pa­pak con­sid­ers dig­i­tal pub­lish­ing as a key driver for growth, and says Vizrt is de­vel­op­ing an on­line pro­duc­tion suite, which can serve as a dig­i­tal pub­lish­ing plat­form and a con­tent pro­duc­tion tool.

“We be­lieve that aug­mented re­al­ity and vir­tual re­al­ity will be­come even more im­por­tant in the me­dia land­scape in the near fu­ture, and we are also im­ple­ment­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in our prod­uct line. The me­dia in­dus­try con­tin­ues to de­velop and so must we keep in­no­vat­ing and de­vel­op­ing our prod­ucts, grow­ing along­side our part­ners. Their suc­cess is ul­ti­mately what will de­ter­mine our suc­cess, too.”

PHOTO: VIZRT

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