The IBC Daily speaks to Fergal Ringrose, Chair of Judges for the IBC2023 Innovation Awards, to find out more about this year’s awards, including who’s on the shortlist and how to attend this year’s ceremony.
Tell us about the Innovation Awards: What do they recognise and why?
The IBC Innovation Awards celebrate the spirit of co-operation and collaboration. They are presented to the end user of the winning project – the broadcaster or media company that started with a requirement and who brought together the technology partners to find an exciting solution.
Fergal Ringrose, Chair of Judges for the IBC2023 Innovation Awards
At the same time, those technology partners are also celebrated and honoured for their contribution to a co-operative process which delivered the successful result. To win an IBC Innovation Award, an entrant has to show that the commissioning company worked closely with technology partners to deliver a clever, appropriate and innovative solution to a real business, technical or creative issue.
There are three Award categories: Content Creation, Content Distribution and Content Everywhere.
Content Creation: Whatever the size of the screen and wherever you choose to watch it, what audiences want is great content. This award recognises projects which give creative talents the tools they need, from acquisition to post production.
Content Distribution: Great content is no use if it does not reach the eyes and ears of the consumer. This award celebrates the best new ways to manage content and connect creators and consumers, or creators and their collaborators.
Content Everywhere: Consumers today expect to be engaged wherever they are, on whatever device is to hand. This award celebrates the connected experience – it might be an app, a delivery strategy or the internet of things. To win this award, the project will make the most of the connected world, using technology to engage and excite audiences.
There was a huge number of entries this year. How did you go about creating the longlist?
Yes, that’s true – and many, many projects were prepared for entry on the IBC Innovation Awards platform but not actually submitted by the published deadline. In the end, a colossal 273 project entries were submitted: 122 in Content Creation, 85 in Content Creation and 66 for Content Everywhere. It was a daunting task to reduce this number down to the longlists: 22 for Content Creation, 20 for Content Distribution and 14 for Content Everywhere.
As a group of judges, the primary guiding principal at all times was strict adherence to the published guidelines which have been in place for many years and are familiar to the industry. Firstly, the IBC Innovation Awards are not product awards. Nominations for new technology or products without an end user are rejected at the first stage. So too are sales of standard products or services which involve no collaborative development and implementation.
The IBC Innovation Awards celebrate the partnership between technology companies and their customers. Each award is presented to the end user company, but the honour is shared with their technical supporters. Entrants are asked to be clear about who the end user is, the way in which technical partners and users collaborated to develop the solution, and how the project has helped them.
Thirteen companies made the shortlist across three categories. Can you tell us about those projects and why they stood out in terms of innovation?
This year’s shortlist of the most prestigious projects in Content Creation comprises: Fox Sports live multi-camera extended reality (XR) set, replacing the existing NFL on Fox set in Los Angeles. RTVE Spain for Hiperia, its first audiovisual content created 100% by artificial intelligence.
The BBC and partners for the world’s largest pop-up 5G standalone non-public network for live broadcast contributions using shared spectrum, deployed for the Coronation of HM King Charles III.
Riot Games for its Remote Broadcast Centre, Project Stryker, powered by AWS, a groundbreaking approach to esports content production and broadcasting. And Formula E, for its onboard in-car broadcasting technology with Timeline Television and Domo Broadcast Systems.
In the Content Distribution category, the finalists are: ITV UK for introducing AI-led automation of segmentation and QC workflows with Prime Focus Technologies. Cellcom Israel, which joined forces with Viaccess-Orca and Broadpeak to stream live sports with super-low latency.
TelevisaUnivision, harnessing LTN live event versioning technology to deliver language-tailored live sports coverage on ViX, its streaming platform for global Spanish-speaking audiences. And Sky Group’s cloud-native software playout platform for the origination of linear content TV channels across European territories.
The organisations on the Content Everywhere shortlist are: Sport TV App, which captured a whole new level of audience engagement for the Portuguese sports broadcaster. Sky Sports, which for the first time delivered full access to Formula 1 onboard cameras and launched the new Battle Channel this season.
Kan, which changed the way Israel watched FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Eurovision Song Contest 2023 with Sport Buff real-time interactive engagement. And TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport), which looked to the cloud to create a significant broadcasting milestone for the UEFA Youth League.
The Innovation Awards winners will be announced at IBC2023. What can we expect from this year’s ceremony?
The winners of the IBC2023 Innovation Awards in the Content Creation, Distribution and Everywhere categories will be announced at a ceremony in IBC’s Premier Lounge at 18:00 on Sunday 17 September. Everyone is welcome to attend.