Eurovision Media Services is involved production and broadcast services through to content distribution. Chief Operating Officer Graham Warren explains more about the business. 

For more than 60 years, Eurovision Media Services (EMS) – the business arm of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – has been at the forefront of technological advancements when it comes to handling sports, news and entertainment content. EMS provides services across the value chain from content production and broadcast services to content distribution and permanent circuits. Chief Operating Officer Graham Warren explains more.

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Graham Warren

What would you say that makes EMS unique?

Whether it’s over satellite, fibre or IP, we deliver thousands of hours of premium live sports, news and cultural events each year. Our unique selling point is our ability to understand media organisations better than most.

We have an unparalleled network – 73 members in 56 countries in Europe and an additional 34 Associate Members in Asia, Africa and the Americas. This diversity drives us to foster a culture of innovation that leads to the development of new products and services that meet the needs of our members and clients.

What are you doing differently from what you did last year?

This year we are much more focused on platforms. Personalisation has become a key aspect of today’s programming and we see more integration than ever before between the linear and non-linear world. We’re placing more emphasis this year on helping our clients – sports federations and media organisations – to focus on their audiences and deliver additional content online and through social media in addition to their traditional channels.

What have been the highlights for EMS since IBC2016?

Since IBC2016, we’ve been busy. To name just a few of our activities, in October we provided host broadcasting and tailor-made services to the 2016 Road World Championships in Doha. Then there was the US election of Donald J. Trump where our teams helped media organisations to deliver 24/7 programming live from key sites.

Earlier this year, we also managed the global multiplatform media rights and provided a wide range of services for the International Biathlon World Cups and this summer we were the host broadcaster for the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest and Balatonfüred.

How is the role of a media services provider changing?

The media industry is rapidly changing. As media organisations move online to offer additional on-demand services to audiences, it’s clear that data is the currency to watch. We have the technical means to make additional content and data available to our clients in the highest quality so they can then enhance their offerings to audiences online.

Are you introducing any new products this year? If so, what distinguishes this new product from others already on the market?

Today, nearly anyone can send their content over the internet. But this is not a full solution for media organisations who need to receive their content in broadcast compliant formats that can be used on different devices.

Eurovision FLEX – our latest self-managed digital transmission tool – allows a cameraman to send live and recorded content directly through their Eurovision FLEX encoder over the Internet to a Eurovision FLEX receiver at their HQ or any standard broadcast receiver using our Media Access Gateway.

In addition, we have now created a Eurovision FLEX Platform so that media organisations can easily execute complex workflows and manage their own live transmissions.

What technology trends do you feel are doing the most to shape the media landscape?

We saw a new generation of immersive media technologies come to market recently. VR, AR and 360-degree video gained momentum but we’re still waiting to see the impact and emergence of more content.

The industry is starting to embrace more cloud based services and software defined products. And the next generation of IP-based studios and broadcast facilities are starting to take shape. The challenge for media organisations is now to leverage these developments.

What is your outlook for the next year?

Full of potential. In August 2018, we will be the broadcast partner and host broadcaster for a new major multi-sport event – the European Championships. Seven European Federations, two Host Cities (Glasgow and Berlin) and the EBU are working closely together to ensure compelling coverage for an estimated audience of over 1 billion viewers.