The IBC2018 International Honour for Excellence was presented to Joan Ganz Cooney, Co-Founder of Sesame Street. The audience heard that the award was not just for 50 years of inspiring and educational television, but for a continuing commitment into the digital future. In a video message shown during the ceremony she said that she did not want to talk about a legacy “because this is not over”.
As part of the celebrations for the International Honour for Excellence, the audience cheered as Ernie the muppet appeared live on stage. He chatted with Naomi Climer, Chair of the IBC Council and told us that I, B and C are some of his favourite letters!
Ernie was accompanied by Steve Youngwood, President of Media Education and COO of Sesame Workshop. He said “In some ways, the world looks different than when ‘Sesame Street’ was created almost 50 years ago and obviously the media landscape has transformed dramatically.
“I’m happy to say, however, that in an industry dominated by change, Sesame is constantly evolving and still relevant, and Joan’s vision lives on,” he added. “On behalf of Joan Ganz Cooney and everyone at Sesame Workshop, thank you so much for this honour.”
Host for the evening was broadcaster and technology journalist Kate Russell, who pointed out that Joan Ganz Cooney is the first woman to receive the IBC International Honour for Excellence – “and about time,” she quipped.
IBC Innovation Awards
Eurosport and Discovery took the first of the three IBC Innovation Awards, for Content Creation. To immerse audiences in the action from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, they created the Eurosport Cube, surrounding the presenter with LED screens, an idea that proved hugely popular with audiences.
“To receive recognition from IBC compliments the rave reviews the Eurosport Cube received from athletes, the broader Olympic family and viewers across Europe,” said Simon Farnsworth, EVP Technology and Operations, EMEA and APAC, Discovery. “By working alongside such excellent partners, including Whitelight and Deltatre, we were able to deliver the Cube experience to the highest standard.”
Two other projects were shortlisted in this category: CCTV and its technology partner Sobey for its 4K remote production system linking Pyeongchang and Beijing; and Euronews with technology partners Dalet, Adobe and Peaks for the first “glocal” news production system, using automated support to deliver global news to localised audiences.
Medialaan won the IBC2018 Innovation Award for Content Distribution for the genuinely radical idea of making commercial breaks shorter. For its Stievie service, the Belgian network allows subscribers to genuinely catch up, by showing only commercials which are relevant to the individual.
“Medialaan is absolutely delighted to win an IBC Innovation Award, surely the most prestigious prize in broadcast engineering,” said Pieter Coucke, Solution Architect at Medialaan. “I would like to thank Yospace for developing a truly ground-breaking, viewer-first solution for live monetisation, and IBC for recognising what is a very forward-thinking project.”
Winner of the evening’s first award, Eurosport was also a finalist in this category, for its use of the NEP Mediabank asset management solution for the Winter Olympics. The third finalist was Vodafone, which developed with Kaltura a cloud-based platform allowing it to roll out television services anywhere in the world, quickly and cost-effectively.
RTÉ, the Irish national broadcaster, was the winner of the third Innovation Award, for Content Everywhere. It wanted to offer the sophistication of modern OTT platform, on a free-to-air budget. Saorview Connect has proved extremely popular with viewers.
“We are absolutely delighted to have won the IBC Innovation Award for Content Everywhere,” said Richard Waghorn, Director of Transformation and Technology at RTÉ. “We are very proud of what we achieved on the Saorview Connect project with our partners Freesat and EKT. It is a truly innovative service and for it to be recognised by IBC is a credit to the entire team.”
Highly commended alongside RTÉ were two very different projects. ESPN’s Short Stop Live, developed with LiveU and Imagine Communications, gives reporters the ability to go straight to air from a mobile phone. And World Rally Championship now offers views from as many as 75 cameras covering every moment of every special stage with WRC All Live, created with technology partners NEP, AMP Visual TV and Vislink.
Judges’ Prize and Special Award
The international judging panel responsible for the Innovation Awards gave two additional honours this year.
The Judges’ Prize went to Econet Media for Kwesé Play, a bold attempt to bring TV Everywhere services to the tough-to-reach Sub-Saharan Africa region, making local and international content readily available to all. Verimatrix, AWS Elemental and Roku delivered the technology.
Two imaginative creative projects from the BBC collectively were honoured with an IBC Special Award. Civilisations AR is an augmented reality app linked to the landmark arts series, which allowed local and national museums to share more information about the objects in their care. BBC News chose to tell the geopolitical story of a project to dam the Nile in Ethiopia through a journey along the river shot in 360˚ video and immersive audio.
Best Technical Paper
A second award went to BBC R&D, this time for the best technical paper in the conference. The paper, ‘AI in production: video analysis and machine learning for expanded live events coverage’, discusses a project known as ‘Ed’, to create near-live content with minimal crew. An example might be a set of three unmanned 4K cameras, from which ‘Ed’ would produce a number of properly framed HD pictures, cutting between them as appropriate.
“The point of the work is to allow coverage of more events, to reach places we otherwise could not reach,” said Project Lead Mike Evans. “With conventional production we cover only about six of the nearly 100 places music is performed at the Glastonbury Festival, for example, or just a tiny fraction of the 50,000 performances in 300 venues at the Edinburgh Fringe.
“But with ‘Ed’ we can reach many more of these, and do so with production techniques which are much less intrusive for the event itself.”
Exhibition Stand Design Awards
This year’s IBC Exhibition Stand Design Awards were presented on the show floor on Saturday afternoon. The award for the Most Innovative Use of Shell Scheme Space went to INA, for its excellent use of light and the way the stand underlined the importance of archiving for the broadcast industry. Highly Commended in this category were Telmaco and Speechmatics.
With colour clear messaging and creative shapes that bring people together, the prize for the Best Smaller Free Design Stand (less than 100 square metres) went to Paywizard. Both MRMC and Conviva were Highly Commended by the judges.
From the biggest stands, it was Wyplay, with its technologies set into inviting context and excellent networking opportunities, that won the nod from the judges. They also highly commended Viaccess-Orca and Google.