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CASE WORK: Minding Your Business
by by John Graham

Inventive use of satellites for major tourism promotions, Annual General Meetings, corporate dinners on live hook up, and prize draws are all part of a growing transmission demand for GlobeCast Australia.

From Port Moresby to Perth, business TV satellite transmissions nationally and internationally for major clients including ANZ and Lihir Gold have been successfully delivered by GlobeCast Australia in recent weeks. In 2009, more companies are selecting these technical solutions as a less expensive and highly effective alternative to road shows or national conferences.

Lihir conducted its Annual General Meeting in Papua, New Guinea, with GlobeCast Australia uplinking the proceedings on AsiaSat 2 and Thomson Reuters distributed the meeting as a webcast available to shareholders throughout the world — plus, webcast participants could also phone in and email questions. Dr. Ross Garnaut, Chairman, Lihir Gold said: “Welcome to many shareholders on every continent — except perhaps Antarctica — who have the opportunity to join with us today through electronic means. This is the first time we and perhaps any company has followed this process for an annual general meeting to allow direct involvement in the proceedings by shareholders everywhere.”

GlobeCast Australia used a 2.4m Advent Mantis flyaway antenna with phase combined 400 watt amplifiers, Tandberg E5740 encoder modulators and baseband distribution and monitoring. Uplinked was a 4.5Mbs video and audio service, down-linked off AS2 at a dish on the roof of Thomson Reuters Sydney offices, where GlobeCast Australia installed Tandberg TT1260 decoders on site for the duration of the event. Thomson Reuters then converted the content for the live web stream. The satellite flyaway kit was deployed to Port Moresby with two engineers who worked closely with producers to ensure logistics and delivery. The vagaries of international gear freight led to the equipment taking longer to reach this country, just north of Australia, than a kit that was sent from Australia to Costa Rica! GlobeCast Australia also used the resources of Port Moresby’s Pacific View Multi Media to locally hire other necessary kits, including cameras, lighting, and audio.

Fresh from the successful Lihir broadcast, the GlobeCast Australia team deployed to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth for a 5-City live satellite hook up for Top Four Bank ANZ’s Budget Night Dinner and Analysis, for participants at major hotels. Using Optus D2, both Sydney and Melbourne were broadcasting and receiving various speeches and performances, while other cities were able to watch the evening live. ANZ CEO Brian Hartzer noted it was “cutting edge” to be live via satellite to key ANZ clients at dinners in five cities.

DSNG vehicles with Tandberg encoders and decoders on board were on location in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, while TVRO sites were set up in Adelaide and Perth. Sydney and Melbourne, using Advent Newswift antennae, uplinked 9Mbs video and audio services to Optus D2. The Sydney contribution feed was integrated in Melbourne by outside broadcast company On-Site Broadcasting for downlink and projection onto the installed big screens in the five target cities.

All locations were inner city, predominantly five star hotels, so positioning the antennae to see D2 led to inventive cable and fiber runs at most of the locations. The client described the satellite up-linking and smooth delivery as “awesome”. All feeds were monitored by GlobeCast Australia’s 24/7/365 Master Control and Teleport. In 2008, the facility moved more than one million hours of content.

GlobeCast Australia is known for its international broadcast clients, including all major terrestrial networks and leading pay television companies such as BskyB, FOXTEL, and Sky New Zealand. GlobeCast Australia moves more than 120 channels in and out of Australia, in addition to its ad hoc satellite and fibre bookings for sport and news. However, business television projects such as the ANZ and Lihir Gold transmissions are also becoming an increasingly important segment of the Company’s activities.

GlobeCast Australia Commercial Manager John Graham said the same skills that appeal to its broadcast clients give reassurance to corporate clients, most of whom have little knowledge of, and significant fear of, technology, particularly in a live environment. Extra technical explanation and assurance is usually necessary. Also, given the business environment, their signals are encrypted if such is required.

Graham said other business TV clients over the past two months alone have included Monash University, Tag Heuer, National Australia Bank, IG Markets, Commonwealth Bank, Crown Casino, Burswood Casino, and Microsoft. GlobeCast Australia was used for various corporate transmissions by these firms, including product launches, medical procedures, prize draws, and staffing announcements.

Client needs are widely varied. GlobeCast Australia carries a full time channel for National Australia Bank, distributed on Optus D2 to the bank’s 850 branches. For Tag Heuer, the Company transmitted a live Q&A with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton from Melbourne to the International Watch and Jewellery Exhibition in Basel, Switzerland. “In addition to its broadcast excellence, covering everything from major sport to news, GlobeCast Australia specialises in venue to venue transmission for corporate clients, including annual general meetings, investor briefings, events, promotions and staff communication. Clients include manufacturers, medical companies and organizations, finance and mining companies,” according to Graham.

Another innovation implemented in 2008 involved GlobeCast Australia equipping more than 50 cinemas with 1.5m Johnsa antennae to receive various broadcasts, live, onto their big screens — this content ranged from conferences to opera to ballet to children’s concerts .

ABC TV, The Australia Council for the Arts, and The Australian Ballet presented Firebird and other legends live from the Sydney Opera House for almost three hours on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, and also broadcast the event on television.

The Firebird ballets were broadcast live to eight remote locations: Federation Square in Melbourne, Albany in Western Australia, Hervey Bay in Queensland, Devonport in Tasmania, Port Augusta in South Australia, Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, and Yarram in Victoria. The ballet was then broadcast on a slight time delay on ABC2 Digital nationally. This broadcast follows several similar events in recent months which ranged from La Boheme last October, to The Wiggles Children’s Christmas Show in December, both to various cinemas throughut Australia.

Another major GlobeCast Australia project in May received worldwide attention. GlobeCast Australia was the exclusive uplink provider for Tourism Queensland’s Best Job in the World campaign off Hamilton Island in early May.

GlobeCast Australia mobilized the key HD unit in its DSNG fleet. GlobeCast Australia’s DSNG facilities, fiber, and satellite connectivity and 24/7/365 Master Control and Teleport were a key component of feeding the tourism pictures to the world. Via the GlobeCast Australia uplink, there were 2 x 9 Mbs services daily for domestic and international Best Job in the World pool feeds via Reuters to broadcasters internationally, via fibre to Los Angeles and London, and on satellites including Optus D2, AsiaSat 2, Eutelsat W1 and Intelsat-9. There were also live and tape unilateral requirements for broadcasters from visiting countries including France, Singapore and Canada.

Asia Pacific broadcasters taking unilateral feeds and conducting lives included Australia’s Sky News Australia, SBS, 7, 9 and 10 Networks; New Zealand’s TVNZ and TV3; Japan’s Fuji TV, Tokyo Broadcasting System and Nippon TV and China’s CCTV. American broadcasters taking feeds and live interviews included CBS, ABC, FOX and CNN, while in the U.K. both the BBC and ITV had bookings. Germany’s ARD, N24, and RTL also acquired unilateral coverage.

“Amidst intense interest, we handled around 100 individual bookings to 10 different countries in three days and all feeds were delivered cleanly and to schedule,” according to Mr. Graham. “This was a tremendous example of first class broadcast infrastructure ensuring widespread coverage for a Business TV client, Tourism Queensland, wanting to connect its message with mainstream media.”

GlobeCast Australia’s next key project is just as exciting. For the past eight years, GlobeCast Australia has been providing transmission facilities for Granada’s production of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, which it produces in Australia for British broadcaster ITV. NBC is producing a U.S. version of the show and the GlobeCast Australia team will be on location in Costa Rica, bringing its expertise to the broadcast. Once again deploying its flyaway facilities, and this time using capacity on Intelsat IS-9 and IS-805, the engineers will be on location in Costa Rica through June. “Whether you’re a celebrity, a channel, or a company, for GlobeCast Australia, it’s all second nature to deliver,” Graham said.

About the author
John Graham is GlobeCast Australia’s Commercial Manager. He joined in July 2008 after more than 20 years at five major Asia Pacific broadcasters, most recently as General Manager Production and Sales for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation until June 2008. Before he joined the ABC in 2001, Graham was Head of Programming at Optus Television, and he has also worked as a television news executive and journalist at Australia’s Ten Network and Television New Zealand.