Broadcastpro – Page 2 – Virtual BroadcastPro Tech Webinar | 27 July 2023 | Online

Iridium Communications Inc. has announced that Iridium Certus 200 service is now available for maritime, land mobile, and government markets. This service is designed to offer uncompressed transmission speeds up to 176 Kbps and up to three voice lines through a small and lightweight antenna.

This is an expansion of the Iridium Certus L-band broadband offerings for mobility customers.

The first products available for the Iridium Certus 200 service class are the Thales VesseLINK 200 for maritime and Thales MissionLINK 200 for land-based applications. In early 2022 the Lars Thrane LT-4200 maritime terminal will be introduced to the market, as well as multiple Iridium Certus 200 aviation terminals, targeting both late 2021 and early 2022.

Speaking about the launch, Bryan Hartin, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Iridium, said: “Iridium Certus is a powerful connectivity platform, providing the flexibility for our partners to develop specialised terminals that enhance different capabilities across all industries. Iridium Certus 200 fills an important gap in our broadband portfolio, offering a more affordable product and service class, with reliable connectivity that will expand to more markets.”

Iridium Certus is the advanced L-band broadband solution, offering the flexibility to scale device speeds, sizes and power requirements both up and down based on the needs of the end-user. Made possible by the upgraded Iridium satellite constellation, the Iridium Certus service goes beyond serving solely as a connectivity solution. It provides a platform for the company’s partners to develop specialised broadband, mid-band and narrowband applications made possible by Iridium’s crosslinked L-band network.

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Shahid VIP has announced the MENA premiere of Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight. The documentary about the former Nissan chairman will debut on the streaming platform on July 8, 2021.

A joint production by MBC Studios and France-based international production house, Alef One, Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight showcases the full story of Ghosn, the former CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

After being charged with financial crimes, he stunned the world with a Hollywood-worthy escape from Japan. But what triggered Ghosn’s downfall from industry leader to international fugitive? Is there truth to his claims of a corporate conspiracy? The documentary – directed by filmmaker Nick Green – sheds light on this multi-layered story.

Speaking about the documentary, Nick Green said: “Intercutting Carlos Ghosn’s narrative with that of his supporters provides a sense of immediacy and access from inside this ‘David vs Goliath’ fight against what he refers to as ‘an injustice’. But this is a story for which there are different points of view. For Carlos to give full disclosure and tell the story entirely in his own words will leave the whole world gasping.”

The worldwide premiere of the documentary took place at Sheffield DocFest 2021 earlier this month.

Filmed across locations in Lebanon, France, Japan, England and South Africa, Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight not only offers exclusive access to Ghosn’s story in his own words – as well as through other interviews and archival footage – but also to his wife, Carole.

Green explained: “The other key protagonist of this story is Carole Ghosn. Her ability to make him change and her fight to defend him. None of us know what it is like to run a multi-billion-dollar, global industry, but we all understand the importance of love and feeling secure in a family environment. Carole’s story provides further insight. Fundamentally, I don’t see this as a business story. It’s a human story and her testimony will give the narrative a quality we can all understand.”

For executive producer Nora Melhli, Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight shows “both sides of Carlos Ghosn; the public and personal figure crushed by a system he thought he was controlling. For the first time, he confesses.”

She continued: “Throughout the narrative interviews with Ghosn and his wife Carole, as well as colleagues of Nissan or Renault, politicians, journalists and former Japanese lawyers and prosecutors, the audience will have a direct access to all the elements and perspectives of this incredible story to make its own opinion on it.”

On choosing Green to lead the project, Melhli stated: “We chose Nick Green to direct our film as we are fascinated by his work, and especially with his approach of unusual characters in Putin: A Russian Spy Story, and A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad. Beyond the story and its many stakeholders, each with political and financial interests, this film aims to be an X-ray of the world we live in. We shot the film in five different countries, which was a real challenge due to the health context: Lebanon, France, Japan, England and South Africa. We even had to remotely shoot some of the film’s sequences, jetlag between UK and Japan is eight hours… Nick had to direct the Japanese shooting during his nights in London.”

Since 2018, when she co-founded Alef One, Melhli has been developing compelling projects for France and other international markets.

Following its premiere on Shahid VIP, Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight will be shown on the BBC later this year.

Peter Smith, Managing Director of MBC Studios, remarked: “Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight is one of our most anticipated productions this year, and it’s easy to see why. With exclusive access to Ghosn and some of those close to him, it is a compelling documentary that tells his side of the story that the public hasn’t heard in great detail yet. Given the nature of events, this is a production that will appeal beyond the MENA region, which is part of our mission at MBC Studios – to showcase MENA-focused stories to the rest of the world. We have more films and series of international appeal in the pipeline with MBC Studios. Stay tuned.”

Joining Green and Melhli in this project are a number of notable talents, including Samuel R Santana – Editor (The Rise of The Murdoch Dynasty), Lily Fletcher – Producer (Path of Blood), Duane McClunie – Director of Photography (Gunned Down), Tom Howe – Music Composer (award-winner who has scored over 80 Emmy and BAFTA-winning dramas and documentaries), and Paul Gardner – Archive Producer (Bohemian Rhapsody).

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Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has issued 1,082 licenses thus far to investors in the Kingdom’s entertainment sector through its digital platform, Entertainment Gate.

Entertainment Gate is a digital platform that facilitates procedures for investors and companies working in the sector to apply for licenses, permits and accreditation certificates for specialised activities and services.

Through the platform, permits may be obtained from the GEA to organise entertainment activities in the Kingdom.

The launch of Entertainment Gate was part of the Kingdom’s efforts to offer online services to investors to make it easier for them to operate in the country.

The digital gate has implemented 23,238 procedures, while the number of applications it received totalled 10,541.

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Vodafone Ghana has partnered with video-on-demand content provider, Best of Africa TV, to launch a new video streaming service.

BOA-TV service offers customers unlimited access to movies, television series, documentaries and other shows.   

With this partnership, Vodafone Ghana customers will have access to premium video content with a daily or weekly subscription fee using their airtime as payment. 

Commenting on the latest addition to Vodafone Ghana’s portfolio of value-added services, Commercial Business Unit Director, Pushpinder Gujral said: “Digitalisation has altered the way we do everything including consumption of entertainment, and we are committed to partnering the continent’s best players to deliver top-notch entertainment for our customers. This focus has culminated in our partnership with the BOA-TV service which boasts quality African movies and series at very affordable rates for our customers’ viewing pleasure and relaxation. Aside from its sheer affordability and flexible subscription modules, the service is super-convenient, giving customers the opportunity to access entertainment on the go, anytime and anywhere from the comfort of their smart devices.”

Michael Djaba, Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Best of Africa, added: “My partners Cynthia N Stephens & Eric Stephens from CEM Media are focused on giving customers value for money whilst giving filmmakers a platform to showcase their work and generate revenue. So, working with a world-class brand like Vodafone is a testament to ensuring our BOA app reaches the most eyeballs with great content. Our lineup has Reality TV shows and Drama Series starring the biggest talent on the continent like Juliet Ibrahim, Omotola Jalade Ekeiende and Jim Iyke.”

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Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat) has announced its intention to proceed with an initial public offering (IPO) of part of its existing shares and to apply for admission of all of its shares to listing and trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX).

Mubadala, the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned investment company, will remain a majority shareholder in Yahsat. Around 30% of Yahsat’s shares will be made available to individuals and other investors in the UAE, as part of the UAE retail offering, and to qualified institutional and other investors, as part of the qualified investor offering.

Speaking about the plan, Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of UAE Investments at Mubadala and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Yahsat, said: “Mubadala takes pride in the creation of Yahsat, and is proud of its position as one of the world’s leading fixed and mobile satellite communication providers, through its high calibre of talented UAE and international experts. In line with our mandate to drive technological transformation and economic diversification of the UAE, we strive to develop a world-class innovation and technology-driven ecosystem that attracts investment in Abu Dhabi and the UAE more broadly. We believe the listing of Yahsat on Abu Dhabi’s Stock Exchange further reiterates our role in contributing to the growth of the UAE economy.”

Ali Al Hashemi, Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat, added: “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in Yahsat’s journey as we continue to build on our strong national and international partnerships and invest in new technologies to drive future growth. We believe we have established a strong and proven operational and financial track record over the years and look forward to welcoming new investors to participate in Yahsat’s growth story.”

The IPO and subsequent listing are currently expected to take place in Q3 of 2021, subject to market conditions and obtaining relevant regulatory approvals.

First Abu Dhabi Bank, Merrill Lynch International and Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc have been appointed as joint global co-ordinators while Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, EFG Hermes and HSBC are joint bookrunners. First Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank is the lead receiving bank.

The IPO has been declared Sharia compliant by the Internal Sharia Supervision Committee of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited.

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OSN and PUBG Mobile, a multi-player video game, are exploring synergies in a first-of-its-kind partnership in the MENA region. The deal will see players of PUBG Mobile secure exclusive opportunities to access OSN Streaming App’s premium entertainment and original content.

PUBG Mobile, the original mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is the record-breaking battle royale video game with 1bn downloads. The game is ranks on the top for the most downloaded game in 100+ countries.

OSN Streaming App recently delivered an enhanced user experience with new features, including multiple profiles for friends and family, a new dedicated kids section with parental control, and improved search and discovery.

PUBG Mobile fans and community members can earn rewards on OSN Streaming App by playing the video game. To start earning rewards, PUBG Mobile players only need to click on the little present box on the right-hand side in the bottom corner, to open the events page where players can claim OSN rewards.

Speaking about the partnership, Zahra Zayat, Senior VP, OTT Digital & Telco, OSN said: “This first step into the gaming territory with PUBG Mobile is a landmark milestone for OSN’s growth ambition in the entertainment industry consolidating content, gaming and others. The MENA Region is home to a highly engaged gaming audience, with gaming unlocking exponential growth, fifty times the OTT potential! We are confident that the synergy exists between entertainment and gaming especially with content, movies and series, based on popular games and vice versa. This presents a huge opportunity for both brands to bring together viewers and gamers to enjoy an immersive experience in a truly interactive way. The partnership between OSN and PUBG Mobile is the first of several between OSN and the leading gaming brand, cementing OSN’s continued dedication to unlocking opportunities and delivering new and exciting experiences for OSN Streaming App viewers.”

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American singer and songwriter Taylor Swift is set to make a comeback on screen, collaborating with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek in David O Russell’s upcoming movie.

The unnamed film will also feature actors Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Zoe Saldana and more.

This movie will be the director’s first feature since his 2015 film, Joy, with Jennifer Lawrence.

2020 Golden Globes award winner Malek, best known for his performance of the band Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, has also starred in critically acclaimed TV thriller drama Mr Robot.

Swift, the 11-time Grammy winner, has previously acted in movies such as Valentine’s DayThe Giver and Cats

The release date of the film is yet to be announced.

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Satellite service provider Overon has expanded its capacity contract at Eutelsat’s 10 degrees East orbital position. 

The multi-year, multi transponder contract for Ku wide-beam resources includes incremental capacity from 2023 onwards compared with the current contract. Overon will leverage the Eutelsat 10A satellite, with a provision to transfer to Eutelsat 10B once it enters service. This capacity will support EUMETSAT, the European operational satellite agency for monitoring weather, climate, and the environment from space.

The capacity is located at 10° East, one of Eutelsat’s long-standing orbital locations and a key position for data networks with coverage of the European, Middle Eastern and African zones.

Commenting on the agreement, Philippe Oliva, Chief Commercial Officer of Eutelsat said: “We are delighted to reinforce our relationship with our partner, Overon and support EUMETSAT in its critical weather and climate monitoring missions. This contract expansion reflects the unmatched coverage of the 10° East orbital position, and we look forward to enabling them to leverage our next-generation Eutelsat 10B”.

Alberto Via, CEO of Overon added: “In our increasingly weather-dependent society, satellite data is indispensable for the National Meteorological Services to forecast the weather at all ranges and produce data that influences social and economic wellbeing. We are proud to support EUMETSAT in this critical work, and to be able to rely on Eutelsat to procure the optimum in-orbit resources they require.”

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Canadian company ARHT Media Inc., in conjunction with its exclusive local distributor NMK Electronics, demonstrated its HoloPresence technology at the Dubai World Trade Centre last week as part of a two-day event.

On June 16 and 17, ARHT Media featured back-to-back demonstrations of HoloPresence, where presenters appeared life-sized and lifelike in 3D with no noticeable latency.

The technology is designed for professional services organisations such as investment banks, accounting firms, consulting companies and law firms, as well as for the healthcare industry to deliver remote health care services and to educate medical practitioners. It is also used by technology and communication companies to demonstrate the possibilities around 5G technology in universities and the entertainment industry. It also enables enterprises to host digital interactions with employees, clients, investors or other stakeholders without the need for travel.

“The feedback from UAE guests has been tremendous. There is so much happening in the region and everyone is looking for ground breaking technology to enhance their business, increase their efficiency, reduce travel costs etc and our technology enables all three of these goals,” Larry O’Reilly, CEO of ARHT Media told BroadcastPro ME.

“We have done activations in the region including at the World Government Summit with the Crown Prince, conducted pharmaceutical education for doctors here from product specialists in Canada, as well as a major financial conference. There will be very many more to come based on the feedback this week.”

Also citing a major global win, O’Reilly said: “WeWork (an American commercial real estate company) is installing our technology in 100 locations globally. We captured the former President of France for an event in Korea last week; our technology was used by Art Basel Hong Kong to beam in gallerists from Singapore, Geneva and New York, and we just completed an eight-part medical education seminar with experts from Turkey and the US beaming into seven countries in Asia – and all of this has happened in the past couple of weeks.”

He added that although elements of the product were developed six years ago, it has been significantly refined over the last couple of years.

“The HoloPod display itself was just introduced in November 2020 with the online presentation Virtual Global Stage (VGS) in March 2020, so the heart of what is being presented now is all relatively new,” he added.

A live HoloPresence presentation event, on a rental basis starts at US$30,000 (beaming someone from anywhere in the world) and a permanent HoloPod Display is US$60,000 for a permanent installation.

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News was big during Covid. Can you share figures on how CNN fared, and which platforms did better? How are you changing your strategy to suit the new normal?

CNN has more unique visitors and multi-platform video viewers than any news organisation in the world. With such an intense news cycle in 2020 and news pouring in from all over the globe, users turned to CNN in historic numbers. In 2020, CNN reached its largest digital audience in history, averaging more than 200m global unique users a month on CNN platforms.

How are new technologies changing journalism, and what role does smart engineering play in the new media landscape?

Technology has been at the core of journalism since its inception. From the printing press to radio to TV, and now the internet, modern media consumption is changing faster than many media organisations can handle. The media industry faces pressure from audiences to deliver best-in-class product experiences, competition in the advertising market against the major social platforms, and attacks on integrity around the truthfulness of their editorial content. As a result, many media organisations have rushed to debut shiny gimmicks, but it’s the engineers and technologists who are behind the advancements and who are pushing boundaries on what is possible. They have the vital role of bringing journalists’ great stories to audiences in a way that’s fast, smart, easy to access and sustainable. The best consumer experiences are built by hiring amazing user experience teams – from product managers to designers to engineers – who love to move the needle forward.

Robyn Peterson says the priority today is to build innovative experiences for the end user.

Do you think the future of news formats is mobile? Where does CNN stand in this regard?

Mobile isn’t just our future; it is our present. The majority of users come to CNN on mobile devices, and have for some time. News is always breaking, and the smartphone is critical to worldwide user news consumption and experiences. Almost everything else is supplementary to the phone. That said, consumer experiences can be multi-device, and each device has its role that may vary from user to user. Someone may prefer headlines and alerts on their phone, then dive into features on a laptop, but catch up on long-form video on their smart TV. Knowing your consumers, and how they want to consume your content, is a vital prerequisite to building the best consumer experiences to satisfy their needs.

What are your thoughts on the vertical format? Is this something you already have or are considering?

From a mobile point of view, vertical layouts are certainly something we explore as we look to bring our content and products to users in a variety of formats. But it’s something we want to be smart about, taking into consideration the space and how we use it. It’s not just about making sure the content fits in the aspect ratio; it’s more about what content is on the screen and what the user interface is like.

How is AI being used within your organisation?

The democratisation of artificial intelligence, including personalisation and machine learning, is going to be critical in the advancement of digital news products and experiences – especially since audiences now have some baseline expectation for customisation. It’s not only about creating content to meet a one-size-fits-all experience anymore; rather, it’s about how that content can be delivered and the intelligence behind that distribution. And a great experience extends to making the best environment for advertisers and brands, who are eager to deliver positive, great experiences to their customers.

“The democratisation of artificial intelligence, including personalisation and machine learning, is going to be critical in the advancement of digital news products and experiences – especially since audiences now have some baseline expectation for customisation” – Robyn Peterson, CTO, CNN

As a CTO, what are some of the challenges in newsrooms today? How are you addressing them?

In today’s world, it’s all about the user and building innovative experiences inherently for them. Users are going to continue to demand and expect instantaneous, personally relevant and seamless experiences whenever they want it and wherever they are. So most of the challenges we face require us to think about what these product innovations are going to be, and how are we going to develop them.

We prioritise innovation and growth above everything else to meet these demands, and have an acute awareness that we must continue investing heavily in a product and technology team that supports not just the newsroom, but the entire organisation. To ensure our success, we have built – and continue to build – a cross-functional and holistic group that works to power user experiences, allowing people all over the world the ability to engage with our journalism, storytelling and services. The task of breaking down the walls between our content, audiences and advertisers is one of our biggest challenges, but it is what we constantly work at to ensure the best needs and interests are delivered to our users.

Leo Tucker-Brown.

Leo Tucker-Brown shares the latest developments at CNN in Abu Dhabi

CNN has had a TV studio in the UAE for over a decade now, and our technology has evolved over that time. Older digital and HD systems have now given way to more sophisticated IP-based systems, giving us a smart and flexible road to the future. Those technologies have also enabled us to seamlessly communicate with our other bureaus and field teams.

We will soon be moving to a brand-new facility in the new Yas Creative Hub, so we’re currently planning our new presence there, which is tremendously exciting. This will be a major investment for us in the region. It will be great to be at the centre of the media community at the Hub, and the blank canvas there gives us some exciting opportunities to work with. Watch this space.

One key thing that distinguishes us from other news organisations is definitely our field anchoring, which is something our Abu Dhabi-based team specialises in. We often take the studio to the story, which enables us to give our viewers that front-row seat on history that CNN is renowned for.

In practice, that means employing a mix of new IP technology with tried-and-trusted cellular and satellite comms techniques. Every news story is a learning experience in that regard, and we are always evolving our approach. In recent years, our UAE-based team has covered stories such as the Pope’s visit to the UAE, elections in Israel and Iran, the Special Olympics and more, all anchoring in the field.

CNN’s engineering expertise has been forged in some often quite extreme situations, whether that is in a conflict zone or a natural disaster, or in the restrictive security environment of a political summit or other global event. That constantly pays dividends for us when we’re looking for solutions to the kind of unexpected problems that field anchoring throws up.

As a global network, CNN has had to respond to Covid all over the world in different ways. Here in the UAE, while we faced some logistical hurdles during the early lockdown, we were back into the bureau relatively quickly. We’ve been broadcasting CTW from our Abu Dhabi programming hub since July, which is almost unique within our international network, albeit with staff working a blended schedule to ensure Covid protocols are met.

Many of our colleagues in other countries are still working from home, and we have anchored high-profile shows from people’s living rooms, often for many months. Those same field engineering techniques have come into their own in that situation. For a show like Connect the World, we’re working with colleagues out on assignment, but also working from home in Atlanta, London and New York, and then in our bureaus and studios too. It’s an extraordinary logistical challenge, but the working practices we’ve evolved function incredibly smoothly. We have barely missed a beat.

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