GlobeCast scores with World Cup deals

When the World Cup kicks off on June 9 in Germany it will begin a very busy month for broadcaster s from around the world but an even busier one for GlobeCast, the content delivery and services company that will help some of the world s biggest broadcasters (with some of the most boisterous soccer fans) get broadcast feeds from Germany to viewers at home.

The World Cup will be a watershed event for HD, says Graham Smith, GlobeCast head of sport. Three of our customers, TVGlobo (Brazil), SkyItalia (Italy) and BBC (the UK) are using our services to help deliver HD World Cup coverage.

Sports accounts for roughly 15% of GlobeCast s yearly revenues so there s a lot at stake when it comes to making sure its customers signals are delivered properly. Each client is very different but there are some parallels, says Smith.

The biggest similarity is also indicative of the biggest trend Smith has seen in the industry during the past two or three years: relying on fiber. All sports coverage used to be done via satellite but with more and more fiber becoming available people have overcome early fears of fiber outages, he says. It s so much more cost-effective than satellite for point-to-point needs.

SkyItalia, for example, will rely on GlobeCast for two STM1 fiber links from Munich to Milan. They ll also use an Italian-based HD truck that will be at the dish farm and will provide HD backup via satellite for Italian matches, says Smith.

GlobeCast is also providing fiber connectivity for the BBC, with two STM1 lines between Munich and London and an STM4 line between Munich and Berlin (anSTM4 line has 660 Mbps of capacity). All the rest of the equipment is supplied by the BBC, says Smith.

Meanwhile TVGlobo Brazil s biggest broadcaster will rely on GlobeCast for satellite delivery of signals out of Munich (Ambartel will provide fiber services). Our responsibility is to send contribution feeds back to Brazil and to provide the compression gear and antennas, says Smith who adds it s very similar to services provided for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

And in the deal that shows the depth of GlobeCast s offering, UK-based ITV s needs are a bit more demanding and complex. We ll be providing everything, he says. That includes completely redundant STM1 fiber connectivity (an STM1 link is 155 Mbps, equivalent to four 36MHz transponders) to London, satellite services and even satellite news gathering equipment.

ITV will use the SNG to send back reports from the hotel where the English team is staying as well as from training camp and simply roving around Germany, he says. Tandberg compression gear will play a key role in the SNG transmission and at the dish farms at the International Broadcast Center.

While rights holders get the majority of GlobeCast s attention during the World Cup non-rights holders will also be served. Two stand-up positions will be available in Berlin for networks from around the globe to rent for news reports.

With employees split between Paris, Rome and London Smith says GlobeCast s European sport team has the expertise and knowledge of timelines to get events done efficiently. The hard work for me is doing the deals and making sure they re priced properly, he says. The event itself should be the easy part. It s like decorating a house. By the time you get to putting the paint on the walls the hard part has already been done.