Nevion, T-VIPS Team Up To Preach Value of IP Transport for Sports Production

Norway-based video-transport providers Nevion and T-VIPS made headlines at the IBC show last month with the news that the two companies planned to merge. Now that the dust has settled in Amsterdam, the big question is, how will the new entity impact the transport operations of sports broadcasters and production teams?

“I think sports is right in the sweet spot for both companies, using different compression technologies to transport live sport over IP infrastructures,” says Janne T. Morstøl, COO, T-VIPS. “There are a variety of different technologies that can be used depending on the connect and bandwidth at different sport venues, but, with a new joint company, we will be able to do anything from very low bitrate to very high bitrate in a low-latency, high-quality offering for sport.”

Details on the merger were scarce at IBC, except that the merger, which is still pending regulatory and shareholder approval, is structured as a cash and shares transaction. No further financial details of the deal have been revealed. However, the merger does reflect the growing trend of vendor consolidation in the broadcast market, seen in a seemingly constant flow of merger and acquisition announcements at both the NAB Show and IBC.

The concept of the deal was born just over a year ago when the two companies began exploring ways to integrate their technologies and cooperate.

“The more we talked about this, the more we found that there was very limited overlap between the two companies,” says Nevion CEO Geir Bryn-Jensen, who will serve as CEO of the merged company. “However, when we looked at the future of where the industry was going and where our companies were going, we saw that we would likely become increasingly more fierce competitors. So we opted to merge and create a stronger, even more innovative company that is there for the long haul and will be a key server of the live-sports and live-event business.”

The two companies’ efforts will focus squarely on furthering the penetration of IP transport in the broadcast market, where it has already seen tremendous growth in recent years. In the sports world, the growth of IP transport has played a significant factor in the rise of “@home” production models that allow broadcasters covering major events to leave a large chunk of their technical staff and gear at home, resulting in major cost savings.

“I see remote production is where you are really going to start to see the value of IP; deploying IP technologies for high-quality, low-cost events,” says Bryn-Jensen. “You can use proven IP-management disciplines in order to make these productions more cost-efficient and manage it all remotely. This is really the core of the platform of our Video IPath platform, which is all about lessening the workforce out in the field and remotely managing everything that is happening on-site.”

The Nevion–T-VIPS deal merges the companies’ top executive teams, making it “a true merger in terms of how we will look to grow the company looking forward,” according to T-VIPS. The new team will comprise four executives from Nevion (Bryn-Jensen, Eugene Keane, Nils Fredriksen, and Petter Kvaal Djupvik) and three from T-VIPS (CEO Johnny Dolvik, Morstøl, and Arnhild Schia).

“We are very complementary in how we are structured,” says Bryn-Jensen. “We will maintain our representation across the world and will have very complementary organizational capabilities. You probably will not see many changes coming from the combined company, but we are now in the process of working out the details of how the company will be structured.”

Regardless of how the new company is structured once the deal receives government and shareholder approval, one thing is clear: it will serve as a major player in the broadcast market’s rapidly growing video-transport-over-IP sector.

“By bringing IP disciplines into the broadcast industry, you open up a whole new range of companies to potentially enter into that business. We strongly believe that we have a unique solution,” says Bryn-Jensen. “The uniqueness of what both of us is now bringing to market for these kinds of IP applications is hard to match. We know IP, we know telecom, we know broadcast networks, and we know video. So we strongly believe that we have a unique set of skills, capabilities, and knowledge that you don’t find anywhere else.”