Guest Blog: A broadcast pioneer

HBS opens doors to the global sports broadcasting industry thanks to its Broadcast Academy.

Guest Blog: A broadcast pioneer

Host Broadcast Services (HBS) has been a pioneer host broadcaster for international multi-sport events for over 17 years, and one of the first engineering and production companies to experiment with the latest innovative production techniques (HD, 4K, 3D and Virtual Reality). Experiences of working on world-class events have allowed the company to identify, set and implement international standards in sports broadcasting.

The Broadcast Academy is the embodiment of HBS chief executive Francis Tellier’s vision to constantly push the boundaries of sports broadcasting. It was born from the desire of Tellier, and the in-house experts, to share their expertise and from the broadcasters’ demand to learn the innovative, ahead-of-the-game techniques implemented by HBS when producing international sporting events.

The initiative behind the Broadcast Academy also derived from the acknowledgement that the standards of broadcasting are not globally unified and a willingness to achieve global consistency in sports coverage.

Over the last decade, Lise Cosimi, director of the Broadcast Academy, and her experts, have travelled to over 20 countries and have advised thousands of professionals – broadcasters, broadcasting associations, sports federations, and freelancers (in-vision and behind the cameras) – to assist them in building up their skills and developing a 360-degree broadcasting strategy.  


Tailor-made broadcast training by experts

The Academy is a training programme for professionals, by professionals. There is no generic course programme but instead a tailor-made range of solutions. According to Cosimi, “it is important for the Academy experts to always work with the client at each stage and proceed in a collaborative process.”

During the first phase of the training process, the Academy experts gather information on the cultural environment and the client’s requirements. They analyse and audit the organisation they’re working with to better understand what results are expected and what adjustments to the training modules and methods are needed.

The Broadcast Academy has its main planning centre in the Boulogne commune of Paris, France but, after the consulting phase, its experts travel to their client’s base to make sure their project matches the technical and cultural requirements, the environment of the customer and, above all, the use of their very own equipment.

Indeed, a key point of many courses is the utilisation of local events as a training ground to experience working in live conditions. The Broadcast Academy experts typically maintain a balance between theory and practice thanks to workshops and formal introductory sessions.

The courses offered include (but are not limited to): Sports Live Direction, Sports Production, Commentating and Media Training and other Technical courses.

Successful training programmes delivered by the Broadcast Academy between 2007 and 2016

2016: A year of strategic partnerships for the Broadcast Academy

The Broadcast Academy has cemented its position as a technological pioneer during 2016, which has been a key year for the organisation. In April, the Academy teamed up with leading equipment firm EVS to develop an exclusive Live TV Simulator. It is used to train sports production teams in live direction skills.

The new simulator is unique and the only one of its kind. It includes live video servers – enabling up to 16 ISO camera feeds for ingest/playout, instant replay and slow-motion tools, plus a live video switcher that can be used to train members of a production team simultaneously.

Pre-cabled, easily transported and able to be set up at any customer’s location, the HBS/EVS Simulator provides an ideal learning environment for broadcasting professionals. The Live TV Simulator ensures maximum efficiency in production teams’ preparations for coverage of any live event, while raising their skill levels.

This year has also seen the Academy entering into a broadened partnership with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). The Union had been looking for operational training to enhance its coverage from multilateral to unilateral; it had previously worked with HBS to set up two successful training programmes aimed at live coverage of football. The organisation had sought to offer a wider range of training modules matching its members’ needs and the Broadcast Academy was the ideal partner to assist them in doing so.

This agreement reflects the Academy’s strengthened ties with the Asian market after HBS’ entrance into the Dalian Wanda Group in November 2015, when HBS’ parent company Infront Sports & Media became part of the Chinese corporation.


Legacy, Equality, Initiative

The Broadcast Academy’s training programmes aim at lasting changes for the participating companies: a bigger pool of in-house resources with various broadcasting skills, quality upgrade in the live coverage of events, more efficient use of broadcast equipment on live events, a better understanding of new technologies and the impact on TV operations, as well as the systematic application of best practices and international industry standards.

Sharing and legacy are important parts of the company’s ethics, and the Broadcast Academy is a medium to educate the next generation of broadcasters. Training TV and broadcast personnel in regions around the world not only promotes best industry practices and implements international broadcasting standards, it also leaves the participating organisation with a beneficial and lasting legacy.

The training programmes are expected to develop the broadcasting infrastructure of its users, furthering the sustainability of their organisation. They also benefit HBS, who will in turn be able to recruit from the reliable local pool of talent they know through training whenever an event occurs in a country where the Academy was present. This contributes to reducing the footprint of the event.

Under Cosimi’s directorship, the Broadcast Academy also has an objective at heart, to encourage more women to consider a career in broadcasting.

“We want to encourage young people to consider broadcast as a career choice, and women in particular,” she says.

“They are under-represented in the sporting industry and they often think broadcast is a male-oriented field, an attitude which can hold them back. But with so many different positions available and the boom in digital media, they are as qualified as their male counterparts and can bring different perspectives to the game,”