Eurosport – The Olympic Broadcaster in Europe
Now three years later Eurosport is presenting itself as “The Olympic Broadcaster”. Since February 9, Eurosport is bringing exclusive coverage of the Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang to 48 markets across Europe – marking a world-first with a single media company taking responsibility for such a huge share of the global audience, about 750 million people to be precise! Part of the unique offering is the commitment to achieve that through technological innovations, transformative partnerships, and an all-screen strategy.
With real-life storytelling Eurosport is delivering the ultimate Olympic Games viewing experience, enabling audiences to enjoy every minute of live action from PyeongChang 2018, whenever and on whatever device they choose to watch it. From South Korea to Germany, Sweden, to Norway and Finland and to the United Kingdom, a total of 17 studios across the world are playing host to Eurosport’s cast of 150 winter sports experts and adding the local view on the events in PyeongChang.
Eurosport’s unique Winter Olympics game plan
More than 85 racks of equipment were installed in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in PyeongChang. All the equipment is provided by NEP. All of the venue equipment has arrived in pre-staged flight-cases and was up and running as expected. Eurosport is broadcasting the Olympics in 42 languages, this itself makes the whole project incredibly.
To gain another perspective on the scale of the operation, Eurosport deploys around 900 personnel in South Korea, while a further 1,275 are working on the Games content at the various production sites around Europe.
Remote Production: Virtual Studio Manager
In PyeongChang Eurosport has its own unilateral cameras at all events to allow its directors to cut into the coverage provided by OBS. The cameras are placed at mixed zones, announce points and the commentary positions. In addition, Eurosport has a studio on the roof of the IBC which provide some amazing views of the mountains. Plus, of course, there are studios at some of the venues.
Eurosport is carrying out remote production, both from the IBC and right back at European sites. The overarching control system — the IP-based Virtual Studio Manager (VSM) from Lawo — means anyone in any location can select any piece of video and any piece of audio and talk to any commentary position at any time. In Europe that will operate over four 10 Gigabit circuits. In addition, there is the Eurosport WAN (Wide Area Network) which links all production sites.
The Network is using JPEG encoding to reduce the latency, especially for remote production. Also the ingest point for the cloud-based MAM in Oslo has 50gig capacity to ensure the speed of transfer. When something is recorded in Korea Eurosport gets it out very quickly into the European cloud-based MAM.
In addition to the studio-based production, Eurosport has 60 ENG crews collecting content from around the Games. Editing is carried out both in South Korea and at the various European facilities. Twenty edit suits are used on location with a total of one Petabyte of storage being available.
A large EVS system is linked to the Adobe Premiere suites in PyeongChang. Working alongside that is an Avid Interplay system in Paris. Every piece of content that is shot on location is available on the cloud-based management system for anyone working for Discovery.
Eurosport’s Massive Production Effort in PyeongChang
Eurosport’s Broadcast Operations Centre at the IBC is the nerve centre for the channel’s coverage of the Games. There are production teams focused not only on the content that is delivered across all of Europe but also dedicated teams for a number of nations that create more nation-specific content. And the efforts extend back to Europe as well, both to Eurosport’s facility in Paris and beyond.
However, to ensure the widest possible audience has access to the various sports, Discovery distributes a minimum of 100 hours of the Olympic Winter Games across European free-to-air broadcasters. This is delivered by more than 30 partnerships with the biggest and best free-to-air national broadcasters.
NOS in the Netherlands, Rai in Italy, ARD and ZDF in Germany, RTE in Ireland and others across much of Eastern Europe have inked deals with Eurosport. It separately struck a long-term deal with the BBC, which already have the rights to a number of Games. Discovery airs the exclusive rights in a number of major markets where it has a free-to-air presence, including in Spain via its D-Max channel, and across parts of Scandinavia.
The Eurosport team has been on site in PyeongChang for months and one of the keys was to establish a relationship with OBS, the host broadcaster for the games and to establish the first steps towards the implementation of the concept of remote production, whereby the production team is physically removed from the studio or venue. This is an ongoing trend the world over and Eurosport is no exception.
Eurosport Presentation Studios in Europe
Eurosport has kitted out 17 presentation studios around the world. It has setup a virtual studio “The Cube” and has constructed a mobile digital studio “The Radical Van” – to help it cover the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in new ways.
The presentation studios are in various locations including PyeongChang itself, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway and Finland.
Eurosport in Germany
In Germany Discovery’s Eurosport 1 is at the heart of the Olympic coverage and is broadcasting nonstop from PyeongChang 24 hours a day - free to air. Discovery’s women's channel TLC is the second Olympic Channel on Free-TV and among other live events is broadcasting exclusively all figure skating events. In addition, Discovery’s Pay-TV channel Eurosport 2 reports live from the Olympic hockey tournament and via the Eurosport Player access to 16 additional channels is possible.
Discovery/Eurosport operates three OnAir studios for the Olympic coverage with German flavor: one in Ismaning at PlazaMedia, one in Unterföhring at MTI and one in PyeongChang at the “German House”. In addition to the extensive live broadcasts, Eurosport is producing daily live shows in the three studios.
The first one is located in the German House. It is the meeting place for athletes, journalists, business partners and representatives from politics and society at the Olympic Games. As the official media partner of the “Deutscher Olympische Sport Bund” DOSB, Eurosport reports live from there every day and offers insights into the heart of the German Olympic team. Daily from 3.30 to 4.30pm in the program "#TeamD - Live from the German House", the former Olympic gold medal winner Fabian Hambüchen celebrates with the German medal winners and Olympians. Equipped with a mobile camera, he captures the emotions and atmosphere of the German House.
The second studio is located in Unterföhring at the premises of MTI Teleport. From here, the live broadcasts are produced and presented from 1pm onwards. “Your Olympics Live” reports about the events in PyeongChang as they happen and summarize the most exciting scenes, the latest Olympic news and the highlights of the day. Therefore, a whole production infrastructure with EVS and Avid edit desks is installed as well as commentator desks, sound booths, production gallery’s, a master control room and an ingest and content manager and the whole lot of office rooms. Most of the German staff of 200 is working here.
In the third studio, the two-hour prime-time show “zwanzig18” with studio guests takes place daily at 08:15pm. Plazamedia has implemented the production of “zwanzig18” for Eurosport in Ismaning. Every evening the show is live on Eurosport 1 and TLC. The show combines the sporting highlights of the Olympic Day with entertainment. In a mix of sports, comedy, games, talk and live music, Eurosport prepares the big moments of the Olympics for a new, younger and wider audience and keeps track of what's happening on the social media channels during the Olympics.
Headlining Eurosport’s production offering in PyeongChang is The Cube – a visually stunning virtual reality studio first announced at the 100 Days to Go milestone in November. An Olympic Games first, the studio is using augmented reality, enhanced data and 360-degree graphics to create an immersive and interactive environment offering unmatched insights into the finer details behind winter sports.
Equipped with one pedestal and one jib mounted camera, a Grass Valley switcher and a Calrec audio console, this facility is used by any of the Eurosport regions for their own use. It is totally immersive. LED screens are available floor to ceiling on three walls, and on the floor. All of the screens have augmented reality driven by Stype and Vizrt technology and allow presenters to tell stories in a completely new way.
The set up allows, for example, the action of a downhill skier to be shown on the wall. The skier could appear to emerge from the wall and the presenter walk round the image. The AR graphic can show the body position and angles, which can then be twisted or turned as the story develops.
It can also give the impression that the viewer is actually on the ice during an hockey match. With players going around the viewer, such issues as body angles can be explained and tactics discussed. As well as Libero analysis tools can produce heat maps for ice hockey in terms of where the players have been.
Six-time Olympic medallist Bode Miller (alpine skiing), Germany’s gold medal winning ski jumpers, Sven Hannawald and Martin Schmitt as well as Swedish NHL legend and double Olympic ice hockey champion, Peter Forsberg, and Michael Greis (Biathlon) are among the suite of Eurosport experts giving their take on their specialist sports throughout the Games.
The Cube allows Eurosport to take analysis off the flat screen and enable the experts to explain with their hands and their bodies, telling stories that explain technical differences in a way that makes the complicated simple. Beyond the Cube facility, all the studios have access to all of that analysis technology.
The Radical Van
In yet another Games first, Eurosport’s dedicated Mobile Digital Studio will move among Olympic venues producing social-first short-form clips with athletes, influencers and fans giving those watching on from Europe the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at the Olympic Winter Games and experience the on-site atmosphere.
Already when Eurosport picked up the rights to the Games for 48 countries across Europe, the goal was to be more digital- and social-media-focused than any network before.
In this studio, Eurosport is shooting social-exclusive content, including Facebook Live shows that are being shot with iPhones and pushed out directly over native cellular and venue Wi-Fi.
Facebook Live shows are being shot and distributed through cellular phones
Eurosport is calling it the Radical Van. It can be driven from one venue to another. It is an opportunity to get close to the fans, or to bring in an athlete.
It’s a unique van that has gained a great deal of attention for both social media use and traditional TV. It adds to the ability to tell the story a little bit differently from the way it might have been told in the past. It took a lot of discussion and negotiation with OBS and the IOC to get permission to get close to the action in this particular way. Security was an issue when it came to that kind of flexibility to help to tell the story – but all the obstacles were overcome and everyone is really excited about the potential.
Eurosport, Facebook, Partner in Key Markets
Facebook communities in Germany, Sweden, and Norway were able to tune in to Eurosport’s live coverage of the PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony. And, for the duration of the Games, they can expect daily highlights, clips, and interviews to be posted throughout the Games on Eurosport’s Facebook Page across key European markets.
Eurosport PyeongChang 2018 coverage by numbers:
- 48 countries
- 4,000 hours of coverage
- 100 events
- 900 hours of live action
- 17 studios
“Total Video” across all platforms
Discovery Reports Strong Opening Weekend Of Olympic Winter Games Including Record Viewership Across Key Markets
New Measurement of Total Video – the new ‘TV’ – results in 212 Million users engaging with the Olympic Games across all screens, approaching 1 Billion Video Views
New Record Shares in Norway, Sweden and Germany
During the first weekend of PyeongChang 2018:
- 373 million hours of video was watched across Europe.
- An average free-to-air and pay TV audience of 186 million, plus an additional 26 Million users through digital and social platforms, resulted in 212 Million users viewing the Olympic Games across all platforms.
- With innovative and exclusive content and access to many of the world’s greatest Winter Olympians as experts, new audiences across social media are showing their appreciation with a total of 1.1 Million engagements (likes, shares and comments) across Discovery’s social media platforms.
This was a Record-Setting Weekend for Discovery’s Broadcast Channels
Discovery’s Kanal 5 in Sweden achieved its highest ever audience share of 73% on Saturday with the first medal of PyeongChang 2018 going to Charlotte Kalla in women’s skiathlon.
Thanks to an impressive start in the medal race from Norway, achieving nine Olympic Medals in the initial days of competition, Eurosport and Discovery’s Olympic content was consumed by over 3 Million Norwegians on Sunday Feb 11th, and Discovery’s TVNorge achieved a highest-ever 90% audience share for the Men’s 10km Sprint Biathlon Final.
In Germany, Andreas Wellinger’s superb display to win the Men’s Ski Jump Final on Saturday Feb 10th helped contribute to Discovery Germany achieving its own all-time high, delivering nearly 2 Million unique users on owned and operated, digital and social media properties in the first few days of the Games.
Discovery’s original, digital-first content creates more ways to engage with the Games
Eurosport Cube is delivering an innovative approach to attracting new fans on linear, pay TV and was contributing to over 1.1 Million engagements (likes, shares and comments) across Discovery’s digital and social media properties.
Finally a statement from Thomas Bach, President International Olympics President: “Discovery is bringing exciting levels of ambition, investment and innovation to the Olympic Games and we highly value their partnership and collaboration. Through capturing Total Video viewing across all screens, Discovery is setting a new standard, and working together we will be able to better understand audience trends across Europe and interact with new generations of Olympic fans.”