Video: Winner takes all: Unlocking the opportunity in video games and esports.

Even without the pandemic, esports was set to continue its growth over 2020. By the end of 2020, esports had had quite a boost while other sports were canceled. And whilst esports is a large market, it’s still often misunderstood by those unfamiliar with it. This panel recently looked at not only how Covid had changed esports but also how traditional broadcasters can engage with this popular entertainment segment.

The session starts with an overview of the Asian esports market with Daniel Ahmad from Niko Partners. In 2019 there were 1.3 billion gamers in the whole market. In China, there were 321 million PC gamers who spent around $14.6 billion, plus a mobile gaming population which, by 2024, will have doubled their spending to $32 billion across 737 million gamers.

With esports clearly on the rise, the Sports Video Group’s Jason Dachman has brought some of the key players in esports together, Anna Lockwood from Telstra, Steven Jalicy from ESL, David Harris from Guinevere Capital and Yash Patel from Telstra Ventures. Straight off the bat, they tackle the misconceptions that mainstream media has regarding esports. Steven from ESL says people are quick to dismiss the need for quality in esports. In some ways, the quality needs, he says, are more demanding. David Harris says that people overstate esports’ size today and underestimate how big it will be in the future. Anna Lockwood on the other hand sees that people don’t realise how different and powerful the stories told in esports are.

Asked to talk about how Covid changed ESL’s plans in 2020, he explained that at the final count, they had actually done more events than last year. ESL had already switched to remote working for much of the technical roles in 2018, at the time seen as quite a forward-thinking idea. Covid forced the rest of the workflows to change as stadium appearances were canceled and gamers competed remotely. Fortunately, the nature of esports makes it relatively easy to move the players. Post-Covid, Steven says that arenas will be back as they are very popular and an obvious focus for tournaments. Seeing players in the flesh is an important part of being a fan. But much of the technical changes, are likely to stay at least in part.

Jason Cacheman asks the panel why esports on linear TV hasn’t been very successful. Many of the panelists agree that the core fans simply aren’t that interested in watching on linear TV as they already have a set up to watch streamed which suits them, often, much better. After a question from the audience, their suggestions for incorporating linear TV into esports is to acknowledge that you’re talking to a group of people who are interested but really don’t know, possibly, anything at all. Linear TV is a great place for documentaries and magazine shows which can educate the audience about the different aspects of esports and help them relate. For instance, a FIFA or NBA esports tournament is easier to understand than a Magic: The Gathering or League of Legends tournament. Linear TV can also spend time focussing on the many stories that are involved in esports both in-game and out. Lastly, esports can be a conduit for traditional broadcasters to bring people onto their digital offerings. As an example, the BBC have an online-only channel, BBC Three. By linking esports content on both BBC Two and BBC Three, they can get interested viewers of their broadcast channel to take an interest in their online channel and also have the potential to appeal to core esports fans using their digital-only channel.

Other questions from the audience included the panel’s opinion on VR in esports, use of AI, how to start working in esports, whether it’s easier to bring esports engineers into broadcast or the other way round. The session finished with a look ahead to the rest of 2021. The thoughts included the introduction of bargaining agreements, salary caps, more APIs for data exchange, and that what we saw in 2020 was a knee-jerk reaction to a new problem; 2021 will see real innovation around staying remote and improving streams for producers and, most importantly, the fans.

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David Harris David Harris
Managing Director,
Guinevere Capital
Steven Jalicy Steven Jalicy
Global Head of Streaming,
ESL Gaming
Anna Lockwood Anna Lockwood
Head of Global Sales,
Telstra Broadcast Services
Yash Patel Yash Patel
General Partner,
Telstra Ventures
Jason Dachman Moderator: Jason Dachman
Chief Editor,
Sports Video Group

Video: International IP Production Networks

Optical Transport Networking (OTN) is a telco-grade technology which simplifies the transport of high-bandwidth data such as uncompressed video. Taking the place of SDH and Ethernet, OTN is an ITU-created recommendation called G.709 which dates back to 2009. With OTN, transport and decoding of multiple signals are simplified with the ability to carry many different data types including SDH and Ethernet.

Telstra’s Steven Dargham joins the VSF’s summer sessions to explain why Telstra has created an international network for live broadcast production based on OTN and to discusses some case studies. Using SMPTE ST 2110-20 and -22, Telstra as seen that remote production can be done without so much equipment at the game.

Steven takes some time to outline the Latency-Bandwidth-Quality triangle where one of these will always suffer at the expense of another or both the others. Understanding this balance and compromise leads to understanding the choice of video codec to use such as TICO, VC-2, JPEG XS etc. Steve talks through a table showing the pros and cons of the codecs available to chose from.

The video ends with Steven talking us through case studies on moving Telco between Japan and UK, their work for the IAAF Athletics using these to explain why they are able to keep AWS ingo.

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Steven Dargham

Video: The Rise of IP in Remote Production Networks

Like all good ideas, remote production is certainly not new. Known in the US as REMIs (REmote INtegrations) and in Europe as Remote Productions, producing live events without sending people there has long been seen as something to which most broadcasters have aspired. We’re now at a tipping point of available techniques, codecs and bandwidth which is making large-scale remote production practical and, indeed, common.

Carl Petch took to the podium at the IBC 2019 IP Showcase to explain how telco Telstra have been deploying remote production solutions by looking at three case studies including the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, and the technology behind them. Highlighting TICO, SMPTE ST 2022-6 uncompressed and VC-2 compression, previously known as the BBC’s DIRAC, we see how codecs are vital in underpinning successful, low latency, remote production.

Encoding and decoding delay aren’t the only delays to consider, simple propagation time for the signal to travel from one place on the earth to another have to be considered – including the lengths of your different paths – so Carl takes us through a table of real-world measurements between a range of places showing up to 280ms one-way delay.

Much of the success Telstra has had in delivering these solutions has been anchored on their dedicated remote production network based on the Open Transport Network principles which allows them to carve up parts of their bandwidth for different protocols which Carl covers in some detail and allows them to scale in 100Gb increments.

Watch now! and download the slides.

Carl Petch Carl Petch
Principal Solutions Architect,

Video: Architecting a media virtual network function (VNF) for broadcast services

This technical presentation from Carl Petch of Telstra Broadcast Services looks at some of the reasons why broadcast providers are moving to virtualization, and what the benefits are of applying virtualization to broadcast workflows. Carl explains the vendors they used, the way they architected their solution and some lessons learnt!

Watch now! (Free registration required). Downloadable slides.


Carl Petch Carl Petch
Principal Solutions Architect
Telstra Broadcast Services