Broadcast tech: more important players you need to know
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Broadcast tech: more important players you need to know

Towards the end of last year and at the beginning of this, Frame 25 published a series of blog posts looking at the rise of five sharp, new companies at the cutting edge of broadcast.

They were:

Now we bring you the stories of three more such players in the broadcast industry; enterprises who spotted opportunities before their competitors and equipped themselves to execute on them and achieve commercial success:

  • Little Dot Studios
  • Zixi
  • Blackbird

Read on to discover what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with, and the impact they are having.

Who: Little Dot Studios

Based: London, with more than 250 staff there, in LA and Munich.

What they do: Founded in April 2013, Little Dot helps production companies, broadcasters, rights holders and advertisers grow audiences and revenues through online video.

The award-winning digital company, owned by All3Media, is one of the biggest creators and commissioners of YouTube original content in the UK, and produces original video for its own channels on the platform (Daily Mix, Tonic, Crumbs and Dead Parrot).

Why they’re important: Working with more than 90 production companies, broadcasters and distribution companies globally, Little Dot manages more than 250 YouTube channels, Facebook pages and social media accounts for some of the world’s biggest broadcasters, studios and sports rights owners. Little Dot Studios achieves more than four billion organic social-channel views each month.

Who they work with (selected): Little Dot manages YouTube channels and social video for more than 100 global TV and sport brands, including Gordon Ramsay, Discovery, The Graham Norton Show, Formula E, Disney Princess and Warner Bros.

The company has also worked with Channel 4, Formula E, Honda, Pepsi Max, Samsung, the FA, the England & Wales Cricket Board, NBCU, Eurosport, Red Bull and more than 150 independent producers and distributors.

In the news: Renowned for its imaginative and cinematic approach to content creation, Little Dot is growing quickly, and recently acquired London-based production studio Wing, creator of content for some of the world’s leading brands and sports governing bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, The America’s Cup, Formula 1, Coca-Cola, Hugo Boss, McLaren, Vodafone and Land Rover.

Wing shot the Olympic Torch Relay in Rio and developed Jaguar’s #ShowYourEdge campaign during Wimbledon 2018, in which Andy Murray discussed his struggles with injury.

What they said:

“Sports is a key strategic focus for Little Dot Studios, which we see providing a market for significant growth.”
Andy Taylor, co-founder and chief executive of Little Dot Studios

Sources:
littledotstudios.com
linkedin.com/company/little-dot-studios-limited
thedrum.com/news/2020/03/04/little-dot-studios-acquires-wing-ramp-up-sports-production
thetvfestival.com/support/sponsors/major/little-dot-studios
all3media.com/company/little-dot-studios
winglondon.com/photography/jaguar

Who: Zixi

Based: The company is based in Waltham, Massachusetts and has offices in New York and Tel Aviv.

What they do: Established in 2006, Zixi provides a software-defined video platform (SDVP) for the delivery of live, broadcast-quality video over IP for broadcasters, OTT services, content owners and mobile service providers around the world.

Why they’re important: More than 200 manufacturers and service partners, and over 700 leading media companies carrying 20,000 channels, work with Zixi to source, manage and deliver live video over IP.

Who they work with (selected): service providers (including Arqiva, Encompass, Globecast, Sky), content owners (BBC, WarnerMedia, ESPN, Canal+), OTT platforms (Amazon, YouTube, Roku, Disney) and multi-cloud providers (Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM).

In the news: Like every industry, broadcast has had to adjust to the realities of living with Covid-19. This has led to a greater need for IP-based solutions, remote production and connected cameras, which strengthens the position of companies such as Zixi, who are mentioned in this story on ibc.org. Zixi will contribute to the DPP’s Design for Tomorrow, a report that will identify key principles for the broadcast media’s resilience and growth, post-Covid.

Elsewhere, Zixi has brought its technology to Azure, enabling media and entertainment companies to securely and reliably distribute video content over IP using the Microsoft cloud-based service, and the 4K/UHD Bloomberg TV+ service.

Zixi has also recently announced the integration its SDVP into Harmonic’s cloud-based VOS360 software-as-a-service live-streaming platform, the company’s fully managed offering for delivering and monetising live streaming services.

What they said:

“We are currently at the forefront of an IP revolution. For nearly 80 years, the broadcast industry relied on expensive, inflexible infrastructure comprised of bulky and disparate hardware systems and long-term vendor agreements that were ripe to be disrupted. But now, an industry that was slow to change has awoken to the possibilities of a more flexible, dynamic future and today we are seeing the adoption of IP for live and live linear video delivery across the media industry. We are going through one of the most rapid and significant industry transformations in history and IP is a huge enabler of this movement.”
Gordon Brooks, Executive Chairman and CEO, Zixi

Sources:
zixi.com/what-we-do
zixi.com/2020/07/09/zixi-harmonic-partnership
zixi.com/2020/07/06/zixi-contributes-to-dpps-latest-research-project-design-for-tomorrow
sportsvideo.org/2020/06/17/zixi-deploys-video-over-ip-solutions-on-microsoft-azure
newscaststudio.com/2020/03/13/software-defined-video-platform-ip-streaming
martechseries.com/video/zixi-powers-4k-uhd-bloomberg-tv-service
linkedin.com/company/zixi-llc/about

Who: Blackbird

Based: London, UK

What they do: Blackbird offers a professional, browser-based video editor requiring limited bandwidth. It enables fast access to video for the creation of clips, highlights and longer-form content, which can be published to multiple devices and platforms.

Why they’re important: Flexibility, speed and collaboration over distance are key requirements in modern editing products. Blackbird’s unique technology is strong on all of them, enabling editors to work with 12 video and 32 audio tracks, and its keyboard contains many shortcuts that are familiar to users of Avid or Adobe Premiere.

Who they work with (selected): IMG, Eleven Sports, NHL, A+E Networks, Deltatre, Peloton, TownNews, Arsenal FC and Riot Games.

In the news: Blackbird has partnered with UK-based sports media agency Whisper and is now being used for remote video editing and publishing by Liverpool FC.

In June 2020, Blackbird won TV Technology’s Best of Show Digital Video Award, shortly before John Honeycutt, who has held roles at Google, Discovery Communications, FOX Cable Networks and Liberty Media, joined the company’s board as a non-executive director.

What they said:

“Our key objective is simple: to increase the value of your video – whether this be monetary value or usability value. We do this by hyper-accelerating the speed at which live and non-live video can be accessed, viewed, edited and published – from anywhere. The collective noun for blackbirds is a cloud. This is no accident. Our unique Blackbird codec and toolset is completely cloud-native.”
Ian McDonough, CEO, Blackbird

Sources:
blackbird.video
blackbird.video/introduction
blackbird.video/solution
blackbird.video/case-studies
blackbird.video/news-articles/former-google-and-discovery-exec-john-honeycutt-joins-blackbird-board
linkedin.com/company/blackbird-cloud/about
sportsvideo.org/2020/06/12/blackbird-takes-home-tv-technologys-best-of-show-digital-video-award
svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/liverpool-fc-to-use-blackbird-for-remote-video-editing-and-publishing
sportspromedia.com/news/whisper-blackbird-f1-nfl-bt-sport-amazon-prime-sky-remote-video
tvbeurope.com/business/tvbeurope-april-2020-issue-now-available