NEP Enhances Global Centralised Production Network with Second-Generation, All-4K Andrews Hub Upgrade
NEP Australia, a Broadcast Company of NEP Group, the leading media technology partner of content producers worldwide, announced the launch of its second-generation Andrews Hub, capable of supporting all-4K HDR broadcasts through the largest set of facilities worldwide built for Tier 1 live sports coverage.
First opened in 2017, the Andrews Hub is part of NEP’s growing network of centralised production centres and a global production ecosystem. With its main facilities located in Sydney and Melbourne, and satellite locations, or “spokes”, in Adelaide and Brisbane, the Andrews Hub has supported numerous clients in producing shows across continents, often thousands of kilometres away from where the match or live event is taking place – even across the Pacific Ocean.
Demand for remote production began well before COVID-19 when broadcasters realised the benefits of a more efficient and environmentally sustainable approach in which technical producers and directors, replay operators, graphics teams, and on-air talent could all be in different places from where the action was captured. The pandemic accelerated this adoption of centralised and remote workflows as border closures and domestic and international travel restrictions began to severely limit the ability to move crew and talent from one venue to another.
“In 2017 when we launched the Andrews Hub we went to the moon and back in every centralised IP broadcast each day,” said Soames Treffry, President of NEP Australia, New Zealand & Japan. “Our second-generation Andrews Hub is a story of continued investment and innovation in how we’ve built the largest-scale, 4K, centralised production complex on the planet.
“Tier 1 sports broadcasting is in our DNA, and it has driven the development of our own control system, ‘TFC’, and our ‘anyone, anywhere’ philosophy,” he continued. “And with the launch of the 'hybrid grip' trailer, we’ll be reducing our onsite footprint even further, making our services more sustainable again.
“Our team are proud to deliver this broadcast leadership to the world.”
Foxtel Group Chief Technology and Operations Officer Les Wigan said: “As Australia’s largest producer of Tier 1 sports, NEP’s commitment to innovation and best-in-class solutions makes them a great long-term partner for our business. Their continued investment supports Fox Sports providing our 2.4 million sports subscribers an outstanding viewing experience across Foxtel and Kayo Sports.”
State-of-the-Art, Sustainable Design, and Innovative Technology Create Room to Grow
As part of its expansion, NEP will build four new control rooms and upgrade its Network Operations Centres to meet increased demand. Work areas for shading and HDR grading of footage before it goes on air will be added, as well as new “mini” studios and commentary suites for on-screen, off-tube commentary.
Other advancements include:
- Expanded state-of-the-art facilities using 100% IP, scalable technology, designed to have the lowest possible impact on the environment.
- The introduction of the “hybrid grip,” a new, all-in-one-style tender/grip trailer with on-board streaming technology built in and ready to hit the road. The single trailer design will include all automated workflows that have made the Andrews Hub so successful, but in a much smaller footprint. As a single trailer only, travel and logistics to move equipment across such a large country becomes more efficient and minimises the carbon footprint for each project.
- NEP will also deploy a new fully integrated and powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) package to its broadcast control and orchestration platform, making planning and scheduling more efficient and seamless, and enabling more efficient utilisation of equipment across country borders or in different regions.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of projects we’ve covered through the Andrews Hub due to COVID-19,” said Marc Segar, NEP’s VP of Enterprise Architecture. “While we were able to add temporary control rooms and remote location ‘spokes’ in Brisbane and Adelaide to get us to where we are today, building the next-generation Andrews Hub facilities in Sydney and Melbourne will further enable us to meet just about any production challenge or configuration for our clients.
“It’s incredible how far we’ve come over the last four years and the future is very bright for live broadcast and centralised production. Fans want to watch sport perhaps more now than before the pandemic, and we are so proud to be a part of delivering that experience to them.”
Learn more about NEP Australia and the Andrews Hub at www.nepgroup.com.au.