New trends at Eutelsat TV Awards
CEETV’s Stanislav Kimchev met with Vanessa O’Connor, Eutelsat’s Director of Corporate Communications, to discuss the event and also the company’s CEE activities.
O’Connor said that the Eutelsat TV Awards is a unique event in the broadcast industry that creates a special level playing field by rewarding broadcasters around the world for their creativity, innovation and audience engagement. There were three key trends for the 2016 edition worth highlighting:
The first is the high number of countries that entered for the first time, including Angola, Jordan, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania. African countries in particular emerged as a powerhouse of original content creation with both Angola and Senegal producing winners: Angola for Zap Viva in the General Entertainment category and Senegal with 2STV that won the popular People’s Choice Award.
The second trend is that 2016 was the first year which saw an entry from a channel broadcasting in Ultra HD, testifying to the emergence of a commercial Ultra HD market. FunBox 4K was a finalist in the Lifestyle category for the mesmerising quality of original and curated programming.
The third trend is the energy that channels are putting into engaging with their audience. For example, Poland’s 4funTV, in the challenging market of music TV for a younger audience, is leveraging apps, selfies, chat and voting to interact with its audience and has built loyalty with its target audience as a social music television.
Over 120 channels from 37 countries competed for an award in 2016, which is a new record. During two days of deliberation the jury slimmed them down to 28 finalists of which 12 were winners.
Eutelsat Awards’ jury is composed of leading international journalists, media experts and program-makers who are knowledgeable about video markets across our footprint and the context that broadcasters operate in. The jury is chaired by Duilio Giammaria, who is well known to Italian viewers as an investigative reporter and program-maker and, for the first time in 2016, it included Dmitry Dibrov, the face in Russia of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
The creation of the Awards almost 20 years ago essentially reflected the arrival of digital compression that lowered the barrier to entry to broadcasting. It triggered the idea to shine a spotlight on Eutelsat customers, their outstanding work and the creativity of the programs they broadcast.
One of the leading trends in broadcasting is that the seeds are being sown for the Ultra HD market that is taking the viewing experience to a new level with more colors and more detail. Eutelsat is supporting its customers in this next step in the broadcasting industry, as three commercial Ultra HD channels already broadcast on their fleet. HD is also clearly gaining traction, with over 900 HD channels now broadcasting from their key video neighborhoods in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.
The CEE region is a significant and longstanding market for Eutelsat that is served through three video neighborhoods– 9° East (EUTELSAT 9B), 13° East (HOTBIRD) and 16° East (EUTELSAT 16A). In Poland, one of their key markets, Eutelsat provides services for leading broadcasters and operators including Cyfrowy Polsat, nc+, TVP, Polsat and TVN from their HOTBIRD satellites. More broadly, the HOTBIRD satellites offer a comprehensive footprint from the British Isles across to Kazakhstan, reaching into over 135 million homes and broadcasting over 1,000 channels.
Meanwhile, activity at 9° East includes fast ramp-up of DTH services by OTE, the Deutsche Telekom champion in Greece, and the launch this year of the EUTELSAT 9B satellite that has brought fresh capacity and powerful beams over the Ukraine and the Nordics.