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Ambition vs. Success: TV 2 on Balancing Its Goals to be the number One Sports Broadcaster in Norway

03/05/2022

Ambition versus success: TV 2 on balancing its goals to be the number one sports broadcaster in Norway By Heather McLean, Editor

Thursday, April 21, 2022 - 11:04

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In sports coverage, TV 2's main focus is English Premier League football, which is very popular in Norway and is the broadcaster's biggest draw for its over the top (OTT) services

Norway's TV 2 has set its sights on becoming the largest broadcaster of sport in the country. It has accumulated a plethora of sports rights which will see it more than tripling its sports broadcasts in the next year.

However, the broadcaster needs to be cunning in how it produces this bevvy of content to provide maximum coverage, while bearing in mind its viewership is limited to the country's 5.5 million residents, making the cost of production a crucial factor in balancing the scale between ambition and success.

On the plan to become the home of Norwegian sport, Jens Cornelius Knudsen, head of production models and partnerships at TV 2, tells SVG Europe: We have acquired quite a lot of Norwegian sports rights. We have the top five divisions of football; four divisions for the men, and the top two divisions for the women. We've also acquired handball, which is big in Norway, and so we have acquired the top and second divisions there, both male and female. And we've extended our national hockey deal, so that runs for another eight years.

We're operating in a country with 5.5 million people so the production has to be extremely efficient They're sitting there in a very tailored workflow for efficiency and that enables us to produce these 225 hockey games for a sensible amount [of money], considering the number of people we have living in this cold country

On top of that, we've actually started broadcasting basketball, volleyball, and floorball, which are more of the niche sports in Norway, he continues. And on top of that, we also have the Champions League, La Liga, World Championship, European championship, qualification games, and we share winter sports rights like biathlon and skiing with NRK, the state broadcaster.

Triple the coverage

The coming year will see TV 2 producing a massively enhanced number of games from across its rights portfolio. Notes Knudsen: So we normally have around 300 multi-camera sports productions in Norway, annually. Starting this year we're increasing that to about 1,050 sports productions.

On where TV 2 stands today on domination of the Norwegian sports broadcast industry, Knudsen says it is the top in terms of hours. He claims: I would say [TV 2 is] the top [sports broadcaster], because we have the Norwegian rights, we have Champions League, we have La Liga, we share the Euro and the World Championship with NRK, and we share Biathlon with NRK, and we have Switzerland and Norway's winter sports together. So I think that definitely [makes us] the largest sports broadcaster in hours. Due to the multiple rights and efficient production methods [we use], we're also capable of becoming a large sports entity when it comes to number of consumers per day. That's the plan.

Adds Knudsen: We're operating in a country with 5.5 million people so the production has to be extremely efficient. For our hockey production that we currently do internally that [service provider] DMC is going to take over we do 225 games as a remote production today, centralised, and we do 45 as an OB production. For the 225 games that we produce internally, NEP has camera operators on site, that's say a two camera production, plus two ceiling-mounted cameras over the goal. We take all those four feeds back home then using VMix and SingularLive, we've been able to build a workflow internally where one person is the director, the switcher, they run slow motion, they do audio, and they do graphics.

They're sitting there in a very tailored workflow for efficiency and that enables us to produce these 225 hockey games for a sensible amount [of money], considering the number of people we have living in this cold country, Knudsen states.

A Lawo mc2 56 console that was fully assimilated into the all-IP facilities at TV 2's base in Bergen, in February 2021

Two partners in crime

TV 2 has taken on two partners, NEP Norway, with whom it has a long-standing relationship, and Sweden-based DMC in Sports, to help it produce its sports content, because says Knudsen, I want to break up the monopoly situation we have in Norway and we also wanted to have competition in the market so the RFP we sent out, we had three companies [respond] and we selected NEP and DMC .

He adds: Also, because when you have two people working with you, there tends to be more innovation between them.

In order to do this properly and in a sustainable way, we've made a deal with NEP and DMC, continues Knudsen. NEP will do all the premium football, the elite series, and they also have the larger games in the female division and the second division that [NEP and DMC will] split. [NEP and DMC are] sharing a lot of the other sports [productions]. DMC is doing some football, a lot of smaller football games, and they do indoor sports.

Comments Morten Aass, president at NEP Nordic, on working with TV 2: We at NEP look forward to continuing in the production role of Norwegian top football. With this agreement, we consolidate our position as the Nordic region's leading player in TV production. New times require new production methods, and we have teamed up with NFF and TV 2 for an ambitious climate-neutral form of production. This will be a very exciting and innovative boost for the industry and for us as a company.

Studio A at TV 2. Football is a mainstay of the broadcaster's primary and OTT output, and is driving its work in object-based sound

New player in Norway
LINK: https://www.svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/ambition-versus-success-tv-2-...
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