Spidercam GmbH and Gravity Media Group announce strategic partnership in North America

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Spidercam, the world leading cable camera system owner and Gravity Media Group, the global provider of complex live broadcast facilities and production services, have today announced a new strategic partnership to accelerate growth in the adoption, service and support of the Spidercam system in the USA and Canada. This agreement, which was finalised at the 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas, builds upon the existing successful strategic partnership in Australia and New Zealand that has been in existence since 2015.

Gravity Media Group, through its Gearhouse Broadcast subsidiary, will use its deep live event experience and breadth of operation to support the expansion of use of Spidercam, enabling many more broadcasters, producers and directors to take advantage of the unique view that a Spidercam system offers to their production.

Spidercam will continue to provide the high quality engineered systems whilst Gearhouse will take on responsibility for marketing the system locally, providing all crew and service support to customers in the USA and Canada alongside local maintenance and logistics.

As a part of the agreement, the joint venture will operate from Gearhouse Broadcast USA’s facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jan Peters, President of Spidercam US said, “We are delighted to be building on our successful relationship with Gravity Media Group in Australia and New Zealand. We look forward to working with Gearhouse Broadcast as a partner in developing the market for Spidercam and supporting many more users of the camera system in the USA and Canada.”

John Newton, CEO of Gravity Media Group added, “We are very happy to be extending our working relationship with such a unique and high quality system that enables us to offer our existing and many potential new customers something quite different in the USA and Canada.”

Having received substantial investment from TowerBrook Capital Partners in September 2016, Gravity Media Group has been actively looking at ways to diversify its businesses into new areas and broaden its global service offering. Last month it acquired German broadcast equipment rental house, Genesis Broadcast Services, now rebranded as Gearhouse Broadcast Germany. This acquisition was the latest in a series of strategic moves by Gravity Media Group, the owner of Gearhouse Broadcast. It follows the acquisitions of Hyperactive Broadcast and Input Media, and significant investment into its own existing American operation.

Over the past 12 months, Gearhouse Broadcast USA has deployed Columbus, its 4K mobile unit, and two multi-purpose mobile production units; Skye and Iona. It has also announced several key appointments including president Michael Harabin, sales and business development manager Adrina Madatyan and senior sales manager Stan Leshner.

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Gravity Media Group continues its global growth with acquisition of Germany’s Genesis Broadcast Services

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Rental house will become Gearhouse Broadcast Germany and provide complete range of production capabilities to Northern Europe

Gravity Media Group (GMG), the global provider of complex live broadcast facilities and production services, has acquired German broadcast equipment rental house, Genesis Broadcast Services. This acquisition is the latest in a series of strategic moves by GMG, the owner of Gearhouse Broadcast. It follows the acquisitions of Hyperactive Broadcast and Input Media, and significant investment into its own existing American operation. As part of the deal, Genesis Broadcast Services will be rebranded as Gearhouse Broadcast Germany, supplementing existing Gearhouse offices in the UK, Australia, USA, France and Qatar.

Having received substantial investment from TowerBrook Capital Partners in September 2016, GMG has been actively looking at ways to diversify its businesses into new areas and broaden its global service offering. The decision to move into the broadcast services markets of Northern Europe means that local rights owners and holders can now benefit from Gearhouse Broadcast’s expertise, global reach and the full range of broadcast services that it offers. These include event communications, equipment rental, outside broadcast, project solutions, RF and systems integration. Content producers in the region can also access Hyperactive Broadcast’s latest Avid-based workflows for the making of long-form dramas, TV and feature films.

“We’ve been watching Northern Europe for some time, and Genesis Broadcast Services provides us with the perfect entry point through Germany to what is a very interesting and active market,” said Eamonn Dowdall, chief revenue officer at Gravity Media Group. “Tom Gehring and his team have done a fantastic job in building the Genesis business. With Gearhouse’s global support network, strength of relationships with key manufacturers and content owners and understanding of new technologies such as 4K, IP and remote production, we will further enhance the services they’re already offering.”

He added: “This deal will allow us to be more strategic in how we work with broadcasters in the region at both local and international events. It also provides more value to our existing clients that operate European-based businesses, as they can now access our services, expertise and support directly from Germany.”

Distussing the news, Tom Gehring, the managing director of Genesis Broadcast Services, said: “This is very exciting for all of us at Genesis, our clients and partners, and the region’s content production markets in general. Gearhouse Broadcast is a hugely respected brand around the world, and is recognised for its innovation, high service levels, and impressive list of projects and brands it works with. We’ll now be able to offer a more innovative and competitive service than ever before.”

Based in Hürth, on the outskirts of Cologne, Genesis Broadcast Services has achieved significant growth through offering a fast and reliable dry-hire service to customers in Germany, and around the world. Its clients include ARD, ZDF, RTL, Euromedia and MMC Studis.

 

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Pac-12 Network’s Michael Harabin appointed president of Gearhouse Broadcast USA

 

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Gearhouse Broadcast USA, a supplier of technical facilities, crew and services used to capture the world’s most watched content, has appointed Michael Harabin as its president. Harabin joins from Pac-12 Networks, where he has worked for the past six years, most recently as VP Production Operations. He will oversee Gearhouse Broadcast’s North American operation, which has been the focus of heavy investment over the past year, after parent company Gravity Media Group (GMG) received substantial funding from TowerBrook Capital Partners in September 2016. This has already resulted in the launch of three mobile broadcast and production units and several senior hires in the region.

Harabin arrives with over 30 years of experience in leading operational and technical media organizations in North America. Prior to joining Pac-12 Networks in 2012 as VP Engineering, Technology & Media Management, he held senior and operational positions at the Tennis Channel, RAI Corporation, DIRECTV and NBC. A member of SMPTE, SBE, SVG and NATAS, Michael has also sat on the customer advisory boards at Reach Engine and Dalet. He recently earned an MBA at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Discussing the appointment, Kevin Moorhouse, chief operating officer of Gravity Media Group, said: “Michael has the ideal blend of gravitas, contacts and experience of implementing new technologies to lead and further grow our US operation. He was instrumental in driving technological innovation and new highly efficient content production and publishing models for the Pac-12 Networks. Michael has extensive operational knowledge when it comes to remote production and cloud-based end-to-end solutions. I’ve been impressed by his foresight and his ability to find smart technical and production solutions will enable us to offer a wider range of services to our clients in the region.”

Harabin added: “I’m very excited to be joining such an ambitious business that provides high levels of service and innovative solutions to standing issues and new opportunities. I look forward to working alongside the talented team already in place to deliver Gearhouse’s innovative services to clients, as they work to generate measurable efficiencies and optimize return on investments.”

Over the past 12 months, Gearhouse Broadcast USA has deployed Columbus, its 4K mobile unit, and two multi-purpose mobile production units; Skye and Iona. It has also announced several key appointments including sales and business development manager Adrina Madatyan and senior sales manager Stan Leshner.

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ATP Media and Gearhouse Broadcast test 4k and 1080p HDR technology at Nitto ATP Finals

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ATP Media, the broadcast arm of the ATP World Tour carried out a live 4K v 1080p HDR test at the Nitto ATP Finals, the season ending finale held in November 2017 at The O2, London. The test was designed to see side-by-side, the two production formats in a live tennis environment, as part of ATP Media’s commitment to trialling the latest technologies to advance its broadcast offering.

The ATP Media and Gearhouse team were able to combine the Sapphire HEVC system seamlessly with the main production, with all the outputs coming from one desk and one Director’s cut. This allowed them to compare their existing 1080i output with 4K SDR, 4K HDR and 1080p HDR. ATP Media were therefore able to see exactly how the formats compare.

ATP Media are now engaging with their rights-holders to gather feedback on when they will be ready to broadcast in 4K or 1080p HDR.

The demonstration room at The O2 was also an opportunity for ATP Media to test Dolby Atmos and compare it to Dolby Digital 5.1. As a globally travelling OB with a big variety of Stadia, the test was designed to understand the challenges of producing in Atmos and to experiment with what a “Tennis Atmos Soundscape” could sound like.

Shane Warden, ATP Media’s Director of Broadcast & Technology said:

“The test was an important step forward for ATP Media and the results showed that 1080p HDR could be a very attractive format for us in tennis that efficiently provides the huge benefits of HDR to our broadcasters and viewers.  We’ll need to do further tests to include delivery, and dialogue with our broadcasters around the world will be important in our next steps.”

Dominic Gresset, ATP Media’s Executive Producer added:

“4K might be the best option for a one-off football or cricket match, but covering an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event with up to four main televised courts has big implications when it comes to producing in 4K.  As host broadcasters we have to find the right balance between creating the best possible product with realistic production and delivery budgets, along with the capabilities and requirements of our rights-holders.”

Discussing the performance of the system, Gearhouse Broadcast’s Mathieu Rocton said:

“This is a real game-changer for us as we are now able to offer our clients world class 4K productions including wireless video with low-latency UHD. We look forward to working closely with the team at Broadcast Wireless Systems in order to roll-out this new technology into future productions.”

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Gearhouse Broadcast expands its portfolio of Wisycom’s forward-thinking RF technology

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Gearhouse Broadcast, a supplier of technical facilities, crew and services used to capture the world’s most watched content, has purchased multiple Wisycom MFL wideband optical link systems. The deal, which was handled by audio RF specialist and UK distributor Raycom, represents repeat business, as Gearhouse has already invested in the systems for its Australian division. These have been successfully deployed at high profile events in the country such as the V8 Supercars Championship. The systems are available for hire from Gearhouse now, and have been engineered to meet the most complex RF scenarios facing broadcasters and content makers.

The new units have been bought by Gearhouse Broadcast’s UK business and the first action they saw was at a major tennis event this summer in New York – one of the most challenging RF environments on earth. The systems are now in the Australian jungle for the new series of ITV Studios’ I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

The 2017 production marks the tenth consecutive year that Gearhouse is providing the technical and broadcast equipment for the popular reality series. The Wisycom MFL systems enable the crew to send wireless radio microphone signals over distance without loss, making them ideally suited to supporting seamless audio from contestants and presenters anywhere within the 1.5km² jungle compound in New South Wales.

In total, there will be three transmitter sites linked by fibre that operate on the same radio frequency, providing multiple levels of redundancy. These will facilitate 36 fibre receive channels, and six IEM channels, in what will be the single largest deployment of the MFL system, anywhere in the world.

Ed Tischler, managing director at Gearhouse Broadcast UK said: “Customers’ expectations for faultless audio are higher than ever, but at the same time, there’s less spectrum space available to use. Being able to deploy Wisycom’s flexible MFL systems in challenging RF environments such as the Australian jungle, or middle of New York City, gives us the peace of mind that there won’t be a drop off in quality. We’re always at the forefront of creating solutions to our customer’s production challenges, and our decision to buy more of the Wisycom systems reflects how impressed we’ve been with their performance.”

Pyers Easton, managing director at Raycom, who will be on site in Australia supporting Gearhouse Broadcast, added: “We’re delighted to continue to work alongside Gearhouse Broadcast on these prestigious projects. The Wisycom MFL RF over fibre system offers a truly unique ‘plug and play’, flexible, fibre solution that performs in the harshest environments, making it ideal for an application like I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! It can be installed quickly without the need for specialist knowledge and test equipment, which is important when having to rig such a large area as we do in the jungle.”

Now in its 17th series, ITV Studios’ I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! is currently airing on ITV.

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